There are many choices when it comes to file-compression tools, but sometimes you simply want to extract some files as quickly as possible. ExtractNow fits the spec. It's compact, portable, and free. You can drag and drop files or batches of files into it, select several options from the context menu in Explorer, or add files and folders by browsing. It offers post-extraction operations, passwords, file monitoring, and external processing.
As portable freeware, ExtractNow can run from just about any folder, drive, or destination without having to be installed. Its compact interface lists files by name, status, and progress (with a green bar graph) and three buttons: Settings, Clear, and Extract. The Settings dialog is also small, but it has so many tabs that some are hidden. In addition to the usual options, we could select a wide range of post-extraction operations like Delete archives and Close program. Under Explorer, we enabled the program's Context menu options, and also selected from 12 file types to associate with ExtractNow, including the major archive types. The Drag and Drop tab offered filtering options, and we could set directories for the program to automatically monitor for archive files. The helpful, Web-based Help file opens from the Settings sheet, too.
We extracted a variety of single and multiple file archives by dragging them into ExtractNow, right-clicking them and selecting the appropriate ExtractNow function from the context menu, and by right-clicking the program's main field and selecting Add Archive. By default, ExtractNow extracts files to the source directory, though we could specify any directory as well as append extracted files with archive names, folder names, and folder structures. It works fast, too. Of course, ExtractNow can't take the place of a full-featured compression utility, but if you like the sound of a fast, lightweight tool that can extract files quickly and with minimal fuss without sacrificing flexibility and options, give it a try.