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WinZip 15 Standard Plus [OLD VERSION]
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullChange
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 13, 2011
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
[Update: Bump down to 3 stars]

The venerable Winzip is now in version 15. I have to admit right off that I have never bought a copy of Winzip, preferring instead either to keep "agreeing" to buy it then using it anyway or to use some of the other free unzipping utilities such as 7-Zip, but there's the thing: the free zip tools are really excellent so WinZip has simply got to do an outstanding job before the normal user will pony up the cash for it. Has WinZip convinced me? Read on.

The installation went smoothly, it asked a few questions then when I provided the necessary information (the installation key and just my email address--not sure why they want my physical address, etc. which I declined to give), finished the installation. Because the product I got also had the WinZip Courier, I next installed that. This particular tool allows a seamless interaction with email software and allows you to send files zipped in transit from the windows file manager window. Nice touch.
One thing I do not like about some software these days is the rather ugly sales pitch that ends up on the ribbon. I'm talking about the Upgrade button! I have already bought the product and every time I use it, there's this icon whose only purpose is to pressure the user to buy an upgrade.

After installing, I checked for a version upgrade which it found. I did find the updating feature not as intrinsic as I wished. I believe a software update should download in the background then seamlessly replace the out-of-date software without unnecessary computer restarts and so on. Before the update, WinZip behaved strangely. Clicking on the help button was supposed to open a CHM file which did not exist so updating immediately is a good thing.

Using it is the same old, same old if you're unzipped a file in the last decade. There are some interesting options that you won't find in most other unzip software, such as Zip and Email, 1-Click Unzip, and the ability to Burn a CD/DVD and even FTP upload; add to this Backups through some predefined jobs and it seems WinZip 15 wants to be a one-stop shop for all your file management requirements. I haven't tried the other features, but zip works just the same as it always has, thankfully.

With WinZip Courier, I didn't realize at first that when opening the file choice window there would be a pair of small buttons at the bottom of that window with the "zip" and "encrypt" automatically checked so when sending attachments via Outlook or Gmail, don't be surprised to get a window to choose your password. WinZip also adds new icons to the ribbon of Outlook as well, which is a nice touch.
The one thing I did not like though, and the sole reason why I use WinRAR is that I can "move" files out of a zipped file instead of "copying"/extracting them. This means that once I "move" the files out of the archive, the original zip file gets deleted automatically. WinZip doesn't do this, no matter what I do. I for one don't like extracting files out of an archive while keeping the original archive file on disk. It would streamline my use of WinZip if they did that in the next update.

WinZip opens and can work with a very large variety of archive type files from the usual zip to tar, gzip, and even iso images so it's no slouch in that regard. Apart from the few annoyances, I would recommend WinZip for those who want a nice interface with ease-of-usage convenience. Otherwise, you'll do just as well with 7-Zip if what you're interested in is the core functionality of zipping and unzipping archives.

3.5 stars out of 5

[Update: 4/11/2011 I've now used WinZip for a bit more time and I've noticed some more issues that other unzip programs don't seem to have. For example, uncompressing a rar archive file that had 100 sub-folders with Winzip consistently failed whereas WinRAR consistently opened this same file without issue. Because of this, I'm bumping this down to 3 stars]

