7-ade is an archive expander for Microsoft Windows built around 7-Zip. 7-ade provides double-click expansion of archives in the manner of the venerable StuffIt Expander for Macintosh:
- The contents of the archive are expanded upon double-click into the folder containing the archive
- If the archive contains two or more items at its root, an enclosing folder is created using the name of the archive
- Tarballs are extracted in full: the compressed archive is expanded into your temporary directory first, and the resulting tar archive is expanded back to the directory containing the tarball (overcoming a tedious extra step required by 7-Zip)
7-ade examines the archive in question, decides on an appropriate course of action for expansion, and makes a request of the 7-Zip graphical expansion utility (7zG.exe) to expand the archive.
The following additional features are provided:
- Simple rule definitions to apply different expansion behaviours dependent on filename and pathname
- Replacement file type icons for the most common archive types when file types are associated with 7-ade
Tarball file extensions recognised at the time of writing are: .tar.gz and .tgz (gzip); .tar.bzip2, .tar.bz2 and .tbz2 (bzip2); tar.bz and .tbz (bzip); and .txz and .tar.xz (xz). This is based on 7-Zip’s list of potential file associations. RPM (.rpm) files are also fully unpacked, unless the inner file is compressed with Zstandard, which 7-Zip does not recognise.
7-Zip needs to be installed on the computer for 7-ade to function. If 7-Zip is already installed before installing 7-ade, then “View in 7-Zip” is added to the context menu of each archive type for convenience.
This part is simple. Once the program is installed, simply double-click archives. Windows 8 and 10 will prompt you to switch over to 7-ade on a per-file-type basis. Windows 7 users need to associate the file types manually; it should be possible using the Set your default programs control panel, but Windows 10, 7-ade does not always appear.
The program should work in Windows XP, but no provisions are made for XP’s file types system. Please let Windows XP rest in peace.
Most users will simply use the program as-is: double-click archives to expand them. Chances are you can simply stop reading here. However, I have a particular use case (backup reports delivered as HTML files in zip files) where I wanted files of a particular name—found in a particular location (Outlook’s temporary directory)—to be expanded into a specific directory with overwrite enabled. As such, I chose to make this facility generic in case someone else finds it useful. Additional rule options have been added per user requests.
7-ade is configured using %APPDATA%\Telcontar\7-ade.ini. This file is used if it exists, and is not required. The section and parameter names are not case sensitive. If non-ASCII text is to be used in the file, then it must be in UTF-16 format (not UTF-8) due to how Windows reads INI files.
Example contents are as follows:
[Rules\foo] Name begins=foo Path is=C:\Users\McFoo\Downloads Overwrite=yes [Rules\bar] Name begins=megacorp-batch- Target path=\\BAZ\megacorp\batches\
- text; for non-ASCII values, the whole file must be UTF-16 format
- “1”, “true” and “yes” are considered true, regardless of case; all other values are considered false
- the value must be one of the choices specified (case-insensitive)
The [7-ade] section defines global settings for the program.
- string: comma separated list of INI section names that contain rule definitions, listed in order of rule priority (replaced with the version 1.1 method)
- boolean: enable debug output that can be viewed in DebugView or equivalent
Rules allow the behaviour of 7-ade and 7-Zip to be made conditional upon the name and path of archives. One or more rules can be defined; 7-ade examines the applicability of rules to an archive in the order that the rules are defined (version 1.1 method) or the order that they are listed in the Rules parameter of the [7-ade] section (version 1.0 method). The first rule to match is applied, and the remainder of the rules are ignored even if they would have matched. If no rules match, and a [Defaults] section exists, then any actions in this section are applied.
From version 1.1, rules can be defined as INI sections whose names begin “Rules\”, as shown in the example above. The older version 1.0 format is described later, for reference.
