I am searching for a software that will compare all files from two archives. It should:

  • Mark the files that are different (have modification) between them.
  • Mark *New for files that are not in second archive (or in one and not the other)
  • When you open one of the files modified to show differences between the file from second archive.
  • Should read all files from all directories at least three levels.
  • If possible free or open-source.
  • 2
    For which OS and are you sure you don't mean Archive, if so which format achive, git, hg, svn, zip, arc, tar, tar-gz, gzip, there are 100s. Jun 4, 2015 at 17:27
  • Is For OS Windows
    – Adrian
    Jun 4, 2015 at 21:09

5 Answers 5


Far Manager can compare folders and also has advanced directory comparison plugins which also work on archives.

To compare two archives:

  1. Open both archives using the two panels in Far Manager, each archive in a panel
  2. Compare the files using the sequence F9-C-C
    • This will highlight the new/modified files in the right panel


  • Highlights new and modified files
  • Has the ability to change directory depth using F11 Advanced Compare (see image below)
  • Runs on Windows
  • Is free and open-source

Note that you can compare the contents of files inside Far Manager using the fc command on Windows


The famed WinMerge can be used with 7-zip to get archive support. This is entirely free and the graphical interface for comparison is crystal clear.

The bottom line is that you have some configuration to do instead of having a tool to do it out of the box, but for those who are used to comparison using WinMerge, this is probably the way to go.


Total Commander does the things you mention for files in archives as easily as for files in folders.

It handles ZIP, ARJ, LZH, RAR, UC2, TAR, GZ, CAB, ACE.

It does not compare multiple levels at one time.

It's shareware. You can use it for 30 days without paying (nag screen), afterwards you have to pay $44/€38, and that's a bargain for all its features.


DiffTool for Android can compare the content of ZIP, JAR or APK files. DiffTool does exactly all what you did ask for and shows differences better as most of the other tools I used so far. And additionally to folder (includes sub folders) and text comparison a very good binary comparison can be done on binary files. Additionally, if your archive contains docx, xlsx, rtf, odt, ... documments, the text of these documents can be compared too. Unfortunately it runs on Android only. See: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.difftool


If you can spare $30, then you can't beat Beyond Compare, which can certainly diff archives, and probably more archive formats than any free tool.

Archives are files that contain other files, such as .zip. Beyond Compare displays them as folders, with a zipper icon, but by default treats them as files when copying or comparing them. Once you have expanded the archive by double-clicking on it, the files within will be compared. Many of the formats support both reading and writing, so you can use all of the usual file operations on the files within the archives, including comparing the content, copying, renaming, etc.

Common archive formats

7z archive (.7z;.7z.001)
BZip (.bz;.bz2)
BZipped Tar (.tbz;.tbz2;.tar.bz2)
Beyond Compare Snapshot (
Compiled HTML Help (
Deb archive (.deb)
GZip (
GZipped Tar (.tgz;.tar.gz)
Microsoft Cabinet (.cab)
Rpm archive (.rpm)
Tar (
Zip (.zip;.zipx;.jar;.ear;.war;.bcpkg)

once inside your archive, you can compare text or images or office files or PDF or data or even raw hex.

Try a demo and see if you are convinced.

If not, @Chop's suggestion of WinMerge if probably the way to go (although don't forget to look at Kdiff3)

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