Among the various free alternatives that anyone looking for a fast and versatile file compression and archive manager tool should try, B1 Free Archiver is certainly one of the first options on the list. This open-source utility comes with its own archive format – B1 – and is capable of browsing, repacking, and extracting nearly all well-known compression formats (such as RAR, ZIP, ARJ, and 7Z) and of creating new B1 and ZIP archive files.
B1 offers an excellent compression ratio when compared not only with other free tools (such as PeaZip or 7-Zip) but also with some of the big commercial packages, such as WinZip and WinRAR. Note that when working with B1 at high compression ratios, though, you may notice a higher resource consumption that increases with the size of the file being processed. But it is in the speed department that this excellent tool gets a bit left behind – both in compression and extraction speeds there’s room for improvement. The differences, however, are negligible in most cases, and occasional users (most users, actually) will only notice that this is a tool that delivers what it promises with a high standard of quality.
A B1 archive uses a unique open-format algorithm that, in many ways, is superior to both the LZR (ZIP) and LZMA (7-Zip) algorithms. It produces excellent results, and B1 Free Archiver has been built around it to provide users with a multi-platform solution that not only can be used as an efficient archive manager but also as a substitute of your everyday file manager. B1 Free Archiver works seamlessly with all the most common file compression formats (ZIP, ARJ, JAR, RAR, 7Z, TGZ, ISO, DMG, TAR, etc.), including split files and password-protected archives. The program’s interface reflects that taste for simplicity and efficiency that has made B1 famous. The entire program’s main functionality is there at plain sight in just three buttons – Create, Open, and Extract. The Commands menu option includes other few excellent features, such as the archive checker, but the program has decided to give preeminence to the things you usually do when you open your archive manager.
B1 Free Archiver evolves into a better, more comprehensive, faster, and more effective file compression tool with every new version. It is open source, therefore completely free and in constant evolution, and much nicer to look at and simpler to work with than most other similar tools, free or not.