ZIP, TAR and 7-ZIP: the Windows file explorer takes a thorough look at data compression

Written by Guillaume
Publication date: {{ dayjs(1718035214*1000).local().format("L").toString()}}
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Microsoft is gearing up for a minor revolution in File Explorer, an essential module of Windows 11.

At the Build 2024 conference held a few days ago, Microsoft logically highlighted its software solutions and, of course, the Windows operating system figured prominently. In its "11" version, Microsoft's OS is about to undergo major changes with the release of the 24H2 update by the end of the year. This update will change many aspects of Windows, in particular the file explorer, which will be more finely tuned and richer.

There are still many grey areas surrounding the overhaul of this Windows module, but Microsoft clearly intends to boost all data compression-related functionalities. Up until now - and this has been the case for quite a few years now - file compression via Windows has inevitably involved the ZIP archive format. A widely-used format, but one that nevertheless suffers in comparison with more modern solutions. Long criticized for its inertia, Microsoft seems to have decided to react with, last year, support for RAR in addition to ZIP. Today, it is going one step further with two other very popular formats: TAR and 7-ZIP. Of course, alongside the creation of such archives, it will be possible to decompress them via the same interface as RAR/ZIP today. Simplicity and integration are the order of the day.

From the point of view of the Windows user, the integration of this functionality is interesting. On the other hand, it logically raises the question of the survival of applications specifically dedicated to handling TAR and 7-ZIP archives. Since Windows 11 will be able to handle these files, why bother installing an additional application? Last year, WinRAR was dealt a similar blow with support for the RAR archive format. Will 7-ZIP face similar competition?