[Update: 7/12/2011 I've just discovered a slightly annoying bug: I tried opening a RAR archive file with WinZip and got a complaint from the program that the archive was corrupt. I downloaded the same archive from three different servers and each time, WinZip croaked out a complaint about corruption. Luckily, I had both 7-Zip and WinRAR installed and tried those with no complaints. As it turned out, WinZip may not have liked that there were folders with special characters (in this case, an apostrophe) in the name. Groan.]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 23, 2011
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am old enough to remember using PKZIP on DOS machines and several early WinZip versions for Windows. Starting with the previous version (14) WinZip would work with Windows 7, so what does this newer version bring to the table? Basically you get a cleaner interface, a desktop "gadget" which allows you to drag and drop files on your desktop, faster speed for video encoding (extremely useful in this YouTube age!) and more email integration, including GMail and others. You can also define multiple e-mail addresses and accounts. The price is quite reasonable, but you can try it out first for a trial period before deciding to register and unlock the program. WinRar, a competing program lets you use the free version without a time limit, but adds annoying "nagware" reminders which get in the way of smooth operations. The Pro version, for $20 more, adds more file manipulation inside the zip folder, especially for photos and graphics files, but I doubt most people will need that extra functionality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This old-school application has a large hurdle to cross: making itself seem compelling versus the many incarnations of freeware and opensource tools that do similar things, other free tools that do the exact same thing (manipulate zip files), and popular file formats that need neither compression nor archiving.

Unfortunately Winzip 15 not only fails to be compelling, it turns out to be hasslesome for the user, and rapidly outdated by the vendor. This relic of the past is only useful if you're already familiar with its UI, or need to zip/unzip a lot of things emailed via Microsoft Outlook.

Zip and its variants are a common compression format in the Windows world, but increasingly this kind of compression matters less. Popular image formats are inherently compressed (JPEG, PNG, GIF, others). Modern lossy video is compressed, as are audio formats like MP3. Modern versions of MS Office already natively store their contents in a zip format (ie, .docx). Apps and software distributions come pre-compressed. And what data remains is likely rather small versus modern hard-drive storage (or if you generate large quantities of your own data, you probably already have access to more powerful tools like linux command-line compression utilities).

Email integration is offered with Outlook, a large, complex package that is aimed at corporate MS Exchange users. It's likely that your more tech-centric users will be sharing their files via Dropbox, Google Drive, or Sky Drive, among many other popular online filesharing mechanisms, rather than emailing them.

All that considered, I was still hoping for something more intuitive than freeware 7-zip for my mom to use, but I don't see this interface as being any easier for somebody not already familiar with the semantics of compression/archiving/file-storage.

It breaks common Windows UI methods such as you can't "paste" into the winzip (you have to drag and drop, inconvenient across large displays or multi-head setups). You can't navigate to the files either, only to zip files (and there are confusing messages if you try to add a zipped file to your zip file). The "ribbon" interface is trying to ape MS Office, but is poorly organized. There are still old useless options, like the "split" setting for making your zip archive span multiple floppies. I mean, really?? (yes, you can split across multiple optical disks too, but that's not the first setting, nor all that useful) The app is a single-tasking one-- I can't do anything else in the app while it adds files (can't browse the archive, or queue up additional items), very last-decade.

I thought the UI might be improved in later updates, so I ran the in-application updater, which turns out to be a separate download via web browser and "fresh" install (a jarring diversion from the in-app updates common in the last few years). This was a mistake. Version 15.5 completely broke the Winzip15 installation on my Windows 7 64-bit system (current updates), resulting in a "English language definitions not found in the registry, exiting" error when I tried to start the app. I'll also add that I hate the old-school error messages, mysterious pointless errors that don't allow any diagnosis or offer any explanation.

To make matters worse, the updater had offered me version 15.5. In the year since 15.0 came out, Winzip has released versions 16 and 17, which a recent purchaser would have to buy. That's a terrible upgrade model. Winzip's parent software company Corel seems to have a habit of acquiring big-name fading software brands (eg, Wordperfect) and then rapidly releasing new versions at lowish prices and through non-traditional channels, presumably making money on the volume. It's not an approach that lends itself to quality software products, in my estimation.

Two stars because it does work, but the broken updater on a popular platform, and the lack of a good reason to use this package make this Not Recommended, unless the familiarity of "good ol' winzip" is important to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2011
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
WinZip is the file compression software to beat. There are certainly many other companies trying to compete with this ongoing trustworthy tool, but you will always go back to WinZip if you ever stray away.

WinZip is fast, and saves space better than ever. It makes sending something via email much easier, for instance, audio or video files. Less bouncing back because the file was too big.

