ExtractNow is a free archive extraction tool that we’d like to label as a “time saver”. While it’s purpose is not replacing an archiving utility, it offers many useful features related with the extraction process, such as batch archive extraction through a simple drag and drop, post-extraction actions, automatic folder creation & naming for extracted files and much more.
This small tool has a very quick install process that reflects its size. It would probably be over in a couple of seconds had it not been bundled with adware. Happily you can opt out the classic adware “trio” (search provided, browser homepage and toolbar). Windows users have no reasons to worry concerning ExtracNow’s requirements: you’ll need Internet Explorer 5.5 (or higher) and any Windows version starting with Windows 95.
ExtractNow has a dead simple interface. It’s a plain window with only three buttons where you can add archives by drag & drop or through the right-click menu. After you’ve added the archives the extraction process can be launched by pressing the “Extract” button. By default, the program will extract the archives in separate, automatically created folders with the same name but you have the option to manually browse to the folder of your choice. The “Clear” button removes all of the extracted archives from the program’s list.
The real fun begins as soon as you access the “Settings”. Here it can easily be seen exactly how much ExtractNow can do. We won’t mention all of the program’s options since there are so many but we will take a look at the ones we consider most useful.
From the “General” tab you can “Allow multiple instances”, giving you the possibility to extract batches or individual archives simultaneously. The “Automatically extract archives” options will cause an archive to be automatically extracted when you open it with the program.
The “Destination” tab lets you choose whether you want to be prompted about the extracted files location or choose a default destination to use it at all times. The destination can be configured in multiple ways such as, extract all archives to the folder where they are located, create sub-folders for each archive or just specify a different folder. Here, you can also set up how the program handles files that already exist like “Always ask what to do”, “Always overwrite it” and “Keep and rename”.
The “Process” tab offers plenty of useful options. From here you can allow the program to extract archives found within other archives and choose automated actions for already extracted archives – such as moving them to the Recycle Bin or a specified directory, deleting them, opening the destination folder…etc -, for when the operation is complete – close program, clear list of archives to extract – and cleanup related actions for handling extracted items that are broken or damaged, duplicate archive name folders and file renaming.
The Windows Explorer context menu can be enabled and thoroughly customized from the “Explorer” tab, such as choosing file associations and menu options. Other important settings include handling password-protected archives, file types to be excluded from extraction and monitoring directories for archives with the option to extract them automatically.
Even with its default settings ExtractNow does a good job, except that it would be a shame not to take advantage of its numerous capabilities. Most of the options are straightforward and the documentation provided by the developer thoroughly explains them all.
- Clean and easy to use interface.
- Support is enabled for practically all popular archive formats.
- Customizable post-extraction actions.
- Customizable Windows Explorer integration.
- Can handle extraction of password-protected archives.
- Option to monitor user-specified directories for archives and extract them automatically.
- Adware is present during the installation.
Even though other applications strive to provide a simple way to extract multiple archives we don’t recommend replacing ExtractNow with either of these as none of them come with the same wide array of options and some are not even regularly updated.
ExtractNow is such a versatile tool that can progress from a simple drag & drop archive extractor to an advanced tool that will perform various automated extraction and post-extraction tasks, saving users a lot of precious time and effort.