Chromebooks have always lagged behind Windows, macOS, and Linux when it comes to handling local files, partially by design. Thankfully, Google is improving support for archived files in Chrome OS.
Chromebooks could already handle .ZIP, .TAR, and a few other archive formats, but beyond that, you needed an Android app from the Play Store or a Linux-based utility. 9to5Google reports that Chrome OS 101, which started rolling out last month, includes support for many more types of archive files. Archives created in the .7Z format popularized by 7-Zip can now be opened (unless they are password-protected), along with some ISO files (commonly used for CD and DVD images). Finally, .TAR files are now supported, but not the more common .TAR.GZ or .TAR.XZ formats.
The current drawbacks to the newly-supported formats are annoying, but Google isn’t quite done yet. The Chromium team told 9to5Google that support for over two dozen more formats is in the works, including .TAR.GZ, .GZIP, and other common archive types. In the meantime, you can use an Android app like ZArchiver on your Chromebook, or use the unzip or tar commands in a Linux terminal.
Google has been improving many areas of Chrome OS recently to better compete with traditional platforms like Windows and Mac. Warnings about bad USB Type-C cables just started rolling out, and Google is developing more Chromebook-centric apps like Screencast and Cursive. Slowly but surely, Chromebooks are integrating features that have been available on other platforms for years, while still retaining some of the simple design and accessibility that made them popular in the first place.
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