File Compression Review

I love organization, especially in regards to my hard drives. I also maintain a digital library of every program I need to quickly get my desktop operational in case I decide to destroy Windows over 10 times in a week. However I like having all these files easily accessible so I stashed them on my server, but since it would be a pain to remember 25 file names and extensions, I conveniently RAR all of them and then have a rar.exe installer, so I just have memorize two files. Now what I am getting at here is the importance of archiving programs and the space they can save. Lately I have heard reports of 7-Zip actually being better than my trusted favorite WinRAR so I decided to put these two to the test and see who came out on top.

The History

Back in the day, WinZip was the dominate archiving and compression program available to Windows users. I myself was a big fan of compression programs as it made it easier for me to send files to friends while on a 56k modem. In those times I would rather download a file in a day and then spend 15 minutes decompressing a file rather than spend a week downloading the same file, so the file compression abilities were very crucial. In the late 90’s a new format was beginning to emerge and take the world by storm, WinRAR. It was faster, more efficient, just better in every sense compared to WinZip. The interface for WinRAR was also much better than WinZip and there were so many options that one could implement with WinRAR such as data encryption, compression factors, and compression formats. This has been the dominate compression program of the technology inclined for the last few years, but recently a new program named 7-Zip has hit the scene.

New Uses for Archiving

The torrent community has embraced archiving programs with open arms for good reason. Besides cutting down on the file size in general, it is much easier to manage torrents when you are downloading a single file or a split file in equal pieces. This second ability is crucial for torrents as it will permit you to download chunks of the file at a time while still giving you the benefit of file compression. Another common use for this file splitting is fitting very large files onto size limited mediums. It is possible to break up a 20 gigabyte file and store it on 30 CDs and then reassemble the file later when you need it. I personally have archived my entire data drive and then put it on DVDs when I perform risky overclocks on my desktop. Other uses for compression and archiving are always popping up, for example HTTP, the protocol that delivers web pages supports the gzip algorithm, helping websites cut down on bandwidth by compressing the data before sending it out.

The Test

I downloaded and installed both 7-Zip and WinRAR onto my OS hard drive and then defragmented the drive three times just to ensure that the compression programs had a clean drive to tear up. Once the drive was prepared, I created a new folder and loaded onto it the new Thunderbird.exe (6 megabytes), my Mint database (17 megabytes), the current NForce4 Drivers (36 megabytes), and a 720 megabyte MP4. My processor was an AMD Athlon64 running at 2.4 GHz with a gigabyte of ram operating in dual channel mode. The hard drive was a Seagate ATA100 drive with an 8 megabyte cache. Once all the files were in place, I loaded up WinRAR and RARed the first file, then switched to 7-Zip and 7-zipped the same file. Once all four files were compressed, I performed the same action with decompression, alternating between programs as I switched through the files. In both programs I set the compression quality to the highest setting so as to achieve the highest compression with no regard to processor utilization.

WinRAR Decompression Program

Mint Database

Text documents compress very well due to the large amount of whitespace within the documents. All those extraneous spaces and line breaks make for very large documents. To start the Mint Database was a whopping 17 megabytes of text. WinRAR cut the file down to 1006 Kilobytes while 7-Zip compressed the file to 908 kilobytes. WinRAR took 6 seconds and used 100% of the processor and 43MB of ram. 7-Zip took 8 seconds and used 100% of the processor however memory consumption skyrocketed up to around 160MB. Since 7-Zip and WinRAR use different algorithms I would wager that 7-Zips algorithm will consume as much memory as possible to quickly compress the files while WinRAR has a more conservative approach.


In general professional programs have been optimized so heavily that there is very little room for compression to improve upon. This became very obvious when I tried to compress the ThunderBird executable. WinRAR compressed the 6.02 megabyte file down to 6.01 megabytes in 3 seconds but 7-Zip actually increased the file size to 6.09 megabytes, also in 3 seconds. What happened was all the overhead code used in compression was larger than the amount of space saved with compression so the overhead code increased the file size. There is a minor amount of compression going on here but the overhead in both cases makes it nearly useless. I believe with most programs on the market you won’t be able to gain anything with compression. Once again WinRAR used just 43 megabytes of ram while 7-Zip used an excessive amount of ram, however it was a bit lower at around 120 megabytes.

7-Zip decompression program

NForce Drivers

Since the driver files were about 7 times larger than the executable I figured there would be enough compression available that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the previous example and this was indeed true. The drivers were 35.6 megabytes and WinRAR compressed them down to 35.1 megabytes in 27 seconds and 7-Zip compressed them down to 35.3 megabytes in 21 seconds. During this test I began to really notice 7-Zips voracious hunger for ram. In the 27 seconds it climbed quickly from under 100 megabytes to a peak of 728 megabytes. With only 40 megabytes remaining I think Windows simply stopped feeding the program to keep the system from stalling. WinRAR once again stayed at its custom 43 megabytes which I began to appreciate.

MP4 encoded with H.264

Typically MP4 files are heavily compressed when the stream is encoded which explains why it takes so long to encode files. This was definitely the case when I compressed my MP4 test file. Starting at 703 megabytes, WinRAR actually made headway by compressing it to 702 megabytes however 7-Zip once again increased the file size up to 708 megabytes. WinRAR took only 9 minutes 40 seconds however 7-Zip took up 11 minutes and 40 seconds. Once again WinRAR memory usage stayed at 43 megabytes but 7-Zip ate through an all time high of 742 megabytes. I felt like I was using a Pentium 1 with 16 megabytes of ram it was so horrendously slow.

CPU Usage Spikes in regards to 7-Zip


Decompression simply reverses the actions of compression and makes the files useable again. When decompressing a split file you simply put all the pieces in one folder and your compression utility will decompress and assemble the file for you. Generally this process is much quicker since the processor is following a simple algorithm and it isn’t trying to find room for improvement. Both programs took under a second to decompress the first two files however with the Drivers 7-Zip took 4 seconds while WinRAR took less than a second. Now what was interesting about this was that for the first second or two 7-Zip slowly spooled up processor usage. This became even more obvious with the MP4 file. WinRAR took a snappy 38 seconds while 7-Zip took up 1 minute 29 seconds. When looking over the CPU usage, 7-zip would continuously dip from 100% usage down to around 40% and then climb up again. I am not sure what was causing this but running the test 4 times while defragmenting the drive in between still caused this. To rule out the file I tried decompressing my compressed Vista DVD ISO image which was over 4 gigabytes. The same spiking and dipping occurred so I believe there must be something within the software that causes it to freak when a certain file size is reached. Perhaps it ran out of memory to eat, I will never know.


It looks like I will be sticking with my favorite, WinRAR. I have always heard people say that 7-Zip is so much better than WinRAR but I guess those people must have 16 gigs of ram and a quad-core Opteron server. I really fell for WinRAR when I noticed 7-Zip eating through my entire gig of ram, that is simply not allowed. Now there is one minor incontinence for WinRAR, the fact that it is only a 30 day trial. I am not sure what 30 days means exactly though as I have had it installed for over 30 days and I still have 19 days left, maybe it is measured in Venetian days or something. This is in no way a complete review of these products features, I simply tested a specific setting that is most applicable to me, if you change up the compression settings there is a good chance your results will vary from mine. I hope I shed some light on this topic, if anything it proved that my Athlon64 is way to slow, time to upgrade.


In light of all the informative remarks I will be re-performing these tests while performing a more thorough test. I plan on testing all the compression features, 3 to 5 un-compressed files, a single compressed file, and then use some graphs to display the data. I will be rather busy for the next day or so however once I have free time then I wil go about performing these tests. This will be a bit time intensive but I feel that it will be worth the time to make up for this terrible test. I apologize for how uncomplete these tests were, they weren’t meant to be thorough. Should be some cool things coming this way over the next month though so stick around.