So it covers your compression and sharing needs, but also has security features keeping your content private. You can store files on your system with password protection, or give files to others that have the password.

There are plenty of tools on board to work with various media and file types. You can attach your work from the program to email. You can shink or resize files before compressing, saving even more space. And it features an easy to understand and helpful organization system that will keep track of every file and it's location. It's much more than file compression these days, they have moved forward to utilize their product as a necessity, not only for work, but home office, and personal collections.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
[see UPDATES at bottom]

PROS:
* an essential tool for most Windows users
* allows you to create a complete set of related files in one file, while retaining the original directory structure, if any
* makes it easy for sharing files by keeping them all together, and by compressing them so they can be transferred faster
* includes an encryption capability to set a password to retrieve files you want to keep confidential
* includes a very useful shell extension for extract, add, or create a new archive
* a Mac edition of WinZip allows you to exchange files with a Mac user who has this program
* extracts from most common archive formats besides zip, including RAR, 7z, TAR, ISO, CAB, and several others
* single-user license agreement allows you to install on a second machine (for non-simultaneous use only), handy for users who have a laptop and a desktop
* can open and view a file in a zip archive without extracting it, by right-clicking on the file and selecting Open.
* works correctly with files made from my older WinZip 9 (standard zip file format), as I expected it would
* the enhanced zip file format - which cannot be read by older versions of WinZip - has a new extension, zipx, to avoid confusion

CONS:
* a couple of very minor inconveniences, described below

UPDATE: I am biased by my habit of using pkzip and WinZip for decades. Some of my friends prefer to use WinRAR and 7zip, so I have added a section describing Alternatives near the end.

WINZIP IS NEARLY ESSENTIAL...

WinZip is one of those tools that I think most PC and Mac users would find essential. The Pros above sum up the reasons. Though disk space is relatively inexpensive these days, and though Windows allows you to compress parts of your file system, it is incredibly useful to be able to create an archive of any number of related or inter-dependent files, including complete directory structures of files, for backup purposes, etc. While compressed media files (jpg, mp3, etc) do not always become smaller in an archive, it is still great to be able to keep a set of files together.

If you want to exchange files, it is convenient to have one file that contains all of the ones you want to share, and compressing it makes the transfer time (via Internet, or a thumb drive) faster. The ability to password-protect an archive makes it safe and convenient to exchange confidential files - for example, getting reports from a financial adviser using a mutually-known password.

Although the zip archive format is essentially a standard on Windows, WinZip extracts files from several other archive standards, including some that are common on Linux. And for Mac users, there is a Mac edition, so you can exchange files with either Windows or Mac users.

For people who need the features I have described, and don't have a program to do it at present, WinZip is a five-star utility.

...BUT IS IT WORTH UPGRADING TO THIS VERSION?

I have been using a licensed copy of WinZip 9.0 for several years. It does everything I need, and I consider WinZip an essential tool. So why would I need to upgrade? I decided to find out when I was offered a chance to review WinZip 15.

First and most important, the newest version still supports the original zip file format, which means that you can still provide archives to others who have an older version of WinZip. However, you need to make sure you select the option to do that, as the newest zip format is not backwards compatible.

Media files such as jpg and mp3 are already in a compressed form, and with my older WinZip 9 (and most other compression programs), it is not possible to compress them further. It is convenient to put several files into one archive, and doing that can make disk storage more efficient and use less space, even without compression. But the newest zip format claims to compress jpg files by 20-25%. I tested it with 714 pictures from India, totalling about 690 MB, and it saved 21% space, but took about twice as long (I did not time it). This only works with the zipx format. The original zip format does not compress jpgs, but it stores them more efficiently than separate files, so it saves 1% compared to separate.

MP3 files are compressed about 1% with either zip or zipx compression. For mp3, zipx takes longer to archive than zip with no obvious benefit.

