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List of archive formats

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This is a list of file formats used by archivers and compressors used to create archive files.

Archiving only[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Platform[4] Description
.a, .ar application/x-archive Unix Archiver Unix-like The traditional archive format on Unix-like systems, now used mainly for the creation of static libraries.
.cpio application/x-cpio cpio Unix-like RPM files consist of metadata concatenated with (usually) a cpio archive. Newer RPM systems also support other archives, as cpio is becoming obsolete. cpio is also used with initramfs.
.shar application/x-shar Shell archive Unix-like A self-extracting archive that uses the Bourne shell (sh).


A system for storing multiple files. LBR archives typically contained files processed by SQ, or the archive itself was compressed with SQ. LBR archives that were compressed with SQ ended with the extension .LQR
.iso application/x-iso9660-image ISO-9660 image (Various; cross platform) An archive format originally used mainly for archiving and distribution of the exact, nearly-exact, or custom-modified contents of an optical storage medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. However, it can be used to archive the contents of other storage media, selected partitions, folders, and/or files. The resulting archive is typically optimized for convenient rendering to (re-)writable CD or DVD media.
.lbr Commodore 64/128 A library format used primarily on the Commodore 64 and 128 lines of computers. This bears no resemblance to the DOS LBR format. While library files were quick to implement (a number of programs exist to work with them) they are crippled in that they cannot grow with use: once a file has been created it cannot be amended (files added, changed or deleted) without recreating the entire file.
.mar Mozilla ARchive (Various; cross platform) An archive format used by Mozilla for storing binary diffs. Used in conjunction with bzip2.
.sbx application/x-sbx SeqBox (Various; cross platform) A single file container/archive that can be reconstructed even after total loss of file system structures.
.tar application/x-tar Tape archive Unix-like A common archive format used on Unix-like systems. Generally used in conjunction with compressors such as gzip, bzip2, compress or xz to create .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.Z or tar.xz files.

Compression only[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Platform[4] Description
.br application/x-brotli Brotli all Brotli is a compression algorithm developed by Google for textual web content, and typically achieves higher compression ratios than other algorithms for this use case.
.bz2 application/x-bzip2 bzip2 Unix-like An open source, patent- and royalty-free compression format. The compression algorithm is a Burrows–Wheeler transform followed by a move-to-front transform and finally Huffman coding.
.F, .?XF[5] Freeze/melt [1] QNX4, Unix-like and DOS Old compressor for QNX4 OS. The compression algorithm is a modified LZSS, with an adaptive Huffman coding.
.genozip application/vnd.genozip genozip Linux, macOS, Windows Genozip, a compressor for genomic file formats such as FASTQ, BAM, VCF and others.[6]
.gz application/gzip[7] gzip Unix-like GNU Zip, the primary compression format used by Unix-like systems. The compression algorithm is Deflate, which combines LZSS with Huffman coding.
.lz application/x-lzip lzip Unix-like An alternate LZMA algorithm implementation, with support for checksums and ident bytes.
.lz4 LZ4 Unix-like Algorithm developed by Yann Collet, designed for very high (de)compression speeds. It is an LZ77 derivative, without entropy encoding.
.lzma application/x-lzma lzma Unix-like The LZMA compression algorithm as used by 7-Zip.
.lzo application/x-lzop lzop Unix-like An implementation of the LZO data compression algorithm.
.rz rzip Unix-like A compression program designed to do particularly well on very large files containing long distance redundancy.
.sfark sfArk Windows compress/decompress- Linux and macOS decompress only A compression program designed to do high compression on SF2 files (SoundFont).
.sz application/x-snappy-framed Snappy Unix-like A compression format developed by Google, and open-sourced in 2011. Snappy aims for very high speeds, reasonable compression, and maximum stability rather than maximum compression or compatibility with any other compression library. It is an LZ77 derivative, without entropy encoding.
.?Q? SQ CP/M and DOS Squeeze: A program which compressed files using Huffman coding. A file which was "squeezed" had the middle initial of the name changed to "Q", so that a squeezed text file would end with .TQT, a squeezed executable would end with .CQM or .EQE. Typically used with .LBR archives, either by storing the squeezed files in the archive, or by storing the files decompressed and then compressing the archive, which would have a name ending in ".LQR".
.?Z? CRUNCH CP/M and DOS A compression program written by Steven Greenberg implementing the LZW algorithm. For several years in the CP/M world when no implementation was available of ARC, CRUNCHed files stored in .LBR archives were very popular. CRUNCH's implementation of LZW had a somewhat unusual feature of modifying and occasionally clearing the code table in memory when it became full, resulting in a few percent better compression on many files.
.xz application/x-xz xz Unix-like A compression format using LZMA2 to yield high compression ratios. The LZMA algorithm is an LZ77 derivative, with entropy encoding in the form of range encoding.
.z application/x-compress pack Unix-like The traditional Huffman coding compression format.
.Z application/x-compress compress Unix-like The traditional LZW compression format.
.zst application/zstd Zstandard Cross-platform Algorithm developed by Yann Collet at Facebook, combining high speed and high compression. It is an LZ77 derivative, with entropy encoding in the form of finite-state entropy and Huffman coding.
.??_ MS-DOS/Windows Compression format(s) used by some DOS and Windows install programs. MS-DOS includes expand.exe to decompress its install files. The compressed files are created with a matching compress.exe command. The compression algorithm is LZSS.