The Buzz {11 trackbacks/pingbacks}

  1. Pingback: Savadeep Speaks! » A comparison of 7-Zip and WinRAR? So be it done! on July 9, 2006
  2. Pingback: Про ЭТО » WinRAR против 7-zip on July 9, 2006
  3. Pingback: bl0gg3d » 2006 » July » 09 on July 9, 2006
  4. Pingback: Pig Pen - Web Standards Compliant Web Design Blog » Blog Archive » WinRAR Versus 7-Zip on July 9, 2006
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  6. Pingback: Digged Stories » Blog Archive » WinRAR vs 7-Zip on July 9, 2006
  7. Pingback: Javier Aroche » WinRAR vrs 7-Zip on July 9, 2006
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  11. Pingback: WinRar archiver | CreekBlog on January 13, 2008

The Conversation {128 comments}

  1. Philip Hofstetter {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:10 am}


    what you are seeing in memory usage is due to the fact that you probably were using the Ultra compression method which is designed to squeeze the most out of the compression by using an insane amount of RAM.

    If you don’t like that memory usage, probably go back to “Maximum” and try again. You won’t get THAT much of benefit from using Ultra anyways.


  2. Mr. Dew {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:14 am}

    That’s an interesting review. I heard people saying how good 7-zip is. I’m glad you tested it. I’ll be sticking with my WinRAR too. :)

  3. Phil McKracken {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:16 am}

    One very nice feature of winrar is that if you are de-compressing something and you run out of disk space, winrar will pause and let you retry after you clear out some disk space. 7-zip will simply abort, meaning you have to have all the necessary space up front. This makes 7-zip DOA for me as this is unacceptable.

  4. xully {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:17 am}

    WinRAR is not an option for people who only use free software. 7zip also runs fine under WINE on Linux.

  5. Hervard {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:17 am}

    Performance aside, I find WinRAR’s GUI and overall feel to be much more natural than 7-Zip’s. 7-Zip feels like it’s from the stone age, while WinRAR is a bit more modern.

  6. mincepinned {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:20 am}

    “Since 7-Zip and WinRAR use different algorithms I would wager that 7-Zips algorithm will consume as much memory as possible to quickly compress the files while WinRAR has a more conservative approach.”

    Since 7-zip is open source, you can actually look at the code itself to verify this. Can’t do that with WinRAR.

    You also failed to mention if you used the “Solid Archive” option with 7-Zip. In my experience, that option can really cut down on file sizes (especially when there are many files being archived). There are many ways to customize your compressions with 7-Zip (you didn’t show that screen!).

    Another point is an educational institution would have to buy many licenses for WinRAR, not so with 7-Zip.

    And why are there no charts showing those statistics you love to point out. I’ve read the results among the paragraphs but couldn’t you have made a chart? (note: download openoffice and use Calc)

  7. Dustin Miller {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:23 am}

    I like your tests, and I think that you did a very good job. However, I think you forgot some crucial elements.

    A single user license for WinRAR is $29. A single user license for 7zip will always be free.

    While some people do pirate music/movies/television/etc .. others try their best to use open source applications.

  8. T.J. L {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:28 am}

    I use 7zip over WinRar because 99% of the time I only need decompression, and 7-zip can decompress a variety of formats.

    When I do need compression, disk space isn’t too much of a problem usually. Maybe I’ll have to look into RARing my files instead of 7z-ing them, though.

  9. asmodean {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:29 am}

    7-zip’s LZMA compression is really only exciting on data sets with particular characteristics. It will do an incredible job on RGB data with repeating patterns — for instance, I have compressed 2gb of CG character art with many different facial expressions down to double-digit megs.

    The cost in memory, cpu and subsequent access time, is very high but sometimes it’s worth it.

  10. Yoshiofthewire {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:33 am}

    “I have had it installed for over 30 days”
    Isn’t that called software piracy?

  11. Chris Morrell {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:34 am}

    I surely didn\’t expect this to get up on Digg and it wasn\’t meant to be an in depth review of these two compression clients. I used the maximum compression techniques for both programs which were like Ultra and Maximum and then I just compared the results. In regards to readability I should have put a graph to help make skimming the article easier.

    How can it be piracy if I have done nothing except install the program? I\’ve had WinRAR installed since my last fresh install of Windows which was roughly in late April. I can\’t help the fact that when I fired up the program yesterday it still said 19 days left, that is definetly a progamming error and not a user error.

  12. Mal {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:37 am}

    WinRAR is one of those few items of software that are worth paying for IMO, another is Power DVD and Textpad. I tend to stick with free software where possible though.

  13. Ivan Minic {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:48 am}

    Bravo for this test ;)

  14. graham {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:50 am}

    I used to use winRAR, but became annoying with the nagg screens. i then found IZarc and have installed it on all my machines, much easier that winRAR. It also handles lots of file types and is realy fast.

    It’s also Shareware !

  15. Kevo {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:51 am}

    I think a lot of what leads people to call 7Zip better than WinRAR is the fact that it is free.

  16. Kurt {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:51 am}

    Nice test. Too bad it does not show any real life use of the product.

    Try using both pieces of software to split up a 1400 mb AVI into 10 mb chunks. Then see which one uncompresses them faster.

    BTW - 7Zip is free, and is actually about 3 years old - not exactly new.

    7Zip can uncompress a multiple part large archive in about 10% of the time that WinRAR does.

  17. John {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 8:52 am}

    Archiving torrent contents is not a good practice because when people finish downloading a torrent, they will unarchive it and delete the original copy. If you don’t have the original copy, you can’t seed the torrent, thus there will be less seeders, and slower speeds.

  18. Fool {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:00 am}

    “In general professional programs have been optimized so heavily that there is very little room for compression to improve upon.”

    Professional programs my ass… You tried to compress the SETUP PACKAGE of Thunderbird, which is already compressed. It has nothing to do with “being optimized so heavily”. It doesn’t compress because the byte redundancy is gone. If you unpack and repack using Winrar/7zip, it will probably compress.

  19. Stuart {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:08 am}

    These look like bad tests, you are compressing already compressed files (MP4, thunderbird installer) it’s more realistic to compress uncompressed files and folders.

  20. Jason {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:09 am}

    I agree, compressing pre-compressed files is a bad way to test things.

    What about WinUHA? I’d like to see that compared with RAR and 7zip as well.

  21. Gam-r {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:12 am}

    This is nuttin same like always itz lame i used all of winrar they are so lame and u have to pay for them wut if u reboot ur comp cauz of a virus?> huh! then u wont be able to recieve winrar the full version bak!!

    bTW 7-zip is da best!!!!!!!!! its free and it opens every file zip,jar,rar, and sum more itz betta than ani archiver 7-ZIP RULES!!!!

  22. Open Source is not for all {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:13 am}

    The vocal open source __minority__ is simply on 7-zip’s side to further their own piddling agenda. In this case, it’s extremely misguided as WinRAR __IS__ worth buying and worth buying on multi-box levels. I’m a purchasing director for a large institution and we __DO TRY__ to go open source whenever possible, however WinRAR is a clearly superior product, except for a very tiny insignificant subset of b0ring data which 7-zip does well at, as mentioned beforehand on this page. :)

    F/OSS not for all

    ps. that 7-zip user interface is the pits.. doesn’t help the cause, boys and girls.

  23. Myrd {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:13 am}

    Uhm, what’s the point of trying to compress data that’s already been compressed? All these results show already-compressed data being compressed again, which is futile! The executables are the installers, which already contain compressed data for the program being installed (think of them as self-extracting archives). MPEG’s are already compressed.

    How about you test something real world, like compressing a source code directory? Or hell, just compress your average user’s home directory for a well balanced test on all the different file formats that are there!

    Jeez, it almost seems like WinRAR paid you to find the poorest cases of performance for 7Z, which happened to be compressing already-compressed data!

