Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Winds of WinZip Change

WinZip International, which used to be Nico Mak, is working on the next version of WinZip, WinZip 10. Like every new version, new features are added, but version 10 is bringing more changes.

I paid for WinZip about 10 or so years ago. I received every new version for free since then. I don't know of a single application that I use so much for so long and received so many updates for free. I really got my $29's worth.

I thought when I purchased WinZip, it said free upgrades for life. I only have a very basic receipt of my purchase, and no evidence, other than my memory, of the promise. I assume any promise was nullified when WinZip International took over. It looks like long time WinZip users will have to pay for the next version. At least the price doesn't seem to bad, $15 for the comparable version.

What do I mean by comparable version? The next WinZip will come in Standard and Pro versions. The Pro version adds features for people interested in using WinZip as a backup tool, like scheduling and CD/DVD burning. I have no interest in either and will opt for the Standard.

Why does it matter if you have Windows XP? Because like XP's CD burning, XP's Zip support is very basic and inadequate. Another advantage I find by using a third party tool comes is in usability. I've learned the in's and out's of WinZip. The way I work with WinZip and zip files is always the same whether I'm on Win2k or XP or another version of Windows.

"I use a third party tool. Why do I care?" Well, there is a lot competition for WinZip these days. Europe was ga-ga for WinRAR. The latest buzz seems to be around 7zip, which claims to be all solutions these days. It claims it can create portable Zip files more highly compressed than WinZip 10 beta. It also says its 7zip format beats WinRAR. Did I mention it's freeware?

What is not to like? Its interface and Explorer integration is like WinZip of 10 years ago. It could get better with time. Till then, I will probably put up the $15 for the next WinZip and maybe get another 10 years out of it. :-)

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