Archiving and compression[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Creation platform[4] Restoration platform[8] Restorable with free software[9] Description
.7z application/x-7z-compressed 7z Multiple Multiple Yes Open source file format. Used by 7-Zip.
.s7z application/x-7z-compressed 7zX macOS macOS, restoration on different platforms is possible although not immediate Yes Based on 7z. Preserves Spotlight metadata, resource forks, owner/group information, dates and other data which would be otherwise lost with compression.

Made obsolete by the introduction of AppleDouble-encoded 7z archives (Macintosh only).

.aar application/octet-stream Apple Archive macOS macOS No Created by Apple introduced with iOS 14 in 2020.
.ace application/x-ace-compressed ACE Windows Multiple Yes Proprietary format
.afa application/x-astrotite-afa AFA UNIX-like UNIX-like No A format that compresses and doubly encrypt the data (AES256 and CAS256) avoiding brute force attacks, also hide files in an AFA file. It has two ways to safeguard data integrity and subsequent repair of the file if has an error (repair with AstroA2P (online) or Astrotite (offline)).
.alz application/x-alz-compressed ALZip Windows Multiple Yes A mainly Korean format designed for very large archives.
.apk application/vnd.android.package-archive APK Multiple Multiple Yes Android application package (variant of JAR file format).
.arc, .ark application/octet-stream ARC Multiple Multiple Yes Very popular in the early days of BBSes, one of the first to offer compression and archiving in a single program. Largely replaced by PKZIP.
.arc, .cdx application/x-freearc FreeArc Windows, Linux Windows, Linux Yes Open source file format developed by Bulat Ziganshin. A "FreeArc Next" version is under development which includes Zstandard support.
.arj application/x-arj ARJ Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes Competitor to PKZIP in the 1990s, offered better multi-part archive handling.
.b1 application/x-b1 B1 Multiple Multiple Yes Open archive format, used by B1 Free Archiver (http://dev.b1.org/standard/archive-format.html)
.b6z B6Z macOS Multiple Yes Compressed archive format B6Zip
.ba Scifer Multiple Multiple Yes Binary Archive with external header
.bh BlakHole Yes Proprietary format from the ZipTV Compression Components
.cab application/vnd.ms-cab-compressed Cabinet Windows Multiple Yes The Microsoft Windows native archive format, which is also used by many commercial installers such as WISE.
.car Compressia archive Originally DOS, now DOS and Windows Originally DOS, now DOS and Windows Yes Created by Yaakov Gringeler; released last in 2003 (Compressia beta), now apparently defunct. Free trial of 30 days lets user create and extract archives; after that it is possible to extract, but not to create.
.cfs application/x-cfs-compressed Compact File Set Windows, Unix-like including macOS Multiple Yes Open source file format.
.cpt Compact Pro Classic Mac OS Multiple Yes Compact Pro archive, a common archiver used on Mac platforms until about Mac OS 7.5.x. Competed with StuffIt; now obsolete.
.dar application/x-dar Disk Archiver Unix-like including macOS Unix-like including macOS, Windows Yes Open source file format. Files are compressed individually with either gzip, bzip2 or lzo.
.dd DiskDoubler Classic Mac OS Obsolete
.dgc application/x-dgc-compressed DGCA Windows Windows
.dmg application/x-apple-diskimage Apple Disk Image macOS macOS, Windows, Linux Yes Supports "Internet-enabled" disk images, which, once downloaded, are automatically decompressed, mounted, have the contents extracted, and thrown away. Currently, Safari is the only browser that supports this form of extraction; however, the images can be manually extracted as well. This format can also be password-protected or encrypted with 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption.
.ear EAR Multiple Multiple Yes Enterprise Java Archive archive
.gca application/x-gca-compressed GCA The predecessor of DGCA.
.genozip Genozip Linux, macOS, Windows Linux, macOS, Windows No Optimized for (but not limited to) genomic file types such as FASTQ, BAM, VCF
.ha [2] Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes, but may be covered by patents DOS era format; uses arithmetic/Markov coding
.hki WinHKI Archived 2006-12-05 at the Wayback Machine MS Windows MS Windows No HKI
.ice ICE Windows Windows Yes Produced by ICEOWS program. Excels at text file compression.
.jar application/java-archive JAR Multiple Multiple Yes Java archive, compatible with ZIP files
.kgb KGB Archiver Multiple Multiple Yes Open sourced archiver with compression using the PAQ family of algorithms and optional encryption.
.lzh, .lha application/x-lzh LHA Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes The standard format on Amiga.
.lzx application/x-lzx LZX Amiga Archiver originally used on The Amiga. Now copied by Microsoft to use in their .cab and .chm files.
.pak PAK HP NonStop HP NonStop Yes[10] file format from NoGate Consultings, a rival from ARC-Compressor.