  24. Jeremy Bowers {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:14 am}

    With all due respect, this is an incredibly stupid review. With this reviewing method, Unix “tar” will beat 7z in two out of your four tests! This should tell you something is wrong with your tests.

    And the thing that is wrong is that three out of your four test files are *already compressed*. So your review compares and contrasts 7zip’s and WinRAR’s ability to compress already compressed files. Go figure, neither does well, and in fact it really doesn’t matter which is “better” at compressing already compressed files.

    The only test of any value whatsoever was the database test, and lo, 7zip does just short of 10% better than WinRAR. However, with just this one data point you can’t decide anything.

    You should be able to find an option somewhere in WinRAR to just plain archive and not compress. (I don’t know, I’m don’t use the program, I’m guessing.) When you’re archiving MP4s or other already-compressed files, you should use that instead, unless you need to eke out that extra little bit to fit onto some media, as it’ll be as fast as your hard drive can write and cost you very little space. When you’re archiving non-compressed data, well, I don’t know which will be better based on your article because you didn’t test anything to speak of.

  25. az {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:23 am}

    wait, am i the only one that still uses winzip?

  26. Just Me {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:26 am}

    7-Zip uses *available* RAM; if you have less, it uses less. And Fool’s point is a good one — compression removes redundancy, and compressing an extremely low redundancy file is pointless. That includes MP4s, MP3s, and most current installers.

  27. Wayne {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:31 am}

    I doubt an major corporation would by individual licenses when they could just by the corporate edition. Also, WinRAR 3.51 Corporate edition can decompress 7-z files, however it cannot compress them into this format.

  28. Andrew Long {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 9:43 am}

    I think some of your tests are slightly faulty which possibly leads you to a bad conclusion.

    First why are you trying to compress files that are already compressed? MP4 encoded with H.264, NForce Drivers, and ThunderBird are already highly compressed. hence why you get crappy results from both programs on these applications. the only decent thing to compress is the Mint Database, which the open source prog compressed more. and finally the differences in file size are relativly minor less then 1% except for the mint thing which 7-zip won by ~10%. you only compressed 1 file that would benifit from general compression. Personally I would say you came to a faulty conclusion when it comes to filesize.

    the only reasonable grip you might have is the memory usage thing but as long as it didn’t make your computer unresponsive who cares if it uses more memory. if you got it use it.

    when it comes to compression and decompression speed you might have a point. when decompressing it seems as though 7-zip is slower. but its hard to tell exctly how muuch because you only ran 2 tests. when it comes to compression speed winrar and 7-zip exchange places repeatedly albeit with a wider margin of error.

    Finally you forgot to include price in your conclusion it seems. from what I’ve read it seems like win zip is 20 some bucks while 7-zip is free.

    you failed to state the reason why you thought why winrar was superior and so it seems as though you missed some of the finer points of your data.I think your article would be much easier to understand if you had graphed the data points. finally I think the lack of data points and the selection of bad datapoints makes your study inconclusive at best.

  29. dennis {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 10:18 am}

    I prefer RAR over 7Zip.
    There shouldnt be too much “standard” compression formats, just stick with zip and rar for online usage.

  30. Ron {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 10:26 am}

    I read this review, as I have been a long time WinRAR fan, and needless to say, after reading the review, I still am. I would like to know why people’s argument against WinRAR is that it isn’t free? Big deal. You are not entitled to having every piece of your software being FREE. Jesus, it drives me nuts… If the software isn’t a rip-off, or way overpriced, and you like it, why would you have a problem paying for it? I use Linux exclusively, but I have NO PROBLEM paying for software if I like it. I REFUSE to use ONLY FREE software based on the premise that it is free. WinRAR is available for Linux, so why bother trying to use 7-zip through WINE. That is assinine. I guess if you really need the GUI, then go for it. But then again, if you are using Linux, you should be fairly comfortable with the CLI (although it isn’t absolutely neccessary, sometimes you just can’t get around it).
    Long live WinRAR!

  31. Mooty {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 10:26 am}

    You can change the amount of memory used to compress with 7-Zip by changing the directory size.

    The gui look don’t bother me, as i only use 7-Zip from the context menu.

  32. Ron {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 10:29 am}

    Did I just read someone complaining about spending 20 bucks on a program? 20 BUCKS? Christ…. I bet that the people that write complaining about the money are kids, too young to work, or too broke to buy. That is really sad.

  33. Phillip {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 10:54 am}

    Only morons compress already compressed files.

  34. Kris {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:00 am}

    There’s three things I like about 7-zip, over WinRAR:

    - 7zip doesn’t cost anything.
    - 7zip doesn’t have that annoying nagging screen, for the cheap skates that wont fork out the license fee.
    - 7zip is open source. If you don’t like something about it, then you can fix it.

    But thanks for the article, I’m hoping someone has taken this review into consideration, and will work on 7zip’s memory consumption issues :-)

  35. mieses {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:11 am}

    7-zip works just fine. it handles all formats including .tar.gz and bzip2 nicely. if your job does not require compessing and decompresisng files all day, then save your money for something important.

    zip compression is included for free in win xp, os x, and linux. if you need a few special options, then 7-zip is the next logical step. companies like winrar, winzip, and stuffit have become irrelevant.

    a more in depth comparison would have been interesting, not just a selective attack on 7-zip.

  36. M3wThr33 {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:16 am}

    My god. It seems like you kids will only use free programs. Your opinion was biased from the start.

  37. ALok {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:17 am}

    I would saying, trying to compress files that are already compressed is not a very smart idea, I find that usually RAR does not compress as good when the compression ratio is over 50% compressed. But in truth I think 7zip is better just because its free.

  38. mieses {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:27 am}

    jeremy zawodny wrote some interesting posts on comparing file compression a while back. but he’s just a “kid”, someone to ignore if paying $20 for file compression software makes you feel mature:

    note that rzip is an interesting compression format for some cases..

  39. Michael Greene {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:33 am}

    It’s worthy to note that Thunderbird is already compressed with 7-zip. Mozilla uses 7-zip compression in its installers, so obviously an additional compression with 7-zip (or another compressor for that matter) would not help.

  40. Bjorn Nitmo {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:38 am}

    A single, completely unscientific test by someone how clearly doesn’t have a clue how compression works. Utterly pointless.

  41. v.hong {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:40 am}

    stop complaining about the nagging screens, if you right click your .rar file you can extract it from there. you dont have any annoying nagging screens and its faster than opening the gui and extracting it.

  42. David {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 11:45 am}

    7-zip tells you how much ram is required for each compression level. Select a faster compression, and it’ll use far less ram. The highest (not default) compression level uses an absurd amount of ram and a lot of cpu time. Select “normal” compression and the “problem” goes away, and it’ll still beat RAR.

  43. mark {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:26 pm}

    I always use WinRAR too. It’s way better.

  44. mdakin {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:28 pm}

    Sorry but this review is very very poorly done.

  45. ryke12 {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:29 pm}

    You guys are just… ridiculous. I mean, has anyone forced you to read this site?

    Has anyone forced you at gunpoint to accept these tests?

    Is the creator screaming that his test is the only valid test? Rather, has he even claimed that “This is in no way a complete review of these products features, I simply tested a specific setting that is most applicable to me, if you change up the compression settings there is a good chance your results will vary from mine.”

    Gee, that would seem to defeat your arguments on how this test sucks. He is fully aware of this.

    And now onto the whole open-source vs. shareware thing. This is a stupid debate, frankly. Both sides apply to different situations and people.

    Here’s the quick side of it: winRar is easier to use, and overall imho has better compression the vast majority of the time. For the rest of the time, you have this option: DOWNLOAD 7-ZIP AND USE IT AS WELL.

    Is there some secret code in 7-zip that causes it to destroy itself and your computer if you also happen to have winRar on the same computer? I THINK NOT.

