When working with client management you sooner or later will end up in a situation where you need pack or compress a number of files. Handle one singel file is always easier than trying control a number of files or a entire file structure. Collecting or compressing files can be done in many ways, but if you really want a Swiss knife archiver I can recommend ZPAC by Matt Mahony (ZPAC home page).
To add files to a archive file (see example below)
zpaq add D:\Backup\files.zpaq C:\Documents\
This command will get all files in the structure "C:\Docouments" and add them to the file "C:\Backup\files.zpaq". Default files will be compressed and this tool uses deduplication with is create if there are a file structure containing smilare or same files over and over again.
You can change compression level depending on what you want to accomplice. I my tests i used a Windows OS image with the size 5.2GB. With default compression the new file was 4.9GB and it took 204 seconds to pack the file. I change compression metod to three (3) and the new file was smaller but by a fraction, 4,85GB and it took 592 seconds. If it had been a normal file structure I think the compression result had been much better.
To extract files you use the following command
zpaq extract D:\Backup\files.zpaq C:\Documents -to C:\Temp
This will extract "C:\Documents" from the files "D:\Backup\files.zpaq" to "C:\Temp".
ZPAQ is build to be a backup tool with a lot of features that normal archiver do not have. Give it a try and find the speed and simplicity of a tool that can be used in many situations.