Free Software for DOS
Archivers, Compressors, EXE Packers, & related – 3

21 Aug 2006

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Note: Most of the dedicated archive shells below are becoming dated, and generally don't behave well when opening archives containing files with Win9x LFNs. However, there exist many current file managers which double as good archive managers (DOS Navigator, Connect, File Wizard, Archive Lister, and more).

Aview (NCAV) — Multi-archive shell with pack, unpack, add, delete, convert and file view functions.

* * * *

AVIEW is a versatile shell for common DOS archivers. It is designed to work with the Norton Commander, but does not require it. Archived files are shown in a single pane list and file manipulation is achieved by tagging files and issuing commands from a menu at the bottom of the screen. Effortless one-step conversions between archive formats is a particular strength of AVIEW – a feature lacking in popular Windows counterparts. External archivers are required for conversion, packing, and unpacking routines.

Features: Limitations:

Author: Chris Buijs, Netherlands (1995).

1995-06-18: v4.8 Beta-D.

Download (291K).

AinView — Multi-archive shell supports numerous archive formats. Unpack/ file view functions.

* * * 1/2

[updated 2004-09-18]

AinView is a shell that can list, test, and unpack a variety of archives. Unlike AVIEW, AinView cannot pack / convert archives or read self-extracting archives. External archive programs required.

Significant differences from Aview:
  1. No integrated directory browser. AinView is best used from the command line or as a helper program for file managers without built-in archive management.
  2. Cannot compress files or convert files from one archive format to another. No add or delete files to / from archives. If you use the EDIT feature (loads an archived file into your favorite editor), AinView can update the archive with a modified file.
  3. Does not read self-extracting archives; can't read zips spanned across floppies.
  4. Fewer configuration options; not mouse compatible; documentation sparse, online help lacking.
On the plus side:
  1. More archive formats supported:
  2. Easy configuration.
  3. You can view archived files: associate extensions with your favorite viewers (see file AINVIEW.EXT)
  4. Color coded file types in arc listing.
  5. Can test archived files for integrity.
  6. Can search for files within an archive; Shortcuts for viewing FILE_ID.DIZ and *.NFO files.
  7. Archiver output can be displayed to screen or run in the background.
  8. Can read archives packed within archives.
  9. Relatively small EXE: 39K; Fast; Seems to run under Windows well.

Author: PC-i Team, Hungary (1997).

1997-06-12: v1.74a. Distributed as postcardware.

Download (58K).

RVS — Multi-archive shell with directory browser, unpack, and file view functions.

* * * 1/2

I like the simple design of this archive shell. Although it doesn't support a large number of archive formats, it's quick and includes a directory browser. RVS can read self extracting archives and has a command line filter to find supported SFXes. The Norton-like list screen displays a detailed listing of arc contents which can be sorted (name, ext, etc.) using a pulldown menu. Requires external unpackers and viewers.

Features: Limitations:

Author: Raymond T. Kaya (1995).

1995-01-27: v1.13.

Download (47K).


These programs are useful for viewing contents of archives but they're not intended to function as unpackers.

LGFastView (LGFV, Fast Viewer) — Small and fast multi-archive viewer, supports ~90 formats.


[added 1999-03-26, updated 2000-07-03]

Small (11K), fast, and up-to-date. Does not require external archivers. Can change dates of archived files. Supported formats (including SFXes):

Usage: LGFV [/almbd@<filename>] file_mask [file_mask...]
l for long listing, b for brief
a adjust archive datestamp to that of latest file
d ignore directories
m date in MM-DD-YYYY
@ specify file with names to ignore while setting date

Author: Yuri (George) Lyapko, Ukraine (2000).

2000-06: v2.10.

Download (17K).

Find more info, up to v2.09, at the Fast Viewer page.

ZIEW — Multi-archive viewer, lists contents of two archives side by side.

* * *

[updated 2006-08-21]

ZIEW is a full screen archive viewer (not an extracter) which displays the contents of two archives side by side. You can pass wildcards to ZIEW and within the program select archives to view. ZIEW also can be used to view archived files, and uniquely, can execute archived programs. These latter operations require external unpackers and an included batch file; this batch doesn't seem to be OpenDOS-friendly. You can edit the batch file to associate file extensions with custom viewers.

Should handle files up to 2GB. Mouse support. Supported formats: ARC – ARI – ARJ – DWC – HA – HAP – HYP – LBR – LHZ – LHARK – PAK – RAR – SQZ – ZIP – ZOO. Also reads supported self-extracting archives.

Known limitations:

Author: Evin Robertson (1997).

1997-05-30: v2.0 rel. 6.

Download (36K).