.pak was also briefly used by the short lived MSDOS PKPAK program.

.partimg PartImage Multiple Multiple Yes A disk image archive format that supports several compression methods as well as splitting the archive into smaller pieces.
.paq6, .paq7, .paq8 and variants PAQ Unix-like and Windows Unix-like and Windows Yes An experimental open source packager (http://mattmahoney.net/dc)
.pea PeaZip Linux and Windows Linux and Windows Yes Open source archiver supporting authenticated encryption, cascaded encryption, volume spanning, customizable object level and volume level integrity checks (form CRCs to SHA-512 and Whirlpool hashes), fast deflate based compression
.phar PHAR Multiple Multiple Yes A package format to enable distribution of applications and libraries by bundling many PHP code files and other resources (e.g. images, stylesheets, etc.) into a single archive file
.pim PIM Windows Windows Yes The format from the PIM - a freeware compression tool by Ilia Muraviev. It uses an LZP-based compression algorithm with set of filters for executable, image and audio files.
.pit PackIt Classic Mac OS obsolete
.qda Quadruple D Windows Windows Used for data in games written using the Quadruple D library for Delphi. Uses byte pair compression.
.rar application/x-rar-compressed RAR Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes A popular proprietary archive format.
.rk RK and WinRK [3] Multiple Multiple No The format from a commercial archiving package. Odd among commercial packages in that they focus on incorporating experimental algorithms with the highest possible compression (at the expense of speed and memory), such as PAQ, PPMD and PPMZ (PPMD with unlimited-length strings), as well as a proprietary algorithms.
.sda Self Dissolving ARChive Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Yes SDAs refer to Self Dissolving ARC files, and are based on the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 versions of ARC, originally written by Chris Smeets. While the files share the same extension, they are not compatible between platforms. That is, an SDA created on a Commodore 64 but run on a Commodore 128 in Commodore 128 mode will crash the machine, and vice versa. The intended successor to SDA is SFX.
.sea Self Extracting Archive Classic Mac OS Classic Mac OS (implicitly) A pre-Mac OS X Self-Extracting Archive format. StuffIt, Compact Pro, Disk Doubler and others could create .sea files, though the StuffIt versions were the most common.
.sen Scifer Multiple Multiple Yes Scifer Archive with internal header
.sfx Self Extracting Archive Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Yes SFX is a Self Extracting Archive which uses the LHArc compression algorithm. It was originally developed by Chris Smeets on the Commodore platform, and runs primarily using the CS-DOS extension for the Commodore 128. Unlike its predecessor SDA, SFX files will run on both the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 regardless of which machine they were created on.
.shk NuFX Originally Apple II, now multiple Multiple Yes An archive format designed for the Apple II series of computers. The canonical implementation is ShrinkIt, which can operate on disk images as well as files. Preferred compression algorithm is a combination of RLE and 12-bit LZW. Archives can be manipulated with the command-line NuLib tool, or the Windows-based CiderPress.
.sit application/x-stuffit StuffIt Originally Classic Mac OS, now multiple Originally Classic Mac OS, now multiple Yes A compression format common on Apple Macintosh computers. The free StuffIt Expander is available for Windows and macOS.
.sitx application/x-stuffitx StuffIt X Multiple Multiple Yes The replacement for the .sit format that supports more compression methods, UNIX file permissions, long file names, very large files, more encryption options, data specific compressors (JPEG, Zip, PDF, 24-bit image, MP3). The free StuffIt Expander is available for Windows and OS X.
.sqx SQX Windows Windows Yes A royalty-free compressing format
.tar.gz, .tgz, .tar.Z, .tar.bz2,
.tbz2, .tar.lz, .tlz, .tar.xz, .txz, .tar.zst
application/x-gtar tar with gzip, compress, bzip2, lzip, xz, or zstd Multiple Multiple Yes The "tarball" format combines tar archives with a file-based compression scheme (usually gzip). Commonly used for source and binary distribution on Unix-like platforms, widely available elsewhere. Xarchiver supports the .tar.zst Archive/Compression format on Unix-like platforms.
.uc .uc0 .uc2 .ucn .ur2 .ue2 UltraCompressor II DOS DOS UltraCompressor 2.3 was developed to act as an alternative to the then popular PKZIP application. The main feature of the application is its ability to create large archives. This means that compressed archives with the UC2 file extension can hold almost 1 million files.
.uca PerfectCompress[11] Windows Windows No Based on PAQ, RZM, CSC, CCM, and 7zip. The format consists of a PAQ, RZM, CSC, or CCM compressed file and a manifest with compression settings stored in a 7z archive.
.uha UHarc DOS/Windows DOS/Windows Yes A high compression rate archive format originally for DOS.
.war WAR Multiple Multiple Yes Web Application archive (Java-based web app)
.wim application/x-ms-wim Windows Image Windows Windows Yes File-based disk image format developed to deploy Microsoft Windows.
.xar application/x-xar XAR Multiple Multiple Yes
.xp3 KiriKiri Windows Windows Yes Native format of the Open Source KiriKiri Visual Novel engine. Uses combination of block splitting and zlib compression. The filenames and pathes are stored in UTF-16 format. For integrity check, the Adler-32 hashsum is used. For many commercial games, the files are encrypted (and decoded on runtime) via so-called "cxdec" module, which implements xor-based encryption.
.yz1 YZ1 Windows, DOS, Linux Windows, DOS, Linux Yes Yamazaki zipper archive. Compression format used in DeepFreezer archiver utility created by Yamazaki Satoshi. Read and write support exists in TUGZip, IZArc and ZipZag
.zip, .zipx application/zip ZIP Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes The most widely used compression format on Microsoft Windows. Commonly used on Macintosh and Unix systems as well.
.zoo application/x-zoo zoo Multiple Multiple Yes
.zpaq ZPAQ Multiple Multiple Yes Journaling (append-only) archive format with rollback capability. Supports deduplication and incremental update based on last-modified dates. Multi-threaded. Compresses in LZ77, BWT, and context mixing formats. Open source.
.zz Zzip Multiple Multiple Yes Archiver with a compression algorithm based on the Burrows–Wheeler transform method.

