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File Format
Name Archiving


(Lossless, for generic data + file archives)

See also: Compression, Error detection and correction


Archiving only

(many files => 1 file, no compression attempted)

Compression + archiving

(Multiple files => 1 file, makes it smaller. See Compression for formats that compress single files/streams, and Disk Image Formats for formats that capture the low-level structure of a disk)

Diff files

(containing only the parts of a file that have changed, so they can be applied to an existing file to update it; used for update distribution and incremental backups)

See also Wikipedia:Data differencing.

Filesystem backup

Formats designed for backing up disks, usually specifically targeted at particular filesystems (but backing it up in the form of file structures, not raw sector images like Disk Image Formats).

Institutional archiving

Metadata formats

(see also Metadata, Bibliographic data)


Program/App/Applet/Installer specialized archive formats

Self-extracting archives

(in addition, some of the other archivers are able to produce executable files for some platform which include the archived data and a program to extract them, and generally have the file extension normal for executables, such as .exe for DOS/Windows. In many cases, if you rename the extension to the appropriate one for the archive type involved, e.g., .zip, the file will open in the appropriate archiver, which is handy for extracting them on systems not compatible with the original executable.)

Transfer encodings

(convert binaries to printable ASCII for download; encode resource forks or metadata together with file, etc.)

See also the main article, Transfer Encodings.


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