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File Compression: Zips, Rars, And More

Aug 18, 2007
File compression is used to make sure that a file or data is smaller than it is when in its true form. It is also known as data compression or source coding. The purpose of file compression is to make a file smaller by reducing its amount of bits. When a file is archived, you can store many types of files or data as one file. This is also an important aspect of file compression. One type of file compression format that also acts as an archive is Zip.

The Zip file format allows the user to compress multiple files and store them in one single file format. The finished file is smaller than the files were in their original state and allow for several files to be compressed and stored together. This offers many benefits, especially when sending large files from one computer to another. The first zip program was called PKZIP, but today there are many other programs that are used for file compression and source encoding. Some of the most popular programs include Win Zip, Win RAR, TUGZip, and Info-Zip. You can easily identify a zip file because the extension will say .zip.

Along with the Zip format, there is another format that is very popular for use in data compression. It is the RAR file format. The RAR format is used for data and file compression as well as for archiving. The format derives its name from its founder, Eugene Roshal and RAR stands for Roshal Archive. You can identify RAR files by the .rar extension.

With any type of file compression, as with encrypted files, both the sender and receiver must have access to the same program so that the file may be properly decoded and viewed.

File compression has many benefits as well as a few drawbacks. First, it is a great way to reduce the size of large files that are going to be transmitted across the Internet. Since large files can use a large amount of bandwidth it is cost effective to use file compression and reduce the size of files before sending them. Also, many of the programs that are used for both .zip and .rar files may be downloaded and used freely. Some of the drawbacks include using special programs for compressing large videos and the amount of decompression that must take place to ensure that a video has been actually compressed properly can detract from the finished quality of the video.
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