QAZ — Multi-archive viewer supports numerous formats.


QAZ is intended for BBS sysops / power users. From the docs:
QAZ is an "almost universal archive viewer"...QAZ is also capable of searching a drive for archives which contain a specified set of files, or of returning exit codes identifying the file type or attributes of the file (such as whether an archive contains AV information or password-protected files) which can be used by other software. The output of QAZ is to standard-output, which means it can be used as an online BBS viewing utility. The format of the listing is very customizable to suit users' individual tastes.
Supported formats:
ARC (Crunch, PAK,
Compact-ProKnowledge DynamicsSQWEZ
CPS ShrinkLBRStuffIt
Disk DoublerLimitUC2
FlashPackIt IZi-Lite

Author: Robert Rothenburg Walking-Owl (1994).

1994-12-21: v3.61.

Download (147K).

RV — Archive viewer can add/strip arc comments, reset arc dates, more.

* * *

This command line archive viewer displays contents of archives [ARC, ARJ, HYP, LZH, LZS, PAK, SQZ, ZIP, ZOO] to standard output and includes some unique options:

Author: Raymond T. Kaya (1995). Suggested by Lars-Erik Sandberg.

1994-03-13: v2.51.

Download (24K).


A diverse collection of command line utils that unpack, list, and/or identify archives.

Universal Unpacker (UU) — Command line archive unpacker and identifier; Win9x LFN support.

* * * * *

[added 1998-05-05, updated 2006-03-14]

Also see the related IDArc.

The Universal Unpacker is currently the most up-to-date and comprehensive archive identifier and unpacker for DOS – it supports many recent archive formats. UU handles around 100 different archive formats and identifies 170+ formats, including many packed executables. Can also list contents of Linux RPM packages (using rpmview). UU's configuration file supports alternate unpackers for a given format (e.g., can use UNZIP, PKUNZIP, or X1 to unpack a zip file). UU can optionally create archive-named target directories for holding the contents of archives (/A). Returns format-specific error levels. Long filename (LFN) support under Windows. Limited configurability. External unpackers required. Available in English- and German-language versions.

Syntax:        UU archive_name [filespec(s)] [targetpath\] [switches]
All parameters in brackets are optional. Meaning of the parameters:
Archive name:  The archive or sfx file to be unpacked (wildcards allowed)
Filespec(s):   The file(s) to be decompressed (wildcards allowed)
Targetpath:    Directory to unpack the archive into (default: current dir,
               the backslash at the end is mandatory).
Switches:      /D    Delete archive after successful unpacking
               /I    Identify only, don't unpack archive
               /M    unpack (FTN-)Mailarchives (see documentation)
               /N    do Not use embedded paths while unpacking
               /P    Print file(s) on standard output device (if possible)
               /Q    Quiet mode, suppresses shell output (where possible)
               /R    Replace existing files (overwrite mode)
               /S    Scan unpacked files for viruses
               /T    Test archive integrity
               /U    Update mode (decomp. only newer and nonexistent files)
               /V    View archive contents
               /Bdir move Bad archive to specified dir
               /B    Only show broken archives, do not move
               /GPW  supply password PW for Garbled file
               /X    XMS/EMS/disk swapping allowed
               /Z    try ZIP or RAR for decompression if unknown format
               /A    target directory = Archive name

Author: Jürgen Peters, Germany (2004).

2004-02-02: v2.15.03. Last version, development has ended.


JUP (Jens's UnPacker) — Command line archive identifier, lister, unpacker; add new archive formats.

* * * *

[updated 2006-03-14]

Jup is an older command line archive identifier and extraction utility. Its principal strength lies in its ability to identify countless archive/compression formats – from the familiar PKZIP, to the more exotic EXE packers. It also identifies many non-archive file types. Identification is based on file signatures – not extensions. Archive format subversions can also be identified (e.g., PkZip 0.9 vs. 2.x). Individual files within archives can be extracted or viewed (displayed to standard output). 80286 and external archivers or unpackers required. Doesn't appear to have an option for virus scanning.

Jup is highly configurable: new archivers can be added to its predefined list of file formats. But this requires some effort (reading the long documentation, determining file signatures of archive formats.). You could conceivably add other file formats besides archivers for file identification purposes only. Also in package is a smaller version of JUP which is quicker but doesn't ID subversions or compile configuration files. The default configuration includes 92 file types and 133 identifiers (not all are archive formats):

Usage: JUP <archive> [<archive> ..] [</options> ..] [<files> ..]

