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PeaZip is a free cross-platform file archiver that provides an unified portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX...
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Features of PeaZip includes extract, create and convert multiple archives at once, create self-extracting archives, split/join files, strong encryption with two factor authentication, encrypted password manager, secure deletion, find duplicate files, calculate hashes, export job definition as script.

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PEA file format: Pack, Encrypt, Authenticate

pea files

PEA file format specifications

Pea archiving and authenticated encryption utility

zipx files

PEA files

PEA file format specifications

PEA file format specifications 1.0

Pea, acronym for Pack, Encrypt, Authenticate, designs a file format aiming to provide archiving, compression and multi volume file split feature in a single passage, along with flexible schemes of integrity check and authenticated encryption; PEA file format specifications are released under public domain.
PEA security model acts at 3 levels: objects, streams and volumes; each one of those levels can be omitted as needed by the user:
  • Object level integrity checking is performed to detect errors with object level granularity on raw input data and all associated data (name, size, attributes, datetime);
  • Stream level check offers wide choice of algorithms up to authenticated encryption, protecting privacy and authenticity of a group of objects sharing same security needs, including tags generated by object level checks;
  • Volume level integrity check is communication oriented and allow to discard single corrupted volumes in order to minimize, in case of error, the retransmission overhead;
Arbitrarily sized volume spanning allows the archive to be splitted in volumes of arbitrary size, with the only constrain of volumes being at least 10 byte bigger than volume control tag to allow passing (through archive's header) minimum needed information to the extraction application.
PEA file format as defined in version 1 revision 0 specification can store a single stream containing unlimited objects each up to 2^64 byte in size; current Pea archiver utility supports 1.0 file format specifications (practically, archives are memory and filesystem-limited rather than format limited).
PEA 2.0 file format specifications extend the concepts behind PEA 1.0 file format and can store an unlimited number of stream, but the format is not actually supported by current Pea archiving utility.
For an exaustive explanation and discussion of the format specifications please see the documentation about Pea archive format (.pdf).

Pea archiving and authenticated encryption utility

Pea executable is the engine implementing PEA file format archiving and extraction; it is released as open source freeware program under LGPLv3.
Pea archiving and file encryption utility can be compiled as an autocontained executable that can be used from batch scripts or invoked by a GUI frontend like PeaZip or it can be used also as library from external application; it supports it's native .pea archive format and also raw file split / join with optional integrity check ranging to CRCs to cryptographically strong hashes.


Data is compressed with a deflateencrypted compression utility based compression scheme (PCOMPRESS) defined in PEA file format specifications, resulting in compression ratio and compression speed similar to typical compressor of that class, like Zip, PKZip, GZip.
Please note that at present stage of development of PEA format maximum compression is out of the scope of the project; a fast and versatile deflate-based compression scheme was used in order to offer a reasonable tradeoff between compression ratio and speed to make PEA suitable for most uses.
For a standardised compression benchmark, including PeaZip's compression ratio using PEA format, you can look at Matt Mahoney's Large Text Compression Benchmarkencrypted archive format

Integrity check algorithms

Checksumfile authentication tool/CRC, hashfile authentication software and encryption algorithms are provided by Wolfgang Ehrhardt's Pascal/Delphi crypto library (under zlib license).



Pea: Object, Stream and Volume level; Raw file join/split optional integrity check


Adler32, CRC32, CRC64


MD5, SHA1, RIPEMD-160, SHA256, SHA512, Whirlpool

Pea: Stream level only

Authenticated encryption


File split and join

Pea's file split and join features are compatible with most file split applications; just provide an input file to split it to the desired output size.
Optionally Pea can save a control file containing checksum or hash (see Control algorithm paragraph) of each volume and of the original file, allowing file level and volume level integrity check, which will be ignored by other file split utilities.
Merging back the split file, Pea will check this control file and give a simple warning if it's not found, i.e. because the file was split by other file split application, or cast an error message if not matching.

Other features
Pea executable uses the implemented features (encryption, checksum/hash, randomness sampling etc...) for other general utility tasks, not necessarily related with file archiving, providing also:
  • secure data deletion
  • file checksum/hash utility
  • byte to byte file compare utility
You don't need a separate download for getting Pea archiving utility's executable, sources and documentation, since are part of the respective PeaZip packages.
Here, a brief table of features and limitations applying to file format and to current implementation:


PEA file format

Current implementation


Max archive size


up to 999999 volumes of 2^64-1 byte each; using 128 bit block encryption it would be safe not to encrypt more than 2^64 byte with same key, better staying one or more orders of magnitude below

Stream number

1.0: single stream;

2.0 unlimited number of streams;

Single stream (1.0 file format)



Optional Authenticated Encryption, at stream level only.

Integrity check

AE tag or hash or checksum at stream level, hash or checksum for input objects and output volumes

Error correction

No scheme featured

Communication recovery

Independent volume control check allow to identify corrupted volumes (first volume may be needed to know volume check algorithm)

No specific tool developed; volume check is done during extraction and then, allowing to repeat download only of corrupted volumes

Data recovery

Stream control tags allow to recognize correct streams, if better granularity is needed object control tags allow to recognize correct objects; input object names and POD trigger allow to identify objects and stream between the archive data;

No specific tool developed to try error resistant data extraction, however object check errors are reported to identify corrupted and non corrupted data if the extraction is successful

Support for multi volume output

Native, requires a single pass

Volume number


1..999999 (counter in output name)

Volume size

Volume tag size +1.. unlimited; first volume must contain at least 10 byte of data to allow parsing of the archive header, to allow unpacking application to  calculate volume tag size

Volume tag size +1.. 2^64-1 (qword variable) ; first volume must contain at least 10 byte of data


Native, requires single pass; schemes:

PCOMPRESS0: no compression; PCOMPRESS1..3 based on deflate using zlib's compres/uncompres, level 3, 6 and 9 respectively 

Solid archive

Not implemented compression modes featuring the possibility of creating solid archive


Input types

1.0: files and dirs;

2.0: files, dirs, metadata stored as messages triggers

Files and dirs (1.0)

Input objects number


Host system memory limited (input object list is stored in a dynamic array of strings)

Input object size (of single objects)



Input object qualified name size (size 0 mean that archive object is a trigger, no input object mapped to the archive object)


1..32K (exceeding needs, longer values are considered errors)


Objects attributes and last modification time, optionally comments and any kind of meta content using messages

Save object attributes and object last modification time. Restore only object attributes (on Windows), nothing on *x

Third parts technologies
Pea uses Wolfgang Ehrhardt's Pascal/Delphi crypto librarystrong encryption software

Software supporting PEA archives

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