- Name is
- string: The filename of the archive (including extension) equals this text
- Name begins
- string: The filename of the archive (including extension) begins with this text
- Name ends
- string: The filename of the archive (including extension) ends with this text
- Name contains
- string: The filename of the archive (including extension) contains this text
- Path is
- string: The path of the folder containing the archive equals this text
- Path begins
- string: The path of the folder containing the archive begins with this text
- Path contains
- string: The path of the folder containing the archive contains this text
- boolean: instruct 7-Zip to overwrite automatically; also, if the enclosing folder for expansion exists, it will be re-used
- Target path
- string: target location to expand the archive; if an enclosing folder is needed, it will be placed inside this location
- Recycle archive
- boolean: if archive expansion is successful, move the source archive file into the Recycle Bin (if the archive is too large to be recycled, or is on a volume without Recycle Bin support, this will revert to deletion, but Windows should prompt to confirm deletion)
- Delete archive
- string: if archive expansion is successful, delete the source archive file (if recycle and delete are both set, recycle takes precedence)
- Launch output
- enum: launch the top-level contents of the archive following expansion
- If the output from the archive is a single file, open it; if the output was enclosed in a folder, then open the folder
- The same as “any”
- If the output from the archive is a single file, open it; otherwise, take no action
- enum: show the extracted archive contents in Explorer following expansion
- Open the folder containing the extracted output; where the archive’s contents were enclosed in a folder, the parent of that folder is opened
- If the output from the archive is a single file, show the enclosing folder window in Explorer and highlight the output; the archive’s contents were enclosed in a folder, that folder itself is opened
The [Defaults] section is used to define the behaviour of the program if no rules match. Only the action parameters from rule definitions are meaningful here. This is probably not very useful yet, and may never be, but you get it anyway. All values in this section are ignored when a rule is applied.
Version 1.0 rules method
The original rules method works as follows:
[7-ade] Rules=foo,bar [foo] Name begins=foo Path is=C:\Users\McFoo\Downloads Overwrite=yes [bar] Name begins=megacorp-batch- Target path=\\BAZ\megacorp\batches\
Specifically, the rules are normal INI sections, and the active rules must be specified under the [7-ade] section. This method remains available.
- Added rule actions “show” and “launch output” to show or launch the output of the archive [Santo Nucifora]
- Added rule actions “delete archive” and “recycle archive” to delete or recycle the archive file following successful expansion [José junior]
- Simpler rule configuration method
- Full unpacking of RPM files in the same manner as with tarballs, albeit tentatively (.cpio internal files within RPM files are understood by 7-Zip, but .cpio.zstd is not)
- The existence of the input archive is checked first, to allow for a more readable error message should it not exist
- Where an archive name contains one or more extraneous dots before the filename extension (e.g. “photos..zip”) and an enclosing folder is needed, all the dots are stripped from the enclosing folder name, as Windows chokes on folder names ending “.” (even though it is more than willing to create them); if after the dots are removed there is no name left, the enclosing folder is simply named “output”
- Where archives contained entirely root-relative paths (e.g. “/etc/foo.cfg”), 7-ade would create an enclosing folder called “ (2)”; now the correct enclosing folder name is used
- Tar files created with “.” as the top directory would unpack into a directory called “. (2)”; now the correct enclosing folder name is used
- Temporary directories are now cleaned up
Initial version, 2016-07-31.
7-ade is an open source application programmed in AutoHotkey. It requires the revised ahk2exe for build directives. The installer is built using Inno Setup. All graphics were created using Inkscape.
A copy of all the development files is available for download.
7-ade is copyright 2016–2020 Daniel Beardsmore. The 7-ade application (“program”) and source code are made available under the zlib license, the terms of which are included in a separate document. The program may be used without restriction free of charge.
The name of my original 7-Zip wrapper (written in Perl and supporting only zip files) was “7-Up”. The name change to “7-ade” allowed the program to have a unique identity, and to allow me to restart the version numbering from 1.0, as 7-ade is the program that 7-Up was always meant to be but never was.
“7-ade” can be thought of as either “Sevenade” (an own-brand soft drink) or as “Seven-aid” (artificial sweetener for 7-Zip).