F.........FAST! search only for real archives current configuration
I[+]......identify [subversions] only (*default*)
C[datnam].force JUP configuration with <datnam>
U[binnam].use JUP configuration of <binnam>
G<passwd>.password to extract archive
W<outpth>.path to output the archive files
D, S......display file(s) on standard output device
L, V......list/view archive contents
Q[+]......quiet[er] mode, suppresses shell output
P.........use embedded paths while unpacking
R, O......replace existing files
T.........test archive integrity
E, X......extract archive files without overwriting

Author: Jens Weynans / Jensoft Systems, Germany (1997).

1997-04-30: v1.71. Cardware.

Download (110K).

MUP — Command line archive identifier, lister and unpacker with easy configuration.

* * * *

MUP is a command line archive identifier, lister, and unpacker similar in function to JUP. However, all archive configuration options can be easily modified using the configuration screen. Optional virus scanning is available using external scanners. Also includes option to test integrity of files.

Supported archives (external archivers required):

T: Test the archive for CRC errors
L: List the file(s) in the archive
P: A pause between each archive
D: Deletes the archive(s) after unpacking it if no error has occurred
I: Identify archive file(s)
U: Unpack each archive in a directory named the same as the archive file
but without the extension
V: Check for virus with all 3 virus scanners after unpacking
Vx: Check for virus with virus number x (1-3) after unpacking
E=: Enter file(s) to extract from archive (E=*.exe
: Unpacks
all *.EXE files in the archive)

Author: Morten Isaksen, Denmark (1997).

1997-07-22: v1.22.

Download (34K).

FASTI — Easy ZIP, ARJ, LZH unpacker creates directories for contents of each archive.

* * *

Fast Inflate (FASTI) represents a quick, "hands free' method of automatically uncompressing all ZIP, ARJ and LZH files in the current directory. The contents of each archive will be placed in a newly created subdirectory with the name of the archive. FASTI also recreates directory structures included within archives. There is no prompting when this program is run, so be prepared prior to running FASTI on a directory containing numerous archives. FASTI can also scan for viruses using the McAfee or F-Prot AV scanner programs. Running FASTI with the prune parameter removes all created subdirectories (see docs for caution notes). Requires external unpackers and virus scanners.

Author: Brad Bahr (1994). Suggested by Marianna Van Erp.

1994-08-30: v1.8.

Download (22K).


Also see AVIEW.

FACT — Command line archive format conversion utility.

* * * *

FACT is a command line utility that converts among different archive formats and is smart enough to preserve internal directory structure. Easily convert a file to several different formats with one command. External archivers required.

Usage: FACT archives .NewExt [-d] [-q] [-w] [-1]

archives = specification of the archives to convert.
.NewExt = extension(s) you wish to convert them to.
-d = forces the original archive to be deleted.
-q = hides most of the compressors' messages.
-w = causes FACT to pause after every action.
-1 = only recompress the _primary_ archive.

Author: David Daniel Anderson / Reign Ware (1997).

1997-04-04: v1.32.

Download (55K).

ARC2ARC — Command line conversion among PKZIP, LZH, ARJ, RAR archives.


[added 1998-05-11, updated 2005-12-09]

Simple to use and not fancy. ARC2ARC converts among only the 4 most popular DOS formats in use today: ZIP – LZH – ARJ – RAR (doesn't convert self-extracting EXEs). Defaults to maximum compression settings during conversion but has a single option to use normal compression. Won't convert multiple volume RAR or ARJ archives. Because everything is hard-coded in the 36K executable, ARC2ARC requires specific archivers (needs PKZIP/PKUNZIP; can't use InfoZip). English and Czech docs.

USAGE: ARC2ARC <inputfile.ext> <archivetype> (RAR | ZIP | ARJ | LZH | EXE) [/n]
   inputfile.ext  - source file, extension cannot be omitted!
   archivetype    - which archive type convert to (RAR, ZIP, ARJ, LZH, EXE)
   /n             - when used, program uses normal compression level

Author: Martin Ptácek, Czech Republic (1999).

1998-08-02: v1.2.

Download (39K).

RCVT (RAR Convertor) — Converts ARJ, ZIP, RAR and other archives.

* * * * *

[updated 2005-12-09]

RCVT extracts files from one archive, builds them into a new archive, then deletes the original archive if the new archive is created successfully – so if you want to be sure of preserving the original, back it up first. The plain text file RCVT.CFG defines operations: It is set up to convert ARJ, ZIP, older RAR, and other archives to current RAR format, but the user can edit the file to change the target format. RCVT is free, but the DOS version is only available as part of a shareware RAR package.

