How to Open .7z Files

by Tom Harrison in windows

.7z files are compressed archive files similar to zip files. They originate from the Windows archiving software 7-zip, and can be opened by both 7-Zip and a variety of third part software.

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How can I open a .7z file that I got in my e-mail?

About 7zip Files

7-Zip is archival software for Microsoft Windows. Archival software is able to compress and decompress data (such as one or more files) into one archive file that can easily be saved somewhere, or transmitted to someone else. The most common form of file archiving that you are probably familiar with is a .zip file. The idea behind a .7z file is the same as that which is behind a .zip file.

Get the 7-Zip Software

You will need to download and install the 7-Zip software in order to work with these types of files. I used the 32-bit .exe file, but if you know that you have a 64-bit system be sure to download the appropriate .msi installer.

Open a .7z File

Once the 7-Zip software is installed, it will add a helpful new option to your Windows 7 context menu.

  1. Right-click on a .7z file. The right-click context menu will appear.
  2. Click “7-Zip”.
  3. Choose one of the options for extracting the file.
Screenshot of the Windows context menu with options for 7zip
Screenshot of the Windows 7 context menu containing 7zip options.

I chose “Extract Here” to put the .7z archive’s contents in the same location as the original file – on my desktop – but you can also choose to extract it to a folder with the same name as the archive, or pick “Extract files…” for more options.

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