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Looking for freeware lib for memory compression/decompression

I'm developing an app that reads in a relatively large text file (12 megs) before it can get started. Now I use a single raw read and do some parsing.

I'd like to reduce the load/launch time and thought I could shave some time by handling the file as compressed. I was hoping to get some guidance as to an easy to use freeware library (preferrably open source) that does speedy decompression. My thinking was to read it in, then do in-memory decompression. Also, I would want to be able to compress perhaps 5000 bytes to put in the registry as binary data. Some password protection or encription would be a plus, but not essential.

I'm getting ready to look at 7-up and ChilKat, but I thought I'd ask first before staring at them. I'm appreciate hearing from people with experience with either/both of the above, or a preferred alternative.

TIA
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ee-user
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ee-user
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
zlib (http://www.gzip.org/zlib/) is free and open source.
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
This MFC project uses zlib, so you may get some inspiration from it: http://www.codeproject.com/cpp/zip.asp?df=100&forumid=818&exp=0&select=742790

Here you can find Windows DLLs of zlib: http://www.winimage.com/zLibDll/
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vijay_visanaCommented:
If it is not neccessary  to read all file when your application show up use background worker thread.
If you provide some more detail about your application we may able to suggest some other way out.
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