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WinZip 14 Plus (Standard)

December 6th, 2010 No comments
3 Stars- techdad
(Courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program)

Good ‘ole WinZip reappears! Most computer users from back in the late 90’s and early ’00’s are very familiar with WinZip.  It was really the only game in town and Microsoft Windows did not yet support the ZIP format natively.  As time passed however, a number of competitors, including native support in Windows, vanquished WinZip from most end-users’ consciousness.  Is WinZip 14, a product of Corel Corporation since mid-2006, worthy of your attention in 2010?

PROS
  • Nice Ribbon style interface
  • Windows 7 Integration including libraries and jump lists
  • Secure destruction of temporary files from opened compressed files
  • Easy encryption of compressed files
  • New ZIPX compression improves compression ratio and compresses JPG files
  • Supports many compression files including RAR, ISO, 7Z, CAB & others
CONS
  • ZIPX format not widely adopted yet
  • E-mail companion only works with local e-mail clients
  • Expensive bundle
  • Requires Internet activation
First off, if you don’t deal with a lot of compressed files, there is no point to owning WinZip or any other advanced file compression application.  If you just unzip a few zip files that come your way, native support in Windows is just fine.  There are also a plethora of free and open source programs available as well.  However, if you do have a need to manage lots and lots of compressed files, an application like WinZip 14 Standard Edition makes life a lot easier.  Several years ago, I favored WinRAR for it’s ease of use and great compression.  However, I didn’t feel like paying for upgrades any longer so I switched to the open source 7-Zip, which has served me well for the past few years.  In the work place, I have also used Power Archiver, which I found to be overkill for my personal needs, but an amazing program nonetheless.  Though I consider myself a power user, even WinZip 14 is more than I need, but I am happy to have it by my side.

INSTALL
The installation was simple.  When inserting the CD-ROM, setup starts and then connects to the Internet and downloads the latest version onto your desktop and begins installation.  Once complete, you are required to enter your activation key and name to activate WinZip.  Oddly, I launched WinZip after completing the install, only to be asked for the registration again.

INTERFACE
The interface is nice to look at if not a bit busy.  Of course, with all of the features added to WinZip since I last used it (a decade ago?), I suppose they needed to add more buttons/selections to the toolbar.  For the most part, I found what I needed with minimal effort and preferred the ribbon style menu as opposed to the wizard and legacy menus.  I also liked the thumbnail view of files in a compressed file.

PERFORMANCE
It performed well in all operations I performed, including creating, opening, encrypting and extracting files.  However, I could not find a significant performance difference between WinZip and 7-Zip or Power Archiver.

FEATURES
The standard edition does not have backup functions or the ability to view images inside a compressed file.  For those features, you need to upgrade to the PRO version.  The standard edition though, has most of the features that an advanced user might want or need including the ability to encrypt compressed files, create self-extracting files, and spanning compressed files into smaller files.  With storage being relatively cheap these days, I don’t find a significant need to compress files very often other than for delivery over e-mail.  Unfortunately, the WinZip 14 Plus bundle’s included e-mail companion only works if you happen to use a local e-mail client.  The integration is seamless, sure, but the use of local e-mail clients is shrinking with each passing moment.  For corporations, the Outlook integration is probably useful.  But for end users like myself, who have relied on web e-mail for years now, a browser plug-in would’ve been cool, if that were even possible.

SUMMARY
WinZip 14 is a very good compression application.  For average users, it is probably unnecessary and relying on open source or native support in Windows is probably sufficient.  Power users will find a lot to like in the 14th iteration of WinZip.  Still, Corel has stiff competition.  Between WinZip 14 Standard and Power Archiver 2010 Standard, it would be hard to choose, but I’d likely go with Power Archiver because of price as well as the ability to preview images within the archive.  WinZip 14 by itself is a 4 star application, but this overpriced bundle with e-mail companion can only muster 3.
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