Zip files are a great and popular way of compressing data. Zip files can be found all over the place, like when you download files from the internet or perhaps as an email attachment. Windows has a built in utility called WinZip, allowing you to create and extract Zip files without having to download any excess software.
Zip files are great for a number of things, like sending a lot of files across at once. What is really great about them is that they reduce the total file size of all the files contained within the Zip. If you are running low on file space on your drive then you could use a Zip file to store data you don’t access often, thus freeing up the drive.
When it comes to backing up, it is possible to use Zip files in order to get the most amount of data possible onto the backup device. Buying backup media can be an expensive process, so getting the most out of the available space is nothing to be sniffed at.
One method to getting the best compression rates is to download a program called 7-Zip. This works much like WinZip, but has access to a variety of different archive formats. Importantly, it also allows you to select the compression level for your Zip files. While selecting a high compression level can increase the duration of the process, it can help save you those valuable megabytes.
7-Zip can also let you store one large file across multiple devices. For example, a CD can hold 700MB, but that is no good for a 1GB file. With 7-Zip you can split the file into volumes, across two CDs, and the program will piece together the data whenever you need to access it again later.
There are dedicated programs out there that specialise in creating backups using Zip files. One of these is called FBackup. This program allows you to specify where you want the backup stored, which files you want backed up and when you want the backup ran. Additionally, if you do not want it to use Zip files then you can create an exact mirror copy.
The program uses ZIP64 compression, meaning that it can create Zip files over 2GB in size. It will also allow you to password protect your files and best of all it is free. In a review of FBackup, CNET said that it is very user friendly and produces high quality backups.
Another similar program is called ZipBackup, which does a similar job. However, the downside here is that the program does cost $29.95.
Zip files are a popular method to use in backups because of their instant compatibility with all Windows systems. You can send the Zip files from system to system and each one will instantly be able to extract it and explore the contents inside. However, bear in mind that this only works for standard Zip files – if you use a different archive format then a third party program, like 7-Zip, will be required.
Using Zip Files in your Backups
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