    What’s more is that $20 really is a pittance. Granted, some of you barely make that in four hours working, but hey, then the difference in compression probably doesn’t matter anyways, and you can stick with your 7-zip fanboying.

    I know that I personally would be willing to pay the $20 just for the better gui for winRAR… 7-zip is ugly as crap.

  46. Chris Morrell {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:39 pm}

    Wow I am loving this. I know this was not a complete review, it was in no way, shape, or form anything close to being complete. If I had wanted to make this complete I would have included a larger variety of files, tested all the compression levels, and then called this a complete review of WinRAR and 7-zip. As I mentioned above this was only a test of the compression requirements that I need, not what you, your mother, or your neighbor need. Perhaps I will have to perform a huge review of a few clients but I believe it would serve no purpose other than bring up more issues about it not being very complete. Once again I will say this, this is not a complete review, this is a very specific case.

  47. Jonathan Zencovich {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:39 pm}

    Interesting review. I use WinRAR myself. After the 30 day trial you just get reminded to register every time you start up WinRAR. You can still use WinRAR, but it gets annoying. Someone may have pointed this out though, as I have not read any ofthe other comments here.

    Nice Blog and review.

    –Jon Z |

  48. Urpo {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:42 pm}

    I can’t believe this “review” got digg. This is the most unprofessional comparison of compression programs I have ever read, no offense.

    If you would like to see a REAL comparison, please visit Their methods are well documented, compression options are documented etc.

    Sorry, this review is just as good as WinRAR’s paid advertisement.

    Sidenote, I use both programs. 7zip has slightly better compression, and I don’t mind the compression times. Only reason I use WinRAR is the builtin multimedia filters that sometimes increase the compression ratio.

  49. Heavensblade23 {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:46 pm}

    Please look up the word “incontinent” in the dictionary. :)

  50. Newsminator {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 12:48 pm}

    Thank you for the excellent review. I am a fan of WinRAR, too. I have used it for many, many years (starting with the DOS versions) and it has never failed on me or corrupted data files - it’s 100% reliable. This is what I love about it.

  51. feckur {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:02 pm}

    text files do not compress well because of the “large amount of whitespace”, idiot reviewer, fecking ignoramus.

  52. Andrew Long {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:09 pm}

    If you don’t like what poeple are going to say then don’t post on the internet. Especially now that its on digg you’re going to be hammered if you’re not perfect. now back to the topic at hand.

    On the topic of price. For some people price is very important. $20 is alot of money in someplaces not everyone makes $8 or even $1 an hour. Its not about being cheap its about not being able to afford it for some.

    you still haven’t really responded to the point that your article is flawed and then you go and give a strong conclusion based on it.

    It’s alright to not be prefect, just fix it.

  53. junebug {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:14 pm}

    I’ll choose an open source app over a closed one, if their feature set’s are similar. Fortunately for me, I like 7-zip’s feature set better.

  54. Keith {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:24 pm}

    Absolutely conclusive! I have been using WinRAR for years, and never thought of changing for another compression application. Furthermore, WinRAR supports several compression formats and that what makes it so universal.

  55. Christopher Cashell {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:33 pm}

    I think the problem a lot of us have with this “review” is not that it’s incomplete, but that it isn’t accurate. Almost any time you try to compress content that is already highly compresseed, you end up with the same thing again, but with a few bytes added for the new container format. That’s a simple fact. In fact, most compression tools will even tell you this (for example, here’s a snip from the gzip man page: “Compression is always performed, even if the compressed file is slightly larger than the original. The worst case expansion is a few bytes for the gzip file hader, plus 5 bytes every 32K block, or an expansion ratio of 0.015% for large files. Note that the actual number of used disk blocks almost never increases.”).

    That also means that 3 of the 4 tests done were not valid comparisons. They don’t actually tell you any useful information about the compression tools.

    Now, pesonally, I don’t use RAR or 7zip very often. I find that for most of my operations, gzip is a better tradeoff, because it provides quite good compression and is lightning fast compared to WinRAR or 7zip. It’s all a matter of your goals. Either way, though, this comparison just doesn’t provide any valid data. If you redid the tests using non-compressed data, I think it would be a lot more useful.

    You claim that this was a test of the compression requirements you need. . . do you really need to compress already compressed data for at most 1%-2% gain, and with a large time hit? I’m having trouble coming up with any scenario where that’s required. Can you provide any logic or reasoning behind this specific case, and where it might apply to the real world?

    I apologize of this comes off as harsh. I don’t think you intended to conduct a flawed study, it was an accident that resulted from an incomplete understanding of compression techniques and their applicability. I do think changing the ‘review’ to use uncompressed data would go a long way toward silencing your critics, though.


  56. Ben {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:42 pm}


    Agreed - but let’s educate the him rather than slate him (although admittedly he’s doing a computer related degree so should know better).

    The lesson:

    File compression is all about repetition and pattern matching. the more patterns that can be found and simplified the greater the compression level.
    As you SHOULD ALREADY KNOW FROM YOUR COURSE text characters follow a set encoding (e.g. base ASCII, ISO-8859-1, UTF-8 etc), i.e. the data is not entirely random, and must be within these sets. THIS INCLUDES WHITESPACE WHICH IS ITSELF REPRESENTED BY A CODE (HEX 20) - so your quote about “large amount of whitespace” is entirely wrong.
    Most if not all compression algorithms take advantage of the fact that the characters are in a fixed set.

    In case you’re still confused consider the following quick overview of one of the most basic compressions, RLE (run length encoding) - simplified here:
    A text file “AAAAA” could represented as “5 times A”, which in itself could be stored as (5A - 2 bytes) rather than AAAAA (5 bytes).

    You might want to change your review in light of this new information, which makes your review look like it was done by an idiot rather than a student computer engineer.

  57. Ben {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:46 pm}


    “I enjoy the challenge that coding presents to me.”

    Coding shouldn’t be a challenge if you’re any good at it :)

  58. Andreas {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 1:50 pm}

    Hey, compressing already compressed files is like…. Well, it’s sais it self.

  59. Chris Morrell {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 2:00 pm}

    In light of some of the comments that have been made I will have to put some time aside from building my autocascade to truly test these two programs. Give me a few days and I will re-do the tests and follow a more scientific approach. I will admit that I didn’t know much about compression technology before I wrote this however now that I have read the comments above I know a bit more, thank you Ben for trying to educate and not flame. Now I just need to convince myself that data compression is more important than refrigeration/overclocking and take the time to re-do this. Thanks for the good comments, I’ve grown used to the usual flames but the very few gems really help.

  60. FilZip fan {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 2:22 pm}

    I’ve used WinZip, WinRar, WinAce, 7-Zip, IZArc and others. 7-Zip was my long-time favorite, but I recently found out about FilZip ( It’s amazingly fast, free, and supports a lot of formats.

  61. nimpbus {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 2:55 pm}

    ryke12 said he is willing to shell out $20 for the prettier GUI… its a computer program! not a fashion contest! since when has form taken precedence over functionality?! [in the computer world] — personally, I dont care if my compression software is ugly. The end result (a compressed/archivable file) is what I am after.

    $20 is a lot of money. keep in mind this is $20 USD - think about some countried where the monthly living wage is $200 USD.

    ryke12 DOES bring up a good point… you can have both installed on your machine, you know.

    and as far as your annoying ‘nag’ screens - just set your system clock to the year 2027 when you install winrar… that gives you like 26 years before your 30 day free trial starts counting down, by then you will have a new computer or be dead anyway. (I know this used to work… not sure about current versions)…

  62. mario {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 4:03 pm}

    Did anyone tell him that the Thunderbird installer was already compressed using 7zip? I also found it quite amusing that he appearantly didn’t know about ZIP and RAR before they got those ugly Windows shells. The original DOS RAR was quite cool and my preferred archiving tool (ARJ/JAR had better algorithms eventually, but nut counting byte sizes isn’t groovy anymore when hard disks get measured in Gigabytes these days, dude).
    Please stop writing technical reviews if you’re an all-time Windows user. Please!

