For years, 7-Zip has been one of our favorite Windows utilities. We recently looked at 7-Zip Portable, a fully portable version of the freeware file zipper. Like the installed version, it can compress and decompress files and folders in a variety of ways as well as open other file types such as TAR and RAR files. The portable version is small enough to take along with you on a USB drive, iPod, or other portable device. The chief difference with the installed version is the portable version can't be integrated into context menus in Windows.
We installed 7-Zip Portable on a USB drive, which only required about 6 MB of space. We clicked the program's executable, which opened the familiar 7-Zip interface, a plain but efficient layout distinguished by large, clearly labeled control icons and a main window with entries labeled Computer, Documents, Network, and a user-defined option. We opened the Options dialog and selected the Folders tab to designate a working folder (the default is the system temp folder). We could also make file associations, set various other program parameters, and designate a program to use as an Editor with 7-Zip. If you've never used 7-Zip, it's fast and flexible, but since you can't access it directly by right-clicking a file or folder and choosing 7-Zip, you have to open the program and browse to your target. However, that's hardly a major issue, and we were able to quickly compress and decompress files, email them, add them to archives, and perform any other function that the installed version of 7-Zip can manage. When we exited the program and removed the USB drive, 7-Zip Portable left no files, folders, or other traces behind.
As portable storage continue to grow, so too does the need for a powerful, flexible compression tool to handle larger and larger files. We've relied on 7-Zip since the days before Windows offered a built-in zip utility, and we're pleased that 7-Zip Portable lives up to the standard.
7-Zip Portable is the popular 7-Zip packaged as a portable app, so you can take your file archiver with you and work with your compressed 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, RAR files and more on the go. You can place it on your USB flash drive, iPod, portable hard drive or a CD and use it on any computer, without leaving any personal information behind.