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Microsoft Compression Formats

While making a Xpress Huffman compressor (for the Windows 8 bootmgr) I did a lot of research on different Microsoft compression formats. I have summarized my findings in the table below. If you have anything to add to or correct in the table below please tell me!

I plan to release source code for LZNT1, LZX, Xpress (Lz), and Xpress Huffman compression and decompression. My goal is to have faster and/or better compressors than the Microsoft provided ones.

Enlarge Table

Algorithm Appearance Basis Usage MSDN Availability
MSZIP 1994 deflate[1]
  • CAB files[1]
  • Dir. Repl. Serv. (LDAP/RPC/AD)[MS-DRSR]
Quantum 1994 LZ
  • CAB files
Not mentioned at all
LZNT1 1995 NT 3.51[2] LZSS
  • NTFS file compression[2][MS-FSCC]
  • Win 2000 hibernation file[3]
  • Active Directory[MS-ADTS]
  • File Replication Serv.[MS-FRS1]
  • Vista SuperFetch[4]
  • Vista and Win 7 bootmgr
LZX 1995[5] (1997) LZ77[5]
  • CAB files[1]
  • CHM and LIT files
  • Xbox Live Avatars
  • WIM*[6] (good)
2000 Win 2000 LZX
  • Windows Updates
  • MSP files
Xpress (LZ)
2001 XP[3] LZ77 &
  • XP and newer hibernation file[3]
  • Dir. Repl. Serv. (LDAP/RPC/AD)[MS-DRSR]
  • Windows Update Services [MS-WUSP]
  • Win CE
Xpress Huffman ? LZ77 &
  • Dist. File System Replication[MS-FRS2]
  • WIM[6] (fast)
  • Win 7 SuperFetch[4]
  • Win 8 bootmgr
RDC 2005 Ser 2003 R2 RSYNC
TLZ 2012? Win 8?[7] ?
  • Win 8 hibernation file?[7]
Not mentioned at all
  1. Microsoft Cabinet Format
  2. Optimizing NTFS
  3. Windows Hibernation File for Fun 'n' Profit
  4. Windows SuperFetch file format – partial specification
  5. Compression Resources - Glossary
  6. Windows Imaging File Format (WIM)
  7. R.I.P. Xpress - Welcome TLZ


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