  63. Korlithiel {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 4:58 pm}

    I have preferred WinRar but my friend uses WinAce, could you please do a comparisen? Oh and with 7-zip, I’m not sure how but I have a few SNES games compressed in that format and unzipped that take up a hefty amount, so I think 7-zip shines with multiple small files rather then with hefty sized files.

  64. koolaidman {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 5:01 pm}

    Fact is 7-zip is open source. That makes it a auto 30% cooler/better. I won’t pay for winrar and even if I was willing to pirate the random peace of software I don’t truely enjoy it. I would much rather just take open source software and know I’m making the world a better place because of it.

  65. JM Badger {Sunday July 9, 2006 @ 6:22 pm}

    All of these criticisms but nobody provides links to the tests THEY have performed between two or more compressing programs.

    7-Zip, WinZip, WinRAR, WinACE, FilZip…..c’mon folks, if you don’t like the results shown here, perform your own tests, write your own review and let people tell YOU how stupid you are.

    I heard there was a compression tool out there called KGB Archiver that provides amazing compression, if you have a hefty machine to do the grunt work.

  66. PCguru {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 12:14 am}

    Why do tests on things that are not compressible?

    Executables are already compressed most of the time, and decompress to RAM when started.

    MP4 is already highly compressed and cannot be compressed much further, as you found out…

    You did only one test on something that is truely compressable, the text database. And there 7-zip did a great job.

    A compression program is not good because it doesn’t increase filesize much on non-compressible files and use little RAM while doing nothing. Very strange conclusion.

  67. Anmol {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 1:19 am}

    Well just like reviewer here i too have tested both winrar and 7zip many times on many different files and i find nothing wrong in the review here but still find it little bit incomplete (should have tested more files). I too have noticed that 7zip takes away too much ram and on an average takes lot more time still in the compression ratios winrar is much better(on an average). I too will stick with winrar and as far as 7zip is concerned i still hope some day it will get better. I would like to point out that there are some ppl who think that even though they have no idea how reviewer might have tested both the apps they easily comes down to conclusion that the reviewer might have made some mistake or there is some thing wrong with his PC, there is no point in questioning the reviewer if one feels that 7zip is better than they should show some facts. Im sad there are people who don’t like winrar just because it is not open source.

  68. jkl {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 2:35 am}

    WinRAR rocks - i’ll never change to anything else > > > Nice review BTW!

  69. Andrew {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 3:45 am}

    This review is a total, complete waste of time. Are you really doing a computer related degree, and if so, what are you actually learning there? Not very much at all.
    I can’t believe this made digg.

  70. theiikian {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 3:58 am}

    dont forget KGB archiver this beats 7zip and winrar in archiving.
    KGB can be found at sourceforge.

  71. Ross {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 5:01 am}

    If you want to do a review like this again make sure you include PowerArchiver, if you are going to spend money on a program like that you should use something that’ll blow winrar and 7-zip out of the water.

  72. ltwally {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 8:45 am}

    My personal tests tend to show the exact opposite. 7-zip always creates smaller files, and on my system, it does it quicker than WinRAR. The speed factor is due to the fact that I run a dual-cpu box, and 7-zip is multi-threaded. As dual-core cpu’s become increasingly pervasive, this will definitely become an issue.

    For example, I compressed the Thunderbird executable (v1.5.0.4) using WinRAR & 7-Zip. The exe was originally 7,636 KB. WinRAR compressed it down to 2,879 KB, while 7-Zip compressed it down to 2,755 KB. WinRAR took 20 seconds. 7-Zip took 12 seconds.

    For WinRAR, I set it to “Best” compression with a recovery record. (Interestingly enough, if I skip the recovery record option, the file size increases to 3,106 KB)
    For 7-Zip, I used the following options: Ultra compression, LZMA compression, 128 MB dictionary, word size: 273.

    Now, my system is an aging dual AthlonMP 1.2ghz w/ 1.5 gigs of ram… so a more modern computer could do much better. but the filesizes should remain the same.

    I don’t know how this reviewer failed to archive Thunderbird… but the disparity between his results and my own makes me question the validity of his entire test.

    Also, I’ll repeat: Dual-core is the future. With 7-zip being multithreaded an WinRAR not, the balance definitely tips in 7-zip’s favor.

  73. Adam Pollock {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 11:46 am}

    The thing about memory usage is that it doesn’t matter how much it uses. When only one program is running, I want it to command all of the available RAM. It is there to be used. To do anything else doesn’t make sense. The real measure of how good the RAM performance is is how quickly it gives up RAM when other programs require it.

  74. InvisibleSoul {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 3:14 pm}

    “How can it be piracy if I have done nothing except install the program? I’ve had WinRAR installed since my last fresh install of Windows which was roughly in late April. I can’t help the fact that when I fired up the program yesterday it still said 19 days left, that is definetly a progamming error and not a user error.”

    Just because after 30 days, it doesn’t stop you from using it doesn’t mean you’re allowed to use it indefinitely. WinRAR is shareware, and it grants you a 30 day trial period. After that, you should technically need to pay for a license to continue using it, otherwise it actually would be considered piracy.

  75. LiFo2 {Monday July 10, 2006 @ 11:49 pm}

    7zip is really powerful when you have to put many files that are nearly the sames in the same archive. Of course, it does not happen every day, but it’s useful for ROM for emulators (you pack many versions in one file), or when you want to keep all the versions of a document.

  76. Bebertii {Tuesday July 11, 2006 @ 12:22 am}

    Nice test :)
    For my part, I use 7z to archive my Snes and Nes roms. There is many versions of a same game and I put them in the same archive. Each files differs of the other one by only a few bits.
    An example :
    The game “Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP II” has 7 versions.
    each versions is 1024 KB lenght.
    If I archive them with Winrar I obtain a file of 5065 KB, with 7z, due to the similarities between the files, I obtained a 734KB file… In much more time, but the aim is the lesser lenght.

  77. Paul-Hewson {Tuesday July 11, 2006 @ 12:42 am}

    The Winrar evaluation time is a false thing.

    Even if the 30 days ares passed the program can be used. You just have a little popup windows that remind you that you can buy it. There is a close button to continue using it without worry :)

    But i like 7-zip too.

    I use 7-zip at works and Winrar at home.

  78. BenJ {Tuesday July 11, 2006 @ 12:58 am}

    Well I did not read all the message before, I am at work and gt much time for it ^^

    I also think that using ultra compression method with already compressed files is totally unsignifiant in regards of a real compression utility.

    To deal with some of the usage I got from 7-zip at is to compress our daily 1000+ pdf invoices wich weight about à good 100MB. With winrar and winzip I can compress those 100MB by 1 to 3 MB in the better cases. With 7-zip with the default setting this 100MB became 25 MB (16mb in ultra mode) wich is really more interresting for sending those file over the web. I reconise this is a little spécific because pdf files are already compressed but quite similar each another.

    In another case, if I do à backup of my “Project” folder wich contain various kind of data code, pictures, word document etc… in all 3363 file in 118 directories for a total weight of 109MB the rar archive is 27MB when the 7z is 19 MB.

    The last comparison I will do is with a small windev database of 1.90MB. The rar is 230KB when the 7z is 189KB.

    All those test have ben done with the default settings (wich is the most common case for most of time when you do a quick archive) mainly because I dont got time to compare all the different settings for both archiver. I will also notice that winrar seems to be quite faster than 7-zip in archiving at this level.

    At least, the interface of 7-zip is less user-friendly than winrar’s interface when used as a filemanager, wich doesn’t bother me really because my typical use of that kind of software is merely to quickly (un)archive file throught windows explorer (were I just select the file(s) and compress with the contextual menu).

