Great Compression Solution!

very good
key review info
application features
  • AES-256 encryption
  • (4 more, see all...)

The archiving solutions that we all have nowadays are good enough so that no one can complain. The good part is that it's not just one program that monopolizes the market, but there are several good ones that you can freely choose from.

Giving these terms, it's hard for a new comer to compete with all the veterans, unless it can compress files to a size as small as a worm-whole.

Extra small, please!

I might just have found such an application, and its name is KGB Archiver. Don't be fooled by its name, as it is not the old soviet intelligence agency. But it might just prove to be as extreme as KGB used to be.

When reading about the minimal requirements for this program, I was a little surprised: 256 Mb RAM and 1.5 GHz processor for an archiving program that has an installation kit of 1.02 MB?

The program claims to dramatically compress your files, better than any software that's been released so far.

When running it you get a simple main screen that gives you three options: compress, decompress an archive, or customize options.

Compressing

When compressing you have two output formats to choose from: KGB and ZIP. The compression level for KGB archives is quite impressive. Surely, it depends on the type of file that you're compressing. For instance, should you try to compress a bitmap image, you will get a good result, but when compressing a JPG or a similar compressed image format you won't be able to do much more.

There are 10 levels of compression that you can select: minimal, very weak, weak, normal, medium, above medium, good, very good, extreme and maximum. This is a wider variety than what all the other related programs have to offer.

When working with compression levels up to the Good one, you will pretty much get the same result as you would with any other archiving application. But, when you land in the next category (very good, extreme and maximum) things do change dramatically.

First of all, the producer gives you an estimate memory consumption that each mode takes, and Very good supposedly takes up 400MB. This provides a good compression level, better than what I've seen in all the other programs. If you're working with files greater than 1Mb, you will have to wait quite some time for the operation to be completed.

If you switch to the extreme mode, then the compression level will rise up to the name. But, in order for your whole system not to stumble in an idle state for hours, you would have to load your computer with tons of Ram memory. Even though my system's configuration was beyond the requirements for this mode, I still had to wait for twenty minutes with no result: the progress was zero, and the remaining time kept rising and rising.

When I've tried using the maximum level of compression, I received an error message saying that the memory I have installed onto my system is not enough for the program to be able to run properly.

If you should choose the ZIP output format for your archive, just as the producer informs you, the memory usage is very small (about 10 MB) and regardless of the mode that you select, compressing files is done instantly. Nevertheless, the compression rate is not as good as it is for KGB files.

Creating self extracting archives is possible too with KGB, and if you should choose the ZIP output format you can also span your archive into multiple segments.

Decompressing

If you've selected the decompress option from the main screen, you will get a simple window where you can select your source archive, the destination of your extracted files, and a file list area that contains all the files in your archive.

You can have individual files extracted from the archive, or extract all the contents.

Also, on the bottom portion of the window you get the archive's status, allowing you to view its size, and the size after decompression.

What I don't like about the program is the fact that the interface doesn't organize all the functions logically, but by the type of operation that you want to perform.

It has a wizard look, and once you've selected one of the three options from the main screen, there's no turning back. Your only option to go back to a previous step is by closing the program and running it again.

The Good

The program definitely deserves its credit for the compression level. Also, the featured AES-256 encryption makes your archives not only small in size, but also secure (it allows you to protect your archives with a password too). You can also easily compress files right from Windows Explorer, since the application is integrated in the context menu.

The Bad

If you're planning on compressing larger files using the Very good (or higher) level, you will have to wait some time until the operation completes. The system resources needed for the program to run are high, and if you want both good compression and fast functionality, you must perform considerable upgrades on your computer.

The Truth

Using the higher compression levels slows down your system and it's faster to burn an entire DVD at 1x than archiving 1Mb with the maximum compression level. But for all compression levels under "very good" (including it) this is the best program I've used so far. It's also free, so give it a try and see for yourself.

Check out the screenshots below to get a glance at the program in action:



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user interface 3
features 4
ease of use 3
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 
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