7-Zip is likely one of the most widely known file archiving and extracting software, with support for a wide range of popular file formats.
Dozens of archive files types can be opened with 7-Zip, and you can create a new archive in a few popular formats. You can also create self-extracting files in the EXE format that can be launched and extracted without using any decompression software — this is great if you’re sending an archive to someone but you aren’t sure if they have the proper software to extract files.
7-Zip integrates with Windows Explorer so that you can right-click an archive file to pull the content out.
However, one downside is that there isn’t a portable 7-Zip available from the developer.
UnzipLite is another free decompressor program that’s based on the 7-Zip project, so it looks and functions nearly identical to 7-Zip.
jZip is a free archive extractor that can decompress over 40 different file formats, like ones that have the 7Z, EXE, ISO, WIM, LZH, TBZ2, and ZIP file extension.
Drag and drop archives into jZip or just right-click a supported format and choose to extract the contents. It’s really that easy to unzip an archive with jZip.
jZip won’t try to install a toolbar or any other unnecessary things during setup, and neither will you see any strange popup windows or advertisements in the program. It’s very clean and easy to use.
CAM UnZip is a free compressor and file extractor that works with ZIP files. It supports drag and drop to quickly open a ZIP file and can create password-protected archives.
There’s an interesting feature in CAM UnZip where the program can be configured to automatically run a setup.exe file if one is extracted from a ZIP archive. This can greatly speed things up if you’ll be extracting lots of setup files.
During install, you’re given the option to install CAM UnZip as a portable program that can be launched from a removable drive, or, of course, as a regular one that runs from your computer. I had advantages to say concerning music download a few days ago.
Zipeg is another free archive extractor similar to the others in this list that supports common formats like RAR, TAR, and ZIP, plus several others.
Zipeg doesn’t allow the creation of new archives, but it handles unzipping files just fine. When the program first opens, you get to choose which file extensions you want associated with the program so that you can be sure that Zipeg is the one that opens all of your archives.
One particular feature worth noting is the option to automatically open nested archives, meaning that Zipeg will open archives stored within the archive, automatically. While this isn’t very common, it is helpful when you run into an archive like that.