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Among the extensive choice of file archive creators and managers, PeaZip stands out from many of its competitors for various reasons. First, it is an open-source development; second, it can open and extract more than 180 archive formats (RAR included), and third, it can create new ones in more than a dozen well-known formats, including ZIP, 7z, ARC, TAR, and its own PEA format, that supports AES256 EAX encryption and provides an excellent compression ratio.
Based on already-tested and reliable open-source archiving technologies – such as FreeArc, 7-Zip, PAQ, and UPX –, PeaZip offers high-end levels of security and compression ratio. It integrates seamlessly to your Windows context menu and opens in a neat and clean interface whose only sin is to be a bit repetitive, making it a bit difficult sometimes to know the task you’re working on.
Besides the obvious tasks of creating new archives, adding files to existing ones, opening and browsing archive files, and extracting their contents, PeaZip offers archive conversion capabilities and a set of tools – PeaUtils – that is a standalone app in its own right. (Actually, you can download and install it separately.) These utilities include checksum and hash calculations for various formats, the possibility of listing and saving as text the files in an archive, byte-by-byte file comparison, hex preview, splitting and merging of archives, and a “secure delete” tool to erase any file for good.
Security is one of the program’s strengths – it produces highly encrypted files with optional two-factor authentication to prevent dictionary-based attacks and social engineering. Additionally, PeaZip comes with a password creator and manager that will let your produce and store random passwords with the highest levels of security.
I have to admit I have a soft spot for this archiving tool. It has everything I like about this type of utilities – it is open source and therefore totally free to install and use, it supports the most common formats, and it is complemented by a set of utilities that, if not strictly necessary to create and manage your archives, they really help to produce the best results and to guarantee a top-notch level of security.
- Supports opening more than 180 archive formats, including RAR
- Creates archives in the most common types
- Converts archives between formats
- Creates and manages passwords
- Includes a set of PeaUtils to check and manage your archives
- Its repetitive interface may lead to confusion