Usage: RCVT [-switch[-]] <archive>

-r[-]: convert archives in subdirectories
-n[+]: convert nested archives
-k[+]: keep archive time


  Converting all archives on the current disk:
  RCVT -r \*.*

   Converting the archive book.lzh:
   RCVT book.lzh

A few of the user options that can be set in RCVT.CFG: Additional source types. New files can be added to the target archive. Selected source files can be omitted from the target. A filelist can be created, and placed in any directory.

Authors: Eugene Roshal / RARLAB, Russia (1997, 2003).

Win32 console


WinRAR and RAR archiver addons page.


These are used by BBS sysops to create lists of their file collections, complete with file date, size, and content description. Others can use these programs to quickly create a formatted text catalog of archives they've collected. There are literally hundreds of these types of programs floating around – I haven't tried many. Output usually resembles the following (just a single entry from a FILES.BBS shown here):

Filename     Size   Date     Description of File Contents
ADDCL101.ZIP 0367   09-02-97 ADDCOL v1.01- Free DOS util: adds a single
                             column of numbers in a text file. W/ Pascal
                             source. (c) 1993 [12/20/93] by David Daniel
                             Anderson - Reign Ware.

To convert a FILES.BBS list to HTML, see BBS2HTML, or FiD.

Fileid — Create description list of zip / arj / lha archives with many options.

* * * *

[updated 2005-12-09]

Fileid creates a formatted descriptive list (= FILES.BBS list) of archive files with corresponding sizes, dates, and descriptions. Fileid is much more flexible than CDesc, but supports only ZIP – ARJ – LHA formats and does not have the capability to analyze image files. European date format. Includes a nice progress bar, and operation can be interrupted with ESC.

Notable features: Limitations:
/L:filename   Specify file for output.
/M            Use disk label as filename
/A            If list file already exists, the new list will be appended to
              the existing list, in stead of overwriting it.
/4            Makes descript.ion-compatible list
/R            Makes descript.ion-compatible list & removes special characters
/U:filename   Update list (still slow).
/S            Subdirectories will also be included in the list
/O            Sorts the list in alphanumeric order
/E:filename   Adds a header to the list
/F:filename   Adds a footer to the list
/B:n          1=size, 2=date, 3=both excluded from list
/D            Only archives including a description will be included
/W:n          Create listing of n days wares
/1            One-liner descriptions
/C            List contents of archive, if it contains no description
/X            Include descriptions from self-extracting archives (.EXE). This
              usually makes processing slower, though.
/Z            Use archive comment if no description found
/T            Use DESCRIPT.ION/FILE.DES/FILE.SDI/DISK.ID description if
              FILE_ID.DIZ not found.
/P            Include PCBoard color codes from FILE_ID.DIZ files
/-            Put a line between each description.
/N:filename   Use language file
/I:directory  Specify directory where temporary files will be written. For
              example: FILEID /I:D:\TEMPFILE
/Y            Beep when ready
/H:filename   Shows the list after it has been created using specified
              program or EDIT if none is specified.

Author: Janne Lindberg, Finland (1995).

1995-12-29: v4.0 interim release.

Download (34K).

FiD — FILES.BBS creator with flexible formatting.


[added 1998-07-02, updated 2004-09-18]

While FiD may be overkill for anyone but a sysop, it's the most configurable archive description list creator listed here. FiD can do much more than extract descriptions from archives – it can also id and create lists for image, multimedia, and html files.The user can define up to 600 additional file extensions in the configuration file. One of the more impressive features of FiD is its output format flexibility: the user can custom design a FILES.BBS using macros in the ini file, e.g., HTML output is supported.


Authors: PC-i Team, Hungary (1998).

1998-02-16: v2.15

Download (189K).

CDesc — Creates BBS-style description list of archive / image files.

* * *

The simplest of the FILES.BBS creators listed here. Run CDesc on a directory of archive files and it will create a neatly formatted descriptive list of archive files with corresponding sizes, dates, and descriptions (extracted from FILE_ID.DIZ or DESC.SDI files). The list is sorted by the order of files in your directory (if you want to produce an alphanumerical listing, first use a file sorter like Csap on your directory). If no description file is packed with an archive, CDesc will indicate this in the listing.

Supported archive formats: ARC – ARJ – HA – HPACK – HYPER – LHA – PAH – PAK – RAR – SQZ – UC2 – ZIP – ZOO. Requires external archivers. CDesc can also extract information from images (type, dimensions, and colors). Supported image formats: BMP, GIF87a, GIF89a, JPEG, PCX, PiNG. CDesc does not recognize some compressed JPEG and non-Windows bitmap files.


Usage: CDesc <files_to_query> <text_file_output>

Author: David Daniel Anderson / Reign Ware (1996).

1996-04-12: v1.10.

Download (26K).

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