Windows includes a built-in compression and zipping utility. So you don’t need a third party program to open Zip files in Windows. But unfortunately, the built-in utility is very much limited in functionality.
If you deal with zip files online and want to extract files without actually downloading the zip file, you can easily do so by using some utilities discussed below.
Wobzip was a popular unzipping and extraction utility which didn’t need any installation. But it was focused on unzipping the files online without downloading. Just give the URL of the Zip file and it’ll automatically extract its contents for you. Unfortunately Wobzip has been shut down.
EzyZip is another service which can extract files online. You don’t need to have a separate compression software installed now. Just go to Ezyzip.com, select the file and destination and zip or unzip an archive.
A limitation of EzyZip is that it can not extract files directly from online sources. The archive file to be extracted needs to be locally downloaded before being extracted. EzyZip needs Java to be installed in order to work.
One advantage of EzyZip is that it does not upload the actual file that is being zipped. All the process is done locally on the computer making it faster than other alternatives.
If you are looking for a utility which can extract and unzip files directly from remote locations online, then you will need to use re7zip. re7zip is an advanced utility created in Java which can extract almost any kind of archive without downloading the actual zip file.
The list of supported formats include 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP, WIM, ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR and Z.
Unfortunately re7zip is not easy to use. It comes as a command line utility and needs a Java compiler every time it’s run. You will need to download re7zip to a folder and run it through command prompt. A typical remote file execution will look like this:
java -jar re7zip.jar /t=iso /a=http://test.com/test.iso /e=somefile.txt /o=file.txt
For complete usage instructions, visit re7zip page.
I personally use WinRAR for local archiving needs and re7zip for extracting selective files from the Internet. Which compression utility do you use?