Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 22H2 now offers native support for nearly a dozen additional archive formats, including RAR, 7-Zip, Tar, and GZ archives.
The company introduced support for these 11 new file archive formats through the latest optional KB5031455 Preview cumulative update.
Windows 11 now boasts an updated list of supported archive types, including .rar, .7z, .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.zst, .tar.xz, .tgz, .tbz2, .tzst, and .txz. It’s important to note that support for password-encrypted files is not yet available.
Regarding the absence of support for password-protected archives, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that the company has no additional information to share at this time.
Microsoft integrated these new file archive formats with the assistance of the open-source libarchive project, which suggests that we may see support for other formats like LZH and XAR in the future.
As KB5031455 is an optional update, Windows users will need to manually install it. This can be done by opening the Settings app, navigating to Windows Update, and clicking ‘Check for Updates.’ Users will then be prompted to install the update by clicking the ‘Download and install’ link.
This new capability is expected to become available to all Windows 11 users through cumulative updates scheduled for release during November’s Patch Tuesday.
Microsoft initially announced its plans to provide Windows 11 with support for additional archive formats during the Build 2023 conference. The announcement was made in a blog post introducing the new Dev Home Windows control center in May.
“We have added native support for additional archive formats, including tar, 7-Zip, RAR, gz, and many others using the libarchive open-source project,” said Panos Panay, Microsoft’s former Chief Product Officer. “You now can get improved performance of archive functionality during compression on Windows.”
While ZIP archive support has been integrated into Windows since 1998, third-party applications like 7-Zip and WinRAR were necessary for handling 7-Zip (.7z), RAR (.rar), or gz (.gz) files.
The .gz archive format is more commonly associated with Linux through the GNU Zip (gzip) utility. However, it is expected to become increasingly useful for Windows users, particularly with the growing popularity of the Windows Subsystem for Linux feature.
Furthermore, the optional update also enabled all Moment 4 features, introducing 72 new features to Windows 11. These include an overhauled File Explorer, a new Backup app, a built-in Passkey Manager, and the AI-powered Copilot for Windows.