I wish this tool existed in the real world.  I have several places I’d like to use it.

I’m talking about 7-zip, the compression tool.  It works on data, not so well on boxes of books or CD jewel boxes.

But boy, does it work on data!  The concept of compressing files has been around for a long time.  The zip format has been around since 1989, so it is fairly mature.  But as in any industry, there’s always someone else who wants to be king of the hill.  Zip programs are a dime a dozen (see PKZip, WinZip, NanoZip, and ZipGenius) although some aren’t free.  Windows even handles zip files nowadays.

7-zip raised the bar on the compression game by introducing the 7z compression scheme.  This uses something that I consider to be magic, although magic doesn’t exist.  The file sizes are incredibly small, and beat the zip format by a good amount.

The original text file is Windows 7’s hardware compatibility list.  The other files are self-explanatory.  Note that the 7z is about one-third smaller than the Windows flavor, and only about eleven percent of the original file size.

Don’t expect this amount of compression on everything.  MP3s and JPGs are already compressed, so won’t gain a lot by compression attempts.  But if you have a lot of text files (including XML and program source files) or even some binaries, you owe it to your hard drive to check out 7-zip.