    For all those reason I prefer using 7z were I got better compression level, not as fast as winrar but without having to get a €/$ out of my pocket. I do use it for both personnal and professionnal use.

  79. JM Badger {Tuesday July 11, 2006 @ 12:41 pm}

    Putting my money where my mouth is department…..

    I took a 552 MB ISO (nice large file composed of a bunch of different file types) and compressed it at the maximum level with a couple different compressors and got the following results:

    WinRAR— 435 MB
    WinZIP— 452
    7zip— 410
    PowerArchiver (as a 7z file) — 411
    KGBArchive— 376 MB but it took almost 6 hours to do it!

    As a common user, I really don’t care how “scientific” a study is. I care about “real world” results. And honestly, I’ve never needed to compress anything in my life. The only thing I use any of these programs for is decompressing files I’ve downloaded.

    I used all these programs “straight out of the box” as it were; my results may have been different if I had tweaked some setting or other, but still I’m a “real world” kind of guy and can’t be bothered with reading instructions or help files or anything like that. I just want something to work right now.

    I use WinRAR day-to-day because I am accustomed to the interface so I will continue to use it.

  80. Julien {Tuesday July 11, 2006 @ 10:51 pm}

    It’s not about “scientific method”.

    It just makes no sense to recompress already compressed files, because you spend so much time trying to get another byte… For these workloads, just use the “store” method :)

    (BTW, Thunderbird installer is _already_ compressed using 7zip under Windows ;) That’s why the windows package is so small compared to other platforms).

  81. hbratbe {Tuesday August 1, 2006 @ 2:01 am}

    7-zip did split my 15 Gb .bkf-file from a laptop in 4-5 hours on a 3,3 GHz machine.
    But 7-zip cannot expand the two files again from 2 dvd file fragments. I tried with two shortcuts from the same folder, but it only concatinates them to a .7z file and uses 7,42 Gig extra on my harddisk.

    My wish for the future is that you can open or copy a single file inside the archive to save space. In most cases you don’t want to restore the whole content, only a file or two, and too often the space is limited. (Why did it come to compressing in the first place if it where not for the tiny disk you bought on e-bay…?)

  82. Dreamora {Wednesday August 2, 2006 @ 1:16 pm}

    I normally use WinRAR because it showed the most consistent results for the last few years (tried a lot of different apps and WinZIP definitely won the “most crappy and useless thing you could pay for” award).

    But one thing thats getting more and more on my nuts is that my CoreDuo is pointless (I’ve WinRAR 3.6 beta 2 which supports multithreading) as WinRAR isn’t capable of using available RAM when decompressing to decompress to RAM in case the HD is too slow.
    I’ve 2GB RAM and more than 1,5GB are free and I would definitely like to see winrar using that …
    If RAM Disks weren’t such a pain I would have a temporary one at 1GB just for winrar extraction process, in which case it would speed far far above anything 7z could reach.

    Btw: If you try to get to the smallest size, use LHA or UHA and not kiddy algorithms like zip and rar.

  83. Mecintosh {Thursday September 28, 2006 @ 6:46 am}

    I read it all, I agree with many words of ryke12, i believe you all must look better for what you want, for your needs.

    Just that, nothing else. If its free or if you must pay for it, its what you need? so whats the problem.

    The problem is sometimes you dont no really what you want, its the naked true.

    For me the both are very good. I prefer using winrar because company policies, but i dont have any problem to try 7-zip, or others.

    It´s the world.

    And about money, forget what you all, because all of you, even i, we spend more than 20$ for uselless thinks (a ball, a t-shirt, a drink, a bet) that in the moment we want.

    Thank you.

  84. renyi {Thursday October 5, 2006 @ 11:39 pm}
  85. DimensionX {Thursday October 12, 2006 @ 12:43 pm}

    Winrar is painful slow when handle big solid archives, not so with 7zip.

    I think both packers are good, but then again, one of them is free.

  86. Steve {Sunday October 15, 2006 @ 6:40 am}

    I personally prefer 7zip, I always opt for open source unless it is impractical to do so, it also has given better compression ratios for me in my needs, not noticed much of a time difference. This test is biased, but noone said it wouldnt be. He clearly stated what was measured and how, and gave his conclusion based on what his own needs are.
    Why people are arguing their points are beyond me, even tho im now doing the same… The 7zip interface, i cannot deny is ugly, but it does the job. I would rather donate $20 to 7zip than buy winrar for the same money, in fact, i will do that now, just to prove my opinions are not based on price alone.

    This does seem a bit more thorough test. The only criticism i really have with this review is why to bother compressing already compressed files:
    “but since it would be a pain to remember 25 file names and extensions, I conveniently RAR all of them and then have a rar.exe installer, so I just have memorize two files”
    Store method in 7zip would save a lot of time for your needs in archiving, and im sure winRAR has the same function, i cant personally remember.
    P.S, have finished donating.

  87. nubs {Wednesday October 25, 2006 @ 12:07 am}

    As for the idiot above who runs 7-Zip in wine, why the hell would you do that when there is a native copy of it known as p7zip. (command line utility but many archive GUI’s for example Ark on KDE and File Roller on gnome use the command line utilities to provide function.

    Rarlabs do also make copies of RAR for Linux and FreeBSD, instead of calling them WinRAR they just call it RAR. Although once again you have to register it. However Alexander Roshal the owner of Rarlabs does supply the source for unraring things, hence the unrar utility is free.

    If your in a *nix world your most likely going to be using tar with bzip2 or gzip anyway. Or just zip because it’s supported by Windows XP without the use of a third party program.

  88. Chris {Thursday October 26, 2006 @ 8:31 pm}

    Dude, I just compressed a 295MB text file down to 14.5MB using 7-zip and the 7z format. Winzip only compressed the file to 95MB, Haven’t tried WinRAR because it isn’t free like 7-Zip. Hey, whatever works for you is cool, but just thought I’d throw in my 2 cents :-)

  89. SWEATYNUTZ {Friday December 15, 2006 @ 9:24 pm}

    i came across this and wanted to put my 2cents in.

    by the way ty for your review. regardless of redundancy factors and what u might of did wrong with your testing parameters i was able to differentiate what to try to best suit my needs in the REAL WORLD!!!

    now REAL WORLD could mean a lot of things. to those few of you who seems to know alot about computers and programing and such. hey good for you. you spent a whole lotta time indoors to learn all that stuff while the world moved on outside your cubicles. so heres a lolipop to commend you on your sacrifice and savvy. but i did appreciate your input and complaints and epecially of your whinings. (makes a good soap drama…open the curtains and get a tan. your all probably pale in complextion) i came across this by chance and just had to leave my opinion. give the guy a break, tell him what he did wrong but dont insult his capacity. we all overlook things sometimes. CORRECT but dont JUDGE (lol or someone might judge u like i am doin and as far as what i read and the human race is concerned. we are going downhill…critics got to love em) We learn to crawl first and i bet some of you crawl really fast before you stood up and began to run. (who knows some of you ingrates may still be crawling with some of the rude comments)

    Well anyway. im stickin to the winrar. compression suxed for both when it comes to movies and thats my thing in this real world. a 3gig movie isnt worth the time of approx 1hr for winrar or 1 1/2hrs for 7zip to save 20% or more of space on my HD. after all the hard work editing. ill just stick it in my 20terabyte server. which is the backbone of my home network. (movies takes a lot of space) even at a T1line i couldnt surf because that 7zip took all my 4gig of ram it was like i was still using a commodore 64 with my graphics. atleast with the winrar i was able to multitask on my fav computer instead of using another pc on my home network to surf. i usually have to work all of them in tandem for the movies. atleast now if i rar something, i can still surf to wait and burn the movies im makin and last but not least. still not have to shut off my DL of huston 500, all at the same time time now THATS REAL WORLD no matter how trivial it may be to some of you. i wanna get my stuff done and get the hell out.


