Win 7 user here. I have a bunch of photos and videos that I want to compress to save space. I thought about adding them all to a 7zip file.

But is it possible to open the 7zip file and see thumbnails of all files inside, without decompressing them first? I tried this with Winrar but it didn't work.

I know I can make a separate folder with the thumbnails of all files and store it there, but I was looking for a simpler work around.

Thanks for any ideas!


You won't be able to. The idea of a compressed archive is to have a stream of that with compressed information. Where should the information of the thumbs come from without at least extracting those bits of information from the archive? At least with the usual formats like rar and zip I'm not aware that it's possible.

A lot of image formats are already compressed and you won't gain a lot by putting them through another kind of compression.

  • I agree, unless OP wants to store RAW images or the video equivalent, compression will probably not make a noticeable difference. – cascer1 Sep 21 '16 at 11:36
  • You're right, even though a regular zip folder saved me some space (around 5%), it's just not enough to justify the hassle. I'm probably better off leaving it like it is. Thanks for the tip and for the answer! – flen Sep 21 '16 at 13:08
  • No, the idea of a zip file is to have a directory which behaves like a file for all purposes except exploration. – 7vujy0f0hy May 10 '17 at 18:47
  • @7vujy0f0hy I'm really not sure where you got that idea. It might be a scenario for you but the format is meant to compress files. It's a solid stream, it will handle significantly different from a directory. While you're correct that you might do minor changes in a fast way the usual implementations decompress and compress on changes in order to free up the space and optimize the compression. – Seth May 11 '17 at 5:50
  • Just as a correction: Zip isn't actually a solid archive in the sense of compression. But what I meant is that it's still a continues filestream (hence you handle it as a file) with the directory at the end of it. Even if you're able to easily list the content of a zip to actually make the data readable to "non zip aware" applications you need to extract it as it is not just part of the filesystem (in most cases). – Seth May 11 '17 at 8:14

I know this is an old thread but stumbled across it looking for something else.

First while there is little size benefit in ziping an individual image file, but there is benefit in zipping a directory of them. Take a look at the size v. the size on disk sometime for a set of images.

Second there are a couple of programs that already do this izview is one and CBX Shell is another. I don't think that either of them work with 7z archives though.

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