A folder with 145 MS Office (XLS, PPT) and PDF files totalling 383 MB was compressed by 17% in 73 seconds to the original zip file format. The same folder was compressed by 20% in 143 seconds (almost twice as long) to the new zipx file format.

Actual performance will vary depending on files, but these results represent typical files for me. I ran my tests on a laptop with duocore processor on WinXP. I don't have the previous version of WinZip, so I cannot comment on whether the new zip engine in this version "creates Zipx files 30% to 50% faster than the previous version". Since installing this version also uninstalls previous version, it is not convenient to compare performance with older versions, and I did not. Subjectively, WinZip 15 to zip (standard) format about as WinZip 9, and somewhat slower (with somewhat more compression) for the new zipx format.

The package claims that WinZip has a streamlined interface with more intuitive menus and icons. Except for newer icons, the interface is similar to what I was used to. I don't think it is easier to use, but it was good before, and is still good.

For people who need the features I have described, and don't have a program to do it at present, WinZip is a three-star upgrade, considering benefits to price. WinZip 9 would still be good enough for me, but now that I have WinZip 15, I'll use it instead.

MINOR ISSUES

Windows allows you to select a custom directory to be used for "My Documents", for example when you want to have your home directory on a different drive from the system directory. Most programs correctly locate the new "My Documents" directory if you change it, but WinZip 15.0 does not. But this is never a problem for me, as I normally start WinZip by right-clicking on an archive or a file I want to compress, then selecting WinZip from the popup menu. It always finds the correct directory in this case.

WinZip 15 installed from the CD, and next time I used it, it offered an update for a better compression engine. When it downloaded, it also offered me an unwanted download: Kaspersky Security. Because this is enabled by default, you could get it downloaded and installed by mistake, potentially causing problems for an existing anti-virus program. If you are alert, you can easily decline. Personally, when I'm installing a program, I don't want to be offered a different program, especially when it is a trial version that will nag you to buy an upgrade later. If I wanted that program, I'd go to the Web and download it. This is effectively a paid ad, and I don't want it. But I won't encounter this often, so who cares.

WINZIP COURIER 3.0 INCLUDED

WinZip 15 Plus edition includes a program that works with a few email systems that is said to make it easy to use zip compression with email. This program supports Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Gmail. But because it does not support my preferred mail client, Thunderbird, I have not tested it. It is easy enough for me to open zip files from Thunderbird with WinZip, so I can already do everything I need, and I don't know how this program could make things easier than they are already.

ALTERNATIVE ARCHIVE PROGRAMS

Zip has been a standard archive format for PC since the DOS days and PKZIP. It is a defacto standard that many people use. However, there are two others worth considering, and they also support the Zip format.

WINRAR is shareware available online. It is compatible with the Zip file format, and offers a few more features over WinZip that will be of use to some power users - advanced self-extracting archive features, additional security features, and support for more human languages. It costs about the same as WinZip Standard.

7zip is a free, open source archive program also available online. It can pack many archive formats (including its native 7z, Zip, and Linux formats) and unpack many others. It claims to offer better compression in Zip format than WinZip. It is localized into even more human languages, self-extracting archive capability, and has most of the other features of WinZip.

Both WinRAR and 7zip have at least some support on Mac and Linux, which is helpful if you need to move files between these platforms and/or Windows.

If I did not already have WinZip, I would be looking at 7zip, and you might want to as well.

BOTTOM LINE: I consider WinZip to be an essential tool for most users, and all power users. But if you are already happy with an older version of WinZip (such as version 9), it may not be an essential upgrade, unless you need to compress jpg files.

UPDATE 6/22/2011

WinZip 15.0 nags me to upgrade to 15.5. Finally I did it. In running the setup program, there are two crash messages at different points in the setup. I have Visual C++ installed so instead of a standard Windows crash, I have an offer to debug it, and it does not say what has crashed. However, it still seems to install ok.