  90. swetha {Monday February 19, 2007 @ 11:59 pm}

    hello sir,

    i m doing my btech from pune university and m in third year now. i ‘ve to sumit my seminar on “WinRAR compression techinques”, but m not getting much stuff related to the algorithms used by it. so plz forward me any information regarding this topic or just suggest some websites where i’ll find the relavent information..

    sorry for troubling you.. plz mail me if you can..

    thankyou sir


  91. gbratboy1 {Tuesday February 20, 2007 @ 1:55 pm}

    I looked through all of these replies, but the thing I didn’t notice was that 7-Zip has Rar compression included with a few other types. The 7-zip compression promises more, but if RAR really works so well, then get 7-zip and use RAR compression. Also, I don’t want to pay for software b/c 1.) I am cheap 2.) I don’t trust buying it online and 3.) Why pay for something when you can get it free? To support the companies? If I want to give my money away, I’d donate to a worthy cause. Heck, donate some money to 7-zip if you want to part with your cash so bad =P

  92. cendor {Wednesday February 21, 2007 @ 12:16 pm}

    I would quess, that a lot of people got here the same way I have, looking for the best compression via web search.
    But, I would have to agree with thoughs who say 7zip uses a great deal of memory
    and does take a great deal of time compressing, at least large file under the highest compression rate. As for free, there are other compression software that are free also, maybe not as good compression, but do not take as much resourses as 7zip, that is if you have to have free software. Rar has become a constant thru out the web for compression files, so one would need something to uncompress Rar, anyway.

  93. Tom Mann {Thursday March 1, 2007 @ 5:22 am}

    So. If it’s so great… Why haven’t you bought it yet?

  94. Robert Stever {Wednesday April 4, 2007 @ 7:23 pm}

    The reason why 7zip is prefered over winrar is simple. when you have lets say Doom 1, Doom 2, tnt, and plutonia compressed with winrar its 20 mb! but with 7zip is 9mb, why? because 7zip unlike winrar looks for the data in all those files and checks to see if an of it repeates (like in all the wads there is like 1/4 derrived for textures). well in everything but doom1 all the textures amost repeat. thus they are compressed as the same chunk instead of individual chunks. have you ever wondered why when you look in a 7zip file with winrar you will noticed that only one file in the list has the packed size? well now you know why.

  95. cozofdeath {Tuesday April 10, 2007 @ 12:03 pm}

    Very good post! I’ve done reading reviews in the past one compression products in the past and have always agreed on WinRAR to be the best. Many of the complaints made about this article pretty ignorant. Real world results benefit people much more than that, well if you choose this setting it could of done better crap. I love IT stuff, so I’ll read any technical info on protocols, RFCs, APIs, whatever, but its nice to see a test like this. I have to say I have never been disappointed with WinRAR. I can’t remember of the trial every running out, in fact I think it is just nagware (I could be wrong). The fact that it isn’t open source doesn’t make it bad at all. In fact that wasn’t even the point of this article, at least in my opinion. And nether was the amount it costs. People don’t seem to understand the WinRAR compression is proprietary. There for all the .rar files you see on the net everywhere were compress with WinRAR not 7-zip or anything else. Also whoever said 7-zip works with WINE, its only the command like version and you have to use it with wine? WinRAR works with operating systems you probably haven’t even heard about like Irix, AIX, HP, AMIGA, QNX4/6, Tru64, etc. not to mention multiple distributions of Linux 32/64 bit. The reason I use it is because of the features you get with it. You can beat them. For the dude researching this stuff, have you even gone to the WinRAR site? The have the unRar source, file header info, etc.

  96. Ben Tover {Wednesday April 18, 2007 @ 5:37 pm}

    “then defragmented the drive three times just to ensure that the compression programs had a clean drive to tear up”

    now that’s funny

  97. Manlio {Thursday April 19, 2007 @ 7:22 am}

    Hey, man: study, before writing useless reviews.

  98. Jim {Monday May 14, 2007 @ 4:36 pm}

    Well, more people need to use 7zip. I didn’t even know much about it until I read this.

  99. PuZo {Thursday May 24, 2007 @ 12:31 pm}

    Drivers that are compressed with 7-Zip are ALWAYS smaller than WinRAR compreseed ones. So there is something you did wrong in your test.

    And setups or movies… how often do people need to compress this kind of files ?

    Some things can be compressed to smaller size unsing WinRAR, some thing with 7-Zip…
    But 7-Zip is usualy faster than WinRAR.

    On a scale from 1 to 5, I would rate your review to 1.

  100. Nup {Monday June 4, 2007 @ 8:42 am}

    Bunch of fuckin geeks. We’ve all got 500 gigabyte hard drives now, use which program you are comfortable with and deal with a paragraph or two that you don’t agree with/isn’t scientific. Please.

  101. neuroxik {Sunday June 10, 2007 @ 3:54 pm}

    @SWEATYNUTZ: Word!
    Thanks for the review. I’m sticking to WinRAR cu of this article.

  102. mak {Tuesday June 26, 2007 @ 3:01 am}

    “Bunch of fuckin geeks. We’ve all got 500 gigabyte hard drives now, use which program you are comfortable with and deal with a paragraph or two that you don’t agree with/isn’t scientific. Please.”

    With the help of a “Bunch of fuckin geeks”, you got your 500gb hard drive, moron.

  103. kevin mitnic {Tuesday August 21, 2007 @ 4:15 pm}

    winrar and 7zip my ass….
    i have good way to get more diskspace. use rar command line. and its free.

    this is my example. u dont have to try by your self unless you are gay.

    >cd \
    >rar a -m5 -mdG xampp.rar xampp
    [see the result]

    >del /s /f /q xampp
    [see the diskspace]

    –if you want more diskspace just
    >del xampp.rar
    [see the diskspace again]
    now you have more diskspace.

    –[ dont try this at home ]–

  104. JBG {Tuesday October 9, 2007 @ 8:15 pm}

    Man is this a debate. Let’s get some things straight.

    1. 7-Zip is open source. You don’t like it, you change it.
    2. If you can’t afford something, get a crack for it.
    3. 7-Zip IS slightly better than WinRAR.

    So there.

  105. Outerplaine {Friday December 28, 2007 @ 5:07 am}

    I have both WinRaR and 7-Zip. As of now, 7-Zip (7z LZMA) has the best overall compression between the two. If you compress large amounts of data or folders that contain many different types data, 7-Zip is superior.

    Someone mentioned KGB Achiever, KGB uses the PAQ format for high compression. Using anything less than maximum compression, the results are not much better (if not worse in many cases) than WinRaR/7-Zip. Using maximum compression will get you better results than WinRaR and 7-Zip, but it will take a very long period of time.

    If you are that desperate for very high compression, skip KGB and go with the small executable PAQ8o8 for the highest possible compression (much higher than the KGB, WinRaR and 7-Zip) in roughly the same amount of time.

    7-zip is now my main Archive for compression and Universal Extractor (does not compress) for decompressing.

    Here are some links:

    Universal Extractor -
    paq8o8 -

  106. Kevin {Thursday January 3, 2008 @ 3:50 pm}

    I use winrar for the max compression. 7-zip is fine for extracting anything tho.

  107. bdg {Monday January 7, 2008 @ 4:14 pm}

    I think the text document compression was the most interesting in this article. I have compressed a 526MB text based database file down to 77MB using the 7zip default LZMA compression method in about 8 minutes, and 60MB using 7zip PPMd compression method in less than two minutes! 7zips PPMd compression is awesome for text files and should have been used in the review.

    I am not worried about the ram use, it’s only used temporarily and that is what it’s there for. Archival media is permanent and costly so using less space is important.

