As time moves on, the size of software and files found on your computer gets bigger. A photo will have more pixels in it and be larger, video files are now being distributed in 4K which means bigger file sizes than before. The same applies to games, some can now be as much as a 50GB download on platforms such as Steam. Applications are also growing, the latest Microsoft Office installation is now much bigger than it used to be.
As everything grows in size, it becomes more of a problem when you are trying to move or copy the files to a more restricted medium. For instance, you might be trying to send a video file via email which has an attachment size limit. Or you could be trying to backup or copy large files, such as ISO images, onto optical media or flash drives. If the file is too big for the space limit you have available, it needs to be split into separate parts.
Splitting files into smaller parts that can then be joined together again later on, is done all the time on the internet. It’s also quite common to split a large file when you have to fit it onto several CDs, DVDs or even floppies. Curiously Windows itself has the capacity to join already split files, but can’t split the file in the first place. For that you need a third party method, here are 7 ways for you to do it. All methods were tested on Windows 7 and 10.
FFSJ makes quite a bold claim of being the fastest file splitter and joiner program, but there’s no doubt it is a small, efficient and easy to use tool. It comes as either a Lite or Standard version. Lite is a standalone executable while the Standard installer version includes the context menu option that can split and join by right click. FFSJ also has a command line interface so files can be split and joined from batch scripts or the Command Prompt.
Splitting a file is easy and you only need to drop a file onto the window or manually locate it, choose a different output directory if required and set the split method. The file can be split according to a specific number of parts or a specific size. The Encrypt data option is useful as only those that know the password can rejoin the files.
For joining files you only have to drag and drop or locate the first file in the set and supply a save to directory. A password will be required if you encrypted the files. The MD5 Checksum tab allows you to get the checksum of the file before splitting, then a joined file can be verified to see if its checksum matches.
KFK is by KC Softwares who also make other well known tools like Sumo. In addition to splitting and joining files, KFK also has an option to burn the files to disc (if you have the shareware VSO CopytoDVD software) and also offers disk spanning by splitting a file over multiple floppy disks.
It’s possible to drop a file onto the KFK window or you can browse for one manually. For splitting, you can choose either to set a specific number of parts or a specific size of each part. The “Generate automatic rebuild file” check box creates a batch script with the files so you can join them together without using KFK. DO NOT download the Regular version of KFK from the KC website as it contains adware, get the Lite or portable version (yellow icon) instead.
3. GSplit 3
GSplit is definitely the program with the most advanced options here. Not only can it automatically span a file across several removable devices (floppies, USB flash drives etc), GSplit can also create custom tags for the files and a custom self uniting program. There’s even a batch option where a number of files can be split one after the other (using the Several Files button).
There are four standard split methods; by numbers of files, by the size of each file, entering the size of each file individually or even splitting a text file by line. The self uniting function (SFU) adds an executable to the files so they can be joined without GSplit. The SFU file can be customized with your own messages, a picture, a chosen destination folder, run a program after splitting and auto start/end. The Express button is a faster way to quickly split a file from a single window. Both installer and portable versions of GSplit 3 are available.
4. Split Files Using an Archiving Program (PeaZip)
One of the most known about methods of splitting files into multiple parts is by using a file archiver. Most archiving software has the ability to create a multi part Zip or 7z archive. You will often come across multi part archives when downloading games, videos and other large files from the internet. This is especially true when downloading files created by groups, who have their own sets of rules when splitting large files for distribution.
We’re looking at PeaZip because it can actually split files two different ways. The first is creating a multi part archive. The second is the traditional method of directly splitting the file like the tools above. PeaZip is also a very good general archiver which is something most people will want on their computer. There is a portable version if you would rather not install PeaZip.
To create a multi part archive start PeaZip, press Add and drop the file onto the window. Choose where to save the split files and in the drop down boxes select Self extracting 7Z, Store, and the size of the split files. There are 9 size presets or you can select Custom and enter a specific size in KB, MB or GB. With the self extracting 7Z you can send the files to someone to join without an archiver installed. If that’s not required, select standard 7Z or Zip instead.
Creating a standard split file can be done in two ways inside PeaZip. The easy option is to press Add, select the file to split and the output path in the same way as above, then choose Split in the top drop down. Select the split size in the bottom drop down and start the process. An alternative split window is in Tools > PeaUtils although here the output path is locked to the same as the input file.
The PeaUtils window is also where you can join split parts together again. Click the drop down and select Join spanned file, then locate the first file in the set (.001) or drop it onto the window. PeaUtils is actually a separate standalone program and available from the PeaZip website. Therefore, you can use split, join or use any other options available in the drop down without using PeaZip.
5. Split And Join Files With a File Manager (FreeCommander)
A number of free programs like NexusFile, Double Commander, and Explorer++ have the ability to split and join files. We’re looking at FreeCommander because it has the added option of creating a small executable file that can join the files together without the need for FreeCommander or any other program. For some reason, the newer FreeCommander XE doesn’t have the split and join files feature but the older FreeCommander 2009 does.
Browse for the file to split within FreeCommander and then press the Split button in the toolbar (or press Ctrl+Shift+I). In the Split File window select the target folder and whether to split the file to a specific number or parts or to a set size for each file. Optionally check the Create EXE box to include the self joining executable and press OK to start. A slight oversight is the custom size box does not accept values higher than MB, so for 1GB, you would have to use 1024 MB and etc.
If you don’t create a joining executable, FreeCommander creates a small batch script alongside the split files that joins them using the Windows Copy command. As there is no option to join the files in FreeCommander itself, you will have to use one of those two methods instead. Alternatively, use a dedicated joining tool like IgorWare File Joiner that can be integrated into the context menu.
6. Split and Join Files Webpage
When dropping a file onto the window make sure it’s dropped inside the gray area where it says “Drop files here…”, otherwise the file will simply resave itself through the browser. A new box will pop up to select the size for each file, Bytes, Kilobytes or Megabytes are accepted. The green numbered buttons are the split files and you simply click on each to download it or click “Save all in a Zip” to get the files in a single package.
To join everything back into a single file drop all the parts onto the gray box, select a filename if the default is not adequate and press Save. You can also add files to the list from other locations by using the Add more button. Split and Join is not that fast and does struggle splitting and joining larger files (in the Gigabytes), but it’s great for something a few hundred Megabytes you just want to split quickly into smaller parts. And you only need a web browser to do it.
7. Use Tweaking And Repair Software (Glary Utilities)
This last method is similar to file managers in that it’s the type of application you might expect to find an integrated file splitter and joiner. In this case, the popular Glary Utilities has a split and join option included in both its free and paid versions.
Browse for the file to split and enter a save to path if it’s to be different than the input path. Select from the predefined file sizes or enter a custom value and finally choose whether to “Add self joining functionality to the split files set”. This option saves an executable file which you can launch to automatically join the files without requiring Glary Utilities.
Joining files is self explanatory, select any one of the split files, choose the output directory for the joined file and press the button. Another similar application called Puran Utilities also has a built in file splitter and joiner. The Puran file splitter program also comes as a standalone version with options to create a joining executable or batch file.