7-Zip: a free way to unzip files

My parents just downloaded a zipped file from the internet (not sure what it was, I think an installer or something.) But that’s beside the point, the important thing is that they needed to unzip it so that they could access the files inside. They downloaded WinZip, which lets you unzip files.

All’s good, right? Only problem is that it costs a lot. $30, in fact. That doesn’t seem like much, but the general rule of thumb with software is:

If you pulled out your credit card to download something, you probably did pay too much.

And that’s true, since more or less any piece of software that you’d have to buy has a completely free alternative. And that’s true for WinZip, too: it’s got a free competitor named 7-Zip.

What it is

7-Zip is a free file archiver/compresser/unzipper (it can unzip .zip files and then make .zip files too, making it fully compatible with WinZip.) So why use WinZip when you can use this free alternative?

Download it at 7-Zip.org

You can download the 7-Zip installer from 7-zip.org. After it’s installed, you can unzip a zipped file by right-clicking on it, scrolling to “7-Zip”, and choosing “Extract Here.” That’ll put the contents of the zipped file in the folder the zip file is in.

Demo of using 7-zip
Using 7-Zip to unzip a file

You should consider downloading it if you ever think you’ll need to unzip files (you’d be surprised how much you need to.)
Well, that’s all for now.

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Neel Mehta

Harvard College. Web developer. Sometime philosopher. Baseball junkie.

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