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Compressing files in an archive for easier distribution or simply to save valuable disk space is now part of our PC routines. There is a number of commercial tools out there that compress and extract files using (normally) their own proprietary format, while PeaZip offers you the same functionality, an excellent set of extra tools and utilities, and even its own compression format (PEA) all for free, as this is an open source tool.
PeaZip makes use of existing open source compression technologies (such as 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, or Zstandard) to provide you with a powerful archive tool to create, extract, modify, convert, test, browse, search, and protect your compressed files and folders. The basic functions work as you would expect from any other similar file compression tool, such as WinZip or WinRAR. However, the program comes with other tools that are not that common, not even in some commercial file compression utilities. With PeaZip you can convert archive files between formats without extracting the files – all you have to do is select the target format, customize – if you wish – the compression level or the number of volumes you wish to end up with and click on the OK button. Another interesting extra tool refers to passwords. The program comes with a password manager and a password generator, and then you have PeaUtils.
You can download PeaUtils and use it as a standalone application if you wish, or you can open it from within PeaZip. PeaUtils include Checksum- and Hash-related functions, a file splitter and joiner, a file and folder analyzer, byte-to-byte comparison, a Hex preview, and even various tools to perform secure deletions, including a “Zero delete free space” option.
This new version of the program, though, offers you an amazing novelty – the possibility of using PeaZip not only to decompress RAR files, but also to create new RAR archives without exiting PeaZip. RAR compression is a proprietary technique, which means that you need to buy a WinRAR license to be able to create RAR archives, and this hasn’t changed. What has changed is that, if you happen to have WinRAR installed on your computer but you are also a PeaZip user, you can now use the latter to create RAR files and to convert other archive files into RAR archives without opening WinRAR.
PeaZip is therefore an extraordinary alternative to other well-known archive tools. I have been using it for years now, and I would only ask their developers to improve their interface just to let the user know where he or she is at all times. Though the GUI is a clean and nice one, many windows have a very similar appearance, and there’s little or no indication in the title bar of the action you are really performing (be it creating a new archive, extracting the files, converting an archive, etc.). It can even be confusing at times – if you click on the Convert button in the main interface, a new window opens that says “Create .arc | New archive”, which is the same text you get if you click on the Add button instead. Get this minor con sorted out, and you will have turned PeaZip into the perfect archive tool for me and probably many others.
- Converts archive files between formats
- Integrates with WinRAR if installed on your PC
- Checks archive files for integrity
- Password-protects your compressed files
- Has its own archive file format
- Offers a neutral GUI design that makes it hard sometimes to know where you are