File compression programs allow you to conserve disk
by reducing the size of files.
Most popular file compression programs use a variation of either the
Lempel-Ziv compression method or the Hauffman compression method,
but some newer compressors achieve even higher compression rates using an
algorithm called arithmetic coding.
The earliest file compression program was ARC, which was developed
in the mid-1980s. But the first one to come into widespread general use was
PKZIP in 1989 (which popularised the .Zip file format).
However, PKZIP's leadership was usurped by WinZip in the mid-1990s.
WinZip was specifically developed as a file archiver and compressor for
Microsoft Windows and was included with all versions of Windows from
Windows95 onwards. This quickly decimated PKZIP's market share.
Today there are a wide number of file compression programs available. But
since market dominance requires that both the sender and receiver
have a compressor which can create and extract files in the same
compressed format, most of the smaller compressors (as defined by market
share) have had a very tough time gaining traction even when they offer
superior compression to .Zip files (which many do).
One which has had good success is WinRAR. This was developed by Eugene
Roshal in 1993 and has gone on to become the second most popular file
compressor for the Microsoft Windows platform next to WinZip. In fact, the
.Rar format has become so popular in recent years that WinZip now supports
it (and WinRAR supports .Zip files!)
These two file compressors - and four other popular ones - are listed