The Extractor review

Open ZIP and RAR archives with this super-fast freeware.

The Extractor brings ZIP and RAR compatibility, extraction of password-protected files, and support for spanned archives to the crowded field of free compression tools. Version 2 of Simply Free Software's tool is easy to use, thanks to drag-and-drop and context menu integration with Windows.

The Extractor's setup wizard let us associate ZIP and RAR files with the program. We declined the ZIP option but chose to make The Extractor our default app for RAR archives since we mostly want to be able to open RAR files without buying more software. The Extractor's user interface sports large, colorful buttons in its toolbar. The layout is basic; just toolbar, file view, and message/data panel. But the entire GUI is customizable in the General Options, which also accesses Passwords, Presets, Reports, and more. The toolbar's "Folder Options" button let us keep or discard covers, subtitles, and other features. Numerous "Help" buttons opened a comprehensive user manual.

We started by adding a RAR file to The Extractor's queue. We could extract the data to the same folder or a new destination, as well as check Test, Preset, and Cleanup options. The job finished nearly instantaneously, with the task log appearing in the bottom panel as soon as we pressed the big, green "Start" button. For extracting ZIP and RAR files, The Extractor is a fast mover.

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