Data recovery[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Platform[4] Description
.ecc dvdisaster error-correction file Multiple File format used by dvdisaster to be used for data recovery when discs become damaged or partially unreadable.
.ecsbx Error-correcting SeqBox Multiple Archive with forward error correction and sector level recoverability. Error-correcting version of SeqBox.
application/x-par2 Parchive file Multiple File format used in conjunction with any archive format to provide error correction and file recovery, most often in newsgroup distribution of binary files.
.rev WinRAR recovery volume Multiple File format used with WinRAR rar volumes. The data recovery is error correction data which is provided in the form of open recovery records and/or recovery volumes, allowing reconstruction of good archives (including reconstruction of entirely volumes)


Containers and compression[edit]

Format Filename
Introduced in Based on Compression Integrity check Recovery record Encryption supported Unicode filenames Modification date resolution Pre-processing License
Archive (ar) .a, .ar CSRG 1971 Original No No No No No 1 s ? ?
cpio .cpio Bell Labs 1983 Unix System V ? No Partial, select formats only No No No 1 s No ?
Shell Archive (shar and makeself) .shar, .run James Gosling, Alan Hewett 1994 4.4BSD Original No Yes, commonly MD5 Partial Partial Partial arbitrary (typically 1 s) No Public domain (shar 1.x - 3.x),
GPL (shar 4.x)
Tape Archive (tar) .tar Bell Labs 1975 Version 6 Unix ? No Partial, metadata only. Full integrity providable by filters such as gzip. No No Optional1 1 s No ?
Extended TAR format (pax) .tar OpenGroup 2001 Sun proposal + TAR No metadata No No Yes arbitrary (typically 1 ns) No ?
BagIt The Library of Congress 2007 file system No Yes No No Yes No ? ?
7z .7z Igor Pavlov 2000 LZMA, LZMA2, Bzip2, PPMd, Deflate Yes Yes,
No Yes,
Yes 100 ns[12] Yes LGPL, Public domain
ACE .ace Marcel Lemke 1998[13] LZ77 Yes Yes Yes Yes, Blowfish Yes 2s ? Proprietary software
AFA .afa Vicente Sánchez-Alarcos 2009 Original Yes Yes Yes Yes, AES and CAST Yes ? ? ?
ARC .arc Thom Henderson (SEA) 1985 ? Yes CRC16 No weak XOR only No 2s No ?
ARJ .arj Robert Jung 1991 AR001 and AR002 Yes Yes Yes weak XOR with initial constant No ? ? Proprietary software
B1 .b1 Catalina Group Ltd 2011 LZMA Yes Yes No Yes, AES Yes ? ? ?
Cabinet .cab Microsoft 1992 Windows 3.1 Deflate Yes Optional PKCS7 Authenticode signature No Optional (with SDK) Yes 2 s ? ?
Compact File Set .cfs Joe Lowe (Pismo Technic Inc.) 2008 ZIP/LZMA Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? Free software
