WinZip 9.0 review: WinZip 9.0

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
  • Overall: 8.6
  • Installation and interface: 9.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good WinZip offers easy installation; beginner and power-user modes; improved AES encryption; larger 64-bit archive sizes.

The Bad WinZip provides no telephone support.

The Bottom Line WinZip 9.0 is the easiest-to-use and most powerful compression program available. No PC should be without WinZip.

CNET Editors' Choice Mar '04

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Review summary

WinZip has long been the foremost application for dealing with compressed files, and version 9.0 maintains the tradition. The new upgrade keeps the familiar Windows Explorer interface, drag-and-drop capability, right-click menu integration, and a foolproof Wizard option that makes any archiving task a snap. WinZip 9.0 improves the already rock-solid classic Zip program by adding stronger AES encryption and greater archive size to this powerful utility. WinZip also integrates fully with popular e-mail programs and antivirus software. Priced at $29 for new users and free for registered users of all previous versions, WinZip 9.0 is a sound investment for any PC. WinZip 9.0 is straightforward to install: just click the 2.3MB installer file and follow the usual prompts to accept the license agreement and the default directory location. The installer lets you associate WinZip with several different kinds of compression archive files, such as ARC, LZH, and TGZ. Unless you also use another compression app, such as PKZip or StuffIt , simply make WinZip your default.

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During installation, you can specify which archive types to associate WinZip with.

The installation process finishes by asking if you'd rather start out with WinZip's Classic interface or with its newer and easy-to-use Wizard interface. Power users will be more comfortable in Classic mode, with its traditional Explorer-like display of files within archives. Beginners and those unfamiliar with Windows and ZIP files in general will want the well-designed Wizard instead. The Wizard patiently guides you through a series of questions that either creates or extracts ZIP file archives.

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WinZip launches with either the Classic Explorer interface or as a wizard.

After installation, the app will search your system for ZIP files and, if you want, create a Favorite Zip folder. This folder organizes files into one convenient list, sorted by date. WinZip maintains the Favorites list thereafter, guaranteeing easy access to your newly created ZIP file archives regardless of where they came from or where they are stored on your system. WinZip 9.0 adds two very important features to keep it on top of the archiving scene: stronger encryption and support for the extended 64-bit ZIP file format.

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Easily encrypt your ZIP files by just entering a password.

WinZip's adoption of 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryption brings version 9.0 up-to-date with the latest security developments as well as with direct competitors such as PKZip. AES is significantly more secure than the Zip 2.0 encryption scheme used in previous versions. Another security improvement is that WinZip 9.0 can now encrypt files already in a zip archive; previous versions of WinZip could only encrypt files as they were being zipped.

With version 9.0, you can finally exceed the 4GB archive size limit found in previous versions of WinZip. By supporting the larger 64-bit ZIP file format, WinZip 9.0 no longer has any practical restrictions on the size of ZIP files or the number of compressed files contained within a zip archive.

The addition of these new features does not change WinZip's ease of use. WinZip has long been tightly integrated with Windows, with convenient options such as one-click zip and e-mail right from Windows Explorer. Besides all of its standard zipping and unzipping features, WinZip can also create self-extracting executable files, split archives, and provide one-click access to any setup or installation programs contained within a zip archive.
WinZip 9.0 is very easy to use, but should you run into any problems or questions, its context-sensitive help system is extremely useful. WinZip's documentation is clear, well organized, and thorough. Online, WinZip's Web site offers an extensive FAQ section.

There's also a handy WinZip Tutor for new users that explains basic zip concepts and walks you through the process of zipping and unzipping files.

If you have a problem that you can't resolve by pressing F1 or visiting the FAQ, WinZip Computing also provides free e-mail technical support for registered users. Unfortunately, telephone support is not available.

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WinZip 9.0

Part Number: WINZIP9.0 Released: Feb 24, 2004
Pricing is currently unavailable.

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  • Release date Feb 24, 2004