PeaZip is a free file unzipper program that can extract content from over 180 archive file formats, some of which are common and others that are lesser-known.
In addition to decompressing files, PeaZip can also create new archives in over 10 formats. These can be password-protected and encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption, as well as secured with a keyfile for added protection.
PeaZip has some advanced features, too, like scheduled archives and support for creating self-extracting files.
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 that exist in the EXE application 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 File/Windows Explorer so you can just right-click on an archive file to pull the content out.
I particularly appreciate the fact that 7-Zip doesn't try to install extra software or toolbars during setup. However, one downside is that there isn't a portable 7-Zip available from the developer.
Note: 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 file formats that use over 40 different file extensions, such as 7Z, EXE, ISO, WIM, LZH, TBZ2, and ZIP.
Password-protection is supported if you're creating a new archive, with either ZipCrypto or 256-bit AES encryption.
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 didn't try to install a toolbar or any other unnecessary things during setup, and neither are there 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.
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 regular one that runs from your computer.
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 I like in this program 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.
While there isn't support for showing Zipeg in the right-click context menu, which makes unzipping files really easy, Zipeg does support drag and drop into its program window.
Unzip-Online is an online archive file uncompressor. Upload a RAR, ZIP, 7Z, or TAR file to Unzip-Online and it will show you the files inside.
You can't download all the files at once, which is unfortunate, so you must select each file individually to download. Also, password-protected files can't be extracted with Unzip-Online.
There is a max upload size limit of 200 MB per file, which is probably just fine for most archives.
RAR File Extractor is a free archive unzipper that can extract RAR files.
There really isn't anything to this program except the initial screen, which lets you load a RAR file and choose where it should be extracted.
Just select Extract to get the files.
Zipper is another free archive uncompressor that can open and create ZIP files.
Drag and drop is supported for opening a ZIP file in Zipper, but it can't open a 256-bit AES encrypted file.
The interface isn't nearly as easy to use as the other programs in this list, there isn't a File/Windows Explorer integration setting, and it takes longer than it should to create your own ZIP file because you must use the built-in file explorer to select data.
Given the other programs in this list, Zipper really shouldn't be your preferred choice for a file unzipper. However, it is a working option and can do the job correctly, even if it's not the easiest to use or most appealing program.
IZArc is a free compression and extraction utility that works with 40+ archive file types, can repair broken archives, and supports scanning archives for viruses before opening them.
The program is easy to use because it can be integrated with the right-click context menu in Windows. You can use this menu to quickly open or extract any of the supported unpacking formats.
There's a really helpful feature in IZArc that lets convert between archive formats, such as RAR to ZIP and many other variations of all sorts of formats. This is also true for CD images, meaning that you could make an ISO file from a BIN, MDF, NRG, or NDI file.
Archives created with IZArc can be password-protected with 256-bit AES encryption or ZipCrypto.
A portable download called IZArc2Go is also available on the download page, plus a command-line tool and an iOS app.
Another free archive extractor and compressor for Windows only is ZipGenius.
Several formats are supported with ZipGenius, for both creating and extracting archives. You can password protect new archives, automatically exclude particular file types when compressing files, and even split an archive into several smaller parts for easier web sharing or storage.
When extracting an archive with ZipGenius, you can set up an antivirus program to automatically scan the results to ensure you're not opening an infected archive.
ZipGenius also supports converting an archive to the ZIP format to easily change the file type to this popular one. Also, there's an option in the settings to set the priority of ZipGenius to control how many system resources can be allocated to it when compressing and decompressing files.
Free Zip Wizard is a clean and easy to use free file decompressor that supports ZIP files only.
In addition to opening and extracting ZIP files, Free Zip Wizard can create new ZIP files that are password-protected and supports uploading a newly created ZIP file to an FTP server with the built-in FTP client.
When creating a new ZIP file, File Zip Wizard doesn't allow adding whole folders to the archive, but you can select more than one file at a time, which is helpful.
It's really easy to choose how much compression you wish to apply to the ZIP file with a slider setting - you can choose anywhere from no compression to maximum compression.
Something I didn't like about Free Zip Wizard is that it shows an advertisement every time you close the program.
TUGZip is a free archive decompressor that integrates with Windows Shell, making extracting archives much faster.
Like many other programs in this list, TUGZip can make self-extracting archives, but it can also add custom commands that run after the extraction completes.
You can add an installed virus scanner to the TUGZip settings to have it scan extracted files automatically, which is great to prevent a malicious file from an archive from infecting your computer.
TUGZip can also create batch archives, repair broken archives, and convert an archive to one of several formats like 7Z, CAB, RAR, or ZIP.
ALZip is a free archive compressor and extractor for Windows and Mac. It can extract files from 40 archive formats and create new archives in over 5 different formats.
AlZip supports scanning files right after they're extracted using your own antivirus program, which is super helpful if you're downloading lots of archives, as they may contain malicious items.
In addition, ALZip supports drag and drop to open archives and encryption when making a new one.
A really awesome feature I found in ALZip is the ability to preview the contents of an archive without opening it, called Peak in Archive. This works by simply right-clicking a supported archive (like a ZIP file) and viewing the file names in the context menu.
Note: After installing AlZip, you must enter a free serial number to use it, which you can find on the download page.
There aren't too many options in BiGZIP that set it apart from newer programs except the compression settings. There are nine different compression levels you can select to better refine how compressed you want an archive to be.
Loading files into a new ZIP file with BiGZIP isn't as intuitive as some of the other programs in this list, but it does work if you need to make or extract a ZIP file.
BiGZIP is a very outdated ZIP archiver and extractor, with the last supported Windows OS being Windows 98 (Mac and others are also supported). However, I tested BiGZIP in Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues.
Note: To download BiGZIP, click the Download link to the left side of the download page, and then choose the download link next to your operating system.
Filzip is another old program that hasn't been updated in quite some time. However, it supports context menu integration, encryption, custom compression levels, virus scanning, and other advanced settings and options.
This file extractor can also convert archives, split archives into smaller pieces, search for files in an archive by name/date/size, and create self-extracting EXE files from ZIP archives.
In addition to supporting regular archive file formats like the other programs from this list, Filzip can also open less common ones like UUE, XXE, and ZOO archives. Around 15 file types in total can be opened using Filzip, and it can also create archives in several file formats like ZIP, JAR, CAB, and BH.
Adding files and folders to an archive using Filzip is a little more difficult than many of the other programs in this list.
15 Free Zip & Unzip Programs
Free File Extractors for ZIP, RAR, 7Z, TAR, & Other Compressed Formats
Free file extractor software helps you extract the one or more files contained within a compressed file, ending in extensions like ZIP or RAR (among many others). Compressing files is a very common practice to help keep downloads and backups organized and small.
These programs, commonly called zip or unzip programs, are usually small, easy to install, and support lots of common compression formats.
Note: File extractor programs are also sometimes referred to as packer/unpacker, zipper/unzipper, or compression/decompression programs. Regardless of what they're called, they all do the same thing - and the ones I have listed below do it for free!