Compact Pro .cpt Bill Goodman 1990 (as "Compactor") Original Yes Yes No Yes ? ? ? Proprietary software
Disk Archive (DAR) .dar Denis Corbin 2002 Original Yes Yes Yes2 Yes Yes 1 μs Yes GPLv2
DGCA .dgc Shin-ichi Tsuruta 2001 GCA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ?
FreeArc .arc Bulat Ziganshin 2006 LZMA, PPMd, TTA Yes Yes Yes Yes, AES, Blowfish, Twofish and Serpent Yes ? ? GPLv2
LHA (also LZH) .lzh, .lha Haruyasu Yoshizaki 1988 Frozen Yes Only on recent LHA releases No No No 1–2 s ? ?
LZX .lzx Jonathan Forbes and Tomi Poutanen 1995 LZ77 Yes Only on recent LZX releases ? ? ? ? ? ?
ISO image .iso, .img, .ima ISO 9660 1988 High Sierra Format No ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Spark .arc David Pilling 1989 ARC Yes CRC16 No weak XOR only No 1 cs No CDDL 1.0[14]
WinMount format .mou ? 2007 ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Proprietary software
Macintosh Disk Image .dmg Apple Computer 2001 Mac OS X Original Yes Yes ? Yes ? ? ? ?
Partition Image (PartImage) .partimg François Dupoux and Franck Ladurelle 2000 ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? GPLv2
PAQ Family (Several formats)4 .paq#*, .lpaq#* Matt Mahoney 2002–2006 Original Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
PEA .pea Giorgio Tani 2006 Original, Deflate based compression Yes Yes Adler32, CRC32, CRC64, MD5, SHA1, RIPEMD-160, SHA256, SHA512, Whirlpool No Yes Authenticated Encryption, AES128 and AES256 in EAX mode Yes system dependent Yes arbitrary ? Public domain
PIM .pim Ilia Muraviev 2004–2008 Original Yes Yes No No Yes No ? ?
Quadruple D .qda Taku Hayase (aka sandman) 1997 ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
RAR .rar Eugene Roshal 1993 Original Yes Yes,
AES-256 for RAR 5.0 archives
2 s, 1 s, 6.5536 ms, 25.6 μs or 100 ns3 Dropped Proprietary software
RK .rk M Software, Ltd. 2004 Original Yes Yes No Yes, AES, Square, Twofish Yes 1 s ? ?
NuFX .shk Andy Nicholas 1989 Original Yes CRC16 No No No 1 s ? ?
StuffIt (also SIT) .sit Raymond Lau 1987 ? Yes ? ? Yes ? ? ? Proprietary software
StuffIt X (also SITx) .sitx Aladdin/Allume Systems 2002 ? Yes ? Optional Yes, RC4,Blowfish,
Yes ? ? Proprietary software
UltraCompressor II .uc .uc0 .uc2
.ucn .ur2 .ue2
Nico de Vries 1992–1996 LZ77 and Huffman coding Yes Yes Yes Yes, triple DES ? ? ? ?
Windows Image .wim, .swm, .esd Microsoft 2006 Original Yes Yes No Partial5 Yes 100 ns ? ?
ZIP .zip Phil Katz 1989 Deflate Yes Yes No Yes, AES Yes 1–2 s, depending on version ? ?
ZPAQ .zpaq Matt Mahoney 2009 PAQ Yes Yes, SHA-1 No Yes, AES-256 Yes ? ? MIT, Public domain


