Despite being my blog about "software and electronics", I've been sparse on posts about what's historically been my bread and butter - the Windows Desktop platform, still the best thing to happen to computing since sliced bread ... and butter. It's just not as sexy as the exotic embedded stuff or the mobile platform du jour.
Aynways I've been meaning to compile and post a list of windows tools that I think rock. I'm always surprised when I find out someone whos been using windows for a long time doesn't knwo about some particular tool I've been using forever and think is essential, "what, you mean you've never heard of SciTE?".
7-zip is definitely a tool in that category. It can open just about anything considered an "archive" format, zip, gzip, tar, rar, iso, and one that I find handy when something's gone wrong: msi and cabs.
I recently got my atmel cpld JTAG programmer, and wanted to install the AtmelISP software. For some reason only known to my PC, the installer refused to complete, and performed a lat minute cancel/rollback at the end of the install.
While the fail dialog was up, I used Sysinterals procmon (another rockin tool, by the way) to find out the installer wrote some temp files that happened to be "msi" (Microsoft installer packages). I copied the msi files and opened with 7zip, which allowed me to extract the atmel isp software. This worked in this case becasue there were no critical scripts run by the installer other that to install ftdi drivers, which I already had installed.