freeware zip programs

A little while ago, I got fed up with WinZip. It's still probably my favourite zip program (although that could partially be because it's the only one I've ever used before), but the Internet and Open Source and freeware have spoiled me. Why pay, when there's (usually) an equivalent freeware program?

So I spent a bit of time digging for compression programs. There's a lot out there.

In the end, I winnowed my choices down to three: 7zip, ZipGenius, and IZArc. I also liked the look of JustZipIt but it doesn't support other zip formats (such as 7z, rar), so that was out.

And to be honest, I'm still having trouble choosing between them.

7zip is my favourite in terms of size (a mere 2.76MB) and compression format compatability, but I find the interface a little clunky. IZArc has a better interface, and supports a slew of compression formats. It's a little heavier (about 5MB), and it has the extremely irritating behaviour of using one-click navigation in its explorer pane. I cannot find anywhere to turn it off, and this nags at me. ZipGenius is the biggest install (a whopping 15MB). It has a workable interface that, of the three, is most similar to WinZip's; and of course it also supports a slew of compression formats. All three have a "test archive" feature which I love. But none of the three offer path-storing properties I'm entirely happy with.

Irritatingly, the storing of file path information is the feature I depend on most, because of my backup habits. (I backup to a DVD every 3 or 4 months. In between times, I backup new or changed files weekly or fortnightly to my gmail account, and daily to a USB drive. Storing relative path information is vital in this, as it allows the easiest restore imaginable. And when you've been through data loss, it doesn't take a genius to work out that you don't want extra stress.)

So for the moment I'm using ZipGenius, because it's path-storing habits were the ones I learned to work with first. Although the install size still bugs me, and I may yet revert to IZArc. Or 7zip, if I can get used to that interface.

4 thoughts on “freeware zip programs

  1. Interface is sometimes a problem with open source/free stuff, sadly. But yeah — there's a lot of great stuff out there. I'm even thinking of making the jump to mostly using OpenOffice (though I'm also highly fond of Abiword), and have already given the bird to Microbutt Money and Intwit Quicken, Oh They Of The "Give Us Money Every Two Years Or The Software Gets It" school of thought. For images, I've got The Gimp and Paint.NET and Picasa. Go free!

    But man. Mostly I'm thinking that your backup routine makes me look like I'm jumping off Mt. Everest holding a handkerchief over my head. The current method would be the two step process of 1)turn on the external hard drive; 2)run Syncback; 3)I lied, it's 3 steps — turn off the hard drive. I do use a flashdrive for my stories on top of that, and email ones in progress.

    Syncback, by the way, is a fab backup program if you're ever looking for one, letting you set up almost any kind of snyc imaginable, schedule them, etc.

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