^1 While the original tar format uses the ASCII character encoding, current implementations use the UTF-8 (Unicode) encoding, which is backwards compatible with ASCII.
^2 Supports the external Parchive program (par2).
^3 From 3.20 release RAR can store modification, creation and last access time with the precision up to 0.0000001 second (= 0.1 μs). WinRAR download and support: Knowledge Base [4]
^4 The PAQ family (with its lighter weight derivative LPAQ) went through many revisions, each revision suggested its own extension. For example: ".paq9a".
^5 WIM can store the ciphertext of encrypted files on an NTFS volume, but such files can only by decrypted if an administrator extracts the file to an NTFS volume, and the decryption key is available (typically from the file's original owner on the same Windows installation). Microsoft has also distributed some download versions of the Windows operating system as encrypted WIM files, but via an external encryption process and not a feature of WIM.

  • Purpose: Archive formats are used for backups, mobility, and archiving. Many archive formats compress the data to consume less storage space and result in quicker transfer times as the same data is represented by fewer bytes. Another benefit is that files are combined into one archive file which has less overhead for managing or transferring. There are numerous compression algorithms available to losslessly compress archived data; some algorithms are designed to work better (smaller archive or faster compression) with particular data types. Archive formats are used by most operating systems to package software for easier distribution and installation than binary executables.
  • Filename extension: The DOS and Windows operating systems required filenames to include an extension (of at least one, and typically 3 characters) to identify the file type. Such extensions must be unique for each type of file. Many operating systems identify a file's type from its contents without the need for an extension in its name. However, the use of three-character extensions has been embraced as a useful and efficient shorthand for identifying file types.
  • Integrity check: Archive files are often stored on magnetic or other media subject to storage errors. Many archive formats contain extra error detection or correction information which can be used by the software used to read the archive files to detect and possibly correct errors.
  • Recovery record: Many archive formats contain redundant data embedded in the files in order to detect data storage or transmission errors, and the software used to read the archive files contains logic to detect and correct errors.
  • Encryption: Many archive formats include the capability to encrypt contents to prevent unauthorised access, using one of many available encryption methods.

