Everyone who has had dealings with the Internet and downloading has, at some point, come across a file that is compressed, whether it be RAR or ZIP. File compression is how we are able to share files, media, images and other data between each other without using up our Internet bandwidth, also instead of things taking a very long time to get to us or to our friends it takes half the time or even less!
The Advanced Explanation
Okay I am going to walk you through the advanced way of looking at it by using some simple images I have concocted myself in paint (i’m no artist haha)! Let’s think of it like this, these are your data blocks as a piece of software:
Okay, now these blocks are the software as it stands, right? Now what compression does it tell the computer how many times the same data is repeated over and over again, so once the software, audio, image or whatever is compressed it will look something like this:
As you see here the other blocks are not there and there is just the one single blocks with a figure telling the computer how many there actually are! When the computer comes to de-compress this ZIP or RAR file it will put the blocks back exactly how they were, and that’s how the computer compresses ready for transport over the Internet
Free Programs To Use?
Yes! Many… the most common one is called WinRAR from RarLab. The software is very light and versatile, there is a paying option but you do not have to pay for it at all you will just get an annoying popup asking you to pay or contribute! Don’t forget though, Windows operating system comes with it’s own, though it can only uncompress .ZIP files and nothing more, hence the need for better decompressors.
The best place to get them free is when you use the Linux operating system (Pronounced Leigh-Nucks), it comes with many pre-loaded once Linux is installed.
What Can You Compress?
Media files, audio, documents, movies, high definition images, basically anything that is a data file on a computer system can be compressed! Some of the very large files can also be compressed by using more advanced methods. Different software also compressed differently and you may find that a program can compress down an image file better than it can a movie and visa versa!