  108. me {Thursday March 20, 2008 @ 4:18 am}

    don’t ever post this kind of stupidity under “Articles, Review, Software”, people read it. yeah, it’s article and about software, but not a review. <== follow and learn how to compare archivers.
    7-zip outdoes winrar in compression nowadays and tends to loose in speed. there are some minor tricks that 7-zip lacks comparing to winrar but sooner or later 7-zip will include them and outperform winrar even more.

    yeah, forgot to mention :)) 7-zip is free and it always will be. as well as it never stops to improve. + you can port it anywhere since it is open source.
    funny to hear from so called “Open Source is not for all” lamers about educational value of winrar over 7-zip, look for Richard Stallman lections in the internet and try to argue that))

    do you still think that winrar is really worth buying having 7-zip already?

  109. BLabla {Saturday March 29, 2008 @ 11:54 pm}

    Buy WINRAR and download 7zip. The hell. I use WinRAR when compressing, 7-zip when decompressing. I find the primitive look of 7-zip launches faster than WinRAR and since it is simple, so the interface is so easy. I never figured how to rebuild an iso chopped up into 2MB archives with WinRAR especially if the filenames have been ruffled up due to internet transfer protocols (filenames are sometimes changed — often with spaces turned to underscores) but with 7-zip it handles that type of decompression superbly and is bewilderingly confusing in its interface.

  110. BLabla {Sunday March 30, 2008 @ 12:01 am}


    is NOT bewilderingly confusing in its interface.

  111. Michael {Wednesday May 7, 2008 @ 9:23 pm}

    Very good article. Thanks for the good information.

  112. altran {Wednesday May 21, 2008 @ 8:20 pm}

    Great review, but nowadays you should try check the Multithreading option under in the General Settings tab. On the AM2 X2 platform (under WinXP SP2) leaving Multithreading checked (default) under options IS NOT a bit faster than when MT isn’t used it only occasionaly leaves some overhead from 2-20kB (maybe more) depending what kind of archiving you are doing MT and lots of folders and subfolders leaves the most overhead. The only thing you’ll nagging about when leaving MT unchecked “But my processor never hits 100%” … but does it really matters you get the same job done even better when you leave the OS to virtually use only one core.
    So is this a bug of WinRAR or a gain from Pacifica (virtualisation done underneath) of AMD processors??

  113. Erik {Monday June 9, 2008 @ 1:56 pm}

    I don’t really understand that you test compression with already compressed files, like video and installers. In general you don’t want to compress them, or just split them up for newsgroups or p2p programs.

    It makes more sense to me to compress a combination of different files. I personally go for 7zip, just because it’s free and it does a very good jop. I’m currently compressing 122GB of e-mail files at the ultra setting with LZMA, and it is probably gonna end up like 40GB. But it’s gonna take a whopping 25 hours on a quad core 2.33GHz, too bad only 2 cores (40%) are used.

  114. -=X_T00L_X=- {Saturday July 5, 2008 @ 1:45 am}

    your analysis of the software worries me hence not knowing what the 30 day limit was……it would allow you to compress files for 30 days without giving the person who unzips your file a nag about the software not being registered……very easy observation

  115. MARKUS {Saturday August 2, 2008 @ 7:56 pm}

    Like many said: compress with rar, decompress with 7… what’s the need for giving names to anybody… I thought we were here to learn something and help each other. I came here to learn about a program, not about self-egocentrics.

  116. geothermal heat pump {Sunday October 19, 2008 @ 11:22 am}

    I always used WinRar. I never liked those new brand unzipping software. I am now using winrar 3.5 on my vista and works perfectly.

  117. TechMata {Tuesday January 6, 2009 @ 12:07 pm}

    I have just made a simple test between 7-zip, winrar and winzip. ^_^

  118. CC {Saturday January 31, 2009 @ 5:23 pm}

    try Bitser ( to overcome 7z’s painful GUI

  119. 7z User {Wednesday April 22, 2009 @ 12:08 am}

    I guess trying to convince one camp to switch over to the other is pretty much moot. I’ve used both, and the only benefit I see in WinRAR is that you can “create” RAR files. While WinRAR can decompress 7z files, if you have AES-256 enabled on your archive, WinRAR will state that the file is corrupt (This is as of WinRAR 3.80) when it’s just not able to decompress the file.

    At the end of the day, I’m all about openness and freedom, and I applaud RARLabs for releasing the algorithm for RAR (even if it is under the unrar restriction). But for me, 7z wins.

  120. You damn kids. {Sunday June 21, 2009 @ 1:24 am}

    I Don’t understand the whole “winrar sucks because it costs money” first of all, don’t be a cheap ass. I pay twice the price for video games that I stop playing after a week, winrar will last far longer then that. And second, nobody is forcing you to buy it. You’ll just have a little “you need to buy this or remove it from your computer, or whatthefuckever it says” and you know that more than 50% of winrar users are the pirates creating archives for torrents so that message isn’t a big deal compared to the 40TB’s worth of pirated material you’re using it on.

    above all people only compress files to keep them neat or to be annoying (which is why you see music and movies in .rar’s) so the program really doesn’t even matter, I mean shit you could even use the “create new folder” button instead. but you’re going to be seeing mainly .rar’s on the net so get with the fucking times. We have 1TB hard drives for under $100 now, and when it comes to sending stuff over the net that 100MB you knocked off a 1GB files is only a 10min difference on an average connection and compressing or decompressing the file makes up for that time. So my conclusion is, Fuck compression.

  121. Coward {Friday June 26, 2009 @ 3:03 am}

    Weird review. You are compressing already compressed files to try to see which program compresses better? And your main complaint is memory usage? What do you think you do when you encode MP3 or MP4?

    Or what do you like to achieve with a compression tool?

    I compressed here a 298430KB tarball. WinRAR: 68489KB, 7-Zip: 64641KB.

  122. Bolo {Thursday July 23, 2009 @ 4:26 am}

    I stopped using winrar long time ago, it cost money and doesn’t always work properly as oppose to izarc which is free and do an excellent job.

  123. Ruined {Friday August 21, 2009 @ 9:21 am}

    Just wanted to let you know that I Appreciate the time and effort you put into this experiment, in a controlled environment no less. This has saved me, personally, from having to do it myself just to see.

    Thank you, and as always, WinRAR wins.

  124. Ruined {Friday August 21, 2009 @ 9:22 am}

    Edit: And as to Bolo and the others, winRAR doesnt FORCE you to pay to continue using it. You’re SUPPOSED to register it after X days, but in no way is it necessary to do so. Just thought I’d Mention it.

  125. Amy {Monday August 31, 2009 @ 2:39 pm}

    I understand the need for compression, but can I just ask if there is a free version? I’ve only ever used trial versions and I don’t like the idea of paying $25 just to unzip something.

  126. nick chan {Tuesday October 6, 2009 @ 2:25 am}

    ah, harddrive space is cheap now. why do i still use winrar? like the write said, to archive into a single file. in winrar I can choose compression level “Store”, which is zero compression. so ‘compression’ tools are still useful

  127. pc guy {Monday November 23, 2009 @ 11:23 pm}

    I found your results ver interesting so I did some more research and found this.
    I will be conducting some tests on my machine to see how they compare. It seems to me that the difference between the two is heavily based on the quality of computer.

  128. Endicott Lovell {Tuesday February 23, 2010 @ 9:14 am}

    When I archive my data compression is important to me, I would rather store a database in 50megs instead of 800megs. That said, data integrity is my most important concern. Winrar has the ability to include a recovery record to repair it’s archives. 7zip does not have a graceful way of recovering archives from damage. I have had to pull damaged rar archives off of old cd-rs, and I have never had a problem recovering archives that have a recovery record.

    In my test case my rar file with a recovery record was approximately 5% larger than the resulting 7z archive. $20 is well worth not having to recreate my dataset.

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