The 15.5 update also wants to install Kapersky anti-virus, which is "free". I have not tried this, but I assume that it is a special edition with some functionality at the expense of regularly nagging you to buy the upgrade. I already have Norton, so I don't need this. Watch carefully, as they kind of lull you into installing it if you're not careful. It is NOT required for using WinZip. Of course, if you don't have an anti-virus program, you need one.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this WinZip15 Plus compression software package from the Amazon Vine program for review. Here's my take on it:

I've been a WinZip user since early days (originally PKZip), however, my last paid version was out of date, so I am pleased to test this new one and comment.

Inside the box are two CDs, the WinZip program that works with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (I use XP), also WinZip Courier 3.0, a program that creates smaller compressed files for email and file sharing (email can be done right from the WinZip window and the program supports Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail and Google's Gmail-I still use Eudora and haven't checked to see if that one is compatible-but having the ability to email from WinZip without opening the email program is a great time saving asset).

What's new in the WinZip15? Instant files compression saves time, plus you can open and extract files from all major compressed formats. When using WinZip Courier 3.0, you can preview and edit the contents of a file without having to open it. Password-based AES encryption allows the securing of confidential files and organizing zip related files into small logical packages is a snap.

Installation was super easy. The drag and drop function and cleaner interface make this a winner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Win Zip is a great program to reduce images, documents, music or files that would normally take up much space on the desktop and allow the data to be reduced for the purpose of storage, sending or moving quickly without losing data or information.

Great for students who need to collect files or images for reports. Great for everyone else to transmit efficiently and faster. I also really like the user interface - its very much like Windows 7. Clear and simple and easy to figure out.

The menu is detailed and easy to understand. Adding files, reading of data and the accuracy of reduction can also be seen. It breaks it down to photos, documents, data fields and even an extraction commentary to note your files to receivers. Easy to guide yourself through and also the help function takes you direct to their website with detailed answers to issues you may have. I wish all programs did something like this.

WinZip Courier is the companion program that (compresses) the documents and other files that you attach to Microsoft Outlook e-mail messages. Zipping attachments saves transmission time and disk storage for both the sender and receiver of the e-mail allowing for a more speedy e-mail sending and retrieval for both parties.

It also helps you use your Microsoft Office applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook). From your Microsoft Outlook client, you can zip any attachments in a variety of different ways; from your Office products, you can instantly zip and e-mail any file on which you are working or save the file as a Zip file again speed and compression is greatly reduced.

Great program for the price and if you have large files, images, music or whatever to send...this allows your mail servers to send things quicker and completely. I would recommend this as a basic program for all. 3-6-11
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 9, 2011
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been using various version of WinZip since back when it was still shareware. I have purchased a couple versions along the way, too...since I use it all the time and it is always solid and simple to use. As far as compression utilities go this remains one of the best, if not THE best, Windows tools out there. Version 15 adds a lot of features and options, but at the core it still does the basics quickly and easily. Also, runs great on my Windows 7 64-bit system...very fast compression and decompression. Any Windows user that needs to store, move, or email large files (or several files at a time) needs this program. It doesn't get much easier.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2011
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've been using WinZip for years. I'm just as happy with this version as the previous ones.

Courier, on the other hand, was a pain. I'm not sure what it did, but it made it so I couldn't send out any files in Outlook. The files appeared to attach correctly and were zipped up, but the emails would not send. It would claim it couldn't find the attached files. ??? I had to remove Courier and then it worked fine.

I recommend WinZip, but don't recommend installing Courier.

Note: I have Windows 7 with Outlook 2010.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 17, 2012
Platform: PC DiscEdition: nullVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Up to Version 15, and the "Plus" is really a PLUS. The "Courier" automatically zips files to be attached to emails. Given the filters on so many mail systems, this is a very handy feature for moving photos, presentations, and other files that are SO much larger now than they were when the mail systems were set up.

The only downside is that this version is a larger one, but given the size of hard drives, who'll really notice? Excellent product.
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