Software packaging and distribution[edit]

Format Filename
Introduced in Based on Integrity check Recovery record Encryption supported Unicode filenames Modification date resolution
Debian package (deb) .deb Debian 1994 Debian 0.91 ar, tar, and gzip, xz Yes No No Yes 1 s
Macintosh Installer .pkg, .mpkg (metapackage) NeXT 1989 NeXTSTEP 1.0 pax and gzip Yes ? ? Yes ?
RPM Package Manager (RPM) .rpm Red Hat 1995 Red Hat Linux 1.0 cpio and gzip Yes ? ? ? 1 s
Slackware Package .tgz Patrick Volkerding 1993 Slackware 1.0 tar and gzip Yes No No ? ?
Windows Installer (also MSI) .msi Microsoft 2000 Windows 2000 OLE Structured Storage, Cabinet and SQL Optional PKCS7 Authenticode Signature No No No 2 s
MSIX .appx, .appxbundle, .emsix, .emsixbundle, .msix, .msixbundle Microsoft 2012 Windows 8 Zip Yes No Yes Yes 1 s
Java Archive (JAR1) .jar Sun Microsystems 1997 JDK 1.1 PKZIP Yes No ? Yes ?
Google Chrome extension package .crx Google 2009 (Chrome 4.0) Zip Yes ? No ? ?
Pacman .pkg.tar.zst, .pkg.tar (no compression) Judd Vinet 2001 (before ArchLinux 0.1) tar and zstd[15] (formerly xz) Yes No No Yes 1 s


^1 Not to be confused with the archiver JAR written by Robert K. Jung, which produces ".j" files.


Archive format Built-in compression Self-extracting Directory structure POSIX attributes ACLs Alternate data streams
cpio No1 No Yes Yes No ?
tar No1 No Yes Yes Some (in Solaris implementation)
dar Yes3 No Yes Yes Yes Yes
ar No No No Yes No ?
pax No No Yes Yes Yes ?
dump No1 No Yes Yes Yes ?
shar No Yes Yes Yes No ?
makeself Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
zip Yes Yes2 Yes No ? ?
rar Yes Yes2 Yes No ? Yes
ace Yes ? Yes No ? ?
arj Yes Yes2 Yes No No ?
zoo Yes ? Yes No ? ?
ISO 9660 (CD-ROM) No1 No Yes (with Rock Ridge extension) No ?
cab Yes Yes2 ? No ? ?
rpm Yes No Yes Yes ? ?
deb Yes No Yes Yes ? ?
7z Yes Yes Yes No ? ?
Archive format Built-in compression Self-extracting Directory Structure POSIX attributes ACLs Alternate data streams


^1 Compression is not a built-in feature of the formats, however, the resulting archive can be compressed with any algorithm of choice. Several implementations include functionality to do this automatically
^2 Most implementations can optionally produce a self-extracting executable
^3 Per-file compression with gzip, bzip2, lzo, xz, lzma (as opposed to compressing the whole archive). An individual can choose not to compress already compressed filenames based on their suffix as well.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d File extensions may differ across platforms. The case of these extensions may differ on case-insensitive platforms.
  2. ^ a b c d MIME media types may be conjectural. Very few have been officially registered with the IANA. Compression-only formats should often be denoted by the media type of the decompressed data, with a content coding indicating the compression format.
  3. ^ a b c d Official names may be disputed.
  4. ^ a b c d Creation platform indicates the platform(s) under which a format can be created.
  5. ^ If attaching .F to the file name is not possible with the DOS operating system, the second and third character of the filename extension are replaced by XF.
  6. ^ Genozip - A Universal Extensible Genomic Data Compressor https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article/37/16/2225/6135077
  7. ^ The 'application/zlib' and 'application/gzip' Media Types. doi:10.17487/RFC6713. RFC 6713. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
  8. ^ Restoration platform indicates the platform(s) under which a format can be restored/extracted. Most file formats can be understood by more than one platform.
  9. ^ "Restorable with free software" indicates whether the format can be restored using an extraction tool that is free software.
  10. ^ Tandem Unpak GUI http://sybond.web.id/project/?p=8
  11. ^ "PerfectCompress". Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  12. ^ "7-Zip / Discussion / Open Discussion: File times: creation, access - precision". sourceforge.net.
  13. ^ Lemke, Marcel (1998). "Technical Information on the archiver ACE V1.2". hugi.scene.org. Archived from the original on 4 April 2023. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  14. ^ "LICENCE · master · RiscOS / Sources / FileSys / ImageFS / SparkFS / Codecs / SparkSpark · GitLab". 28 January 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-26.
  15. ^ "Arch Linux - News: Now using Zstandard instead of xz for package compression". archlinux.org.