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Review: Take ZIP tools to a new level with WinZip 18

WinZip has long been a go-to ZIP tool, so we were keen to try the all-new WinZip 18. It's much more than a cosmetic upgrade: A new compression engine zips, splits, and joins files faster than legacy versions, though of course WinZip still handles virtually any archive file type. It converts files to PDFs, adds watermarks, resizes photos, manages archives, and protects files with 128/256 bit encryption. Improved cloud navigation smoothly integrates WinZip with many more cloud services, including Box, Dropbox, SugarSync, SkyDrive, and Google Drive. Cloud Links adds links to files via e-mail, IM, and social media. … Read more

Social archiving and zipping in the cloud

WinZip continues to push off last year's momentum with version 17 to persuade users that it remains significant in today's world of computing.

Much of what's under the hood remains solid and hasn't aged. The latest entry builds upon the 64-bit ZIP engine from 2011 by adding additional OpenCL support for multicore CPUs like Ivy Bridge and AMD Fusion. But in version 17, WinZip's redesigned ribbon interface and workflow takes the spotlight.

WinZip has opted to simplify the way users manage their archives with a redesigned ribbon. The language is easier to understand and bears … Read more

Find that missing product key with ease

Product Key Finder has only one purpose, which is to display your Windows Product Key. It sounds like a small thing, but if you've ever had to reinstall Windows on your computer and couldn't find the product key in your pile of paperwork, you'll know this simple, free app can solve a big problem, especially if you're not comfortable digging around in the Registry.

Like many free utilities today, the Product Key Finder installation prompts you to also install additional software, but the actual Product Key Finder installation takes only a few seconds and you're … Read more

How to encrypt selected text and entire text files with Notepad++

Notepad++ is a popular text editor and Notepad replacement with many useful features. One of its best features is its support for plug-ins. NppCrypt is a Notepad++ plug-in that lets you encrypt selected text or entire text files. If you don't want to use BitLocker in Windows 7 or TrueCrypt, here's how you can use Notepad++ to encrypt your text files.

Install Notepad++ and NppCrypt plug-in

Step 1: Download and install Notepad++.

Step 2: Launch the plug-in manager by going to Plugins > Plugin Manager > Show Plugin Manager.

Step 3: Select NppCrypt from the plug-in list, then … Read more

Classic file compression

Stuffit Expander is a free decompression utility that may still be of use to some users -- especially, for example, when trying to decompress older Stuffit (.sit or .sitz) archives.

Many users will do fine with just the built-in Archive Utility in Mac OS, which handles .zip files and a wide variety of .tar archives and tarballs -- but older and boutique utilities like Stuffit Expander can help when handling more unusual formats, such as .rar files and esoteric suffixes like .kgb, .7z, and .arc. Stuffit Expander lets you decompress files with a quick drag and drop, or through the … Read more

FileVault 2 easily decrypted, warns Passware

One of the welcome features in OS X Lion was the replacement of Apple's first-generation FileVault file encryption technology, which only encrypted the home folder, with a new whole-disk encryption approach.

Unlike the first FileVault, which required a number of workarounds and still had compatibility problems with various programs and utilities, the new technology is transparent to the operating system and enhances security since it not only encrypts user data but also all other data on the drive, including system caches, application files, and system configuration files that might contain some personal information.

FileVault 2 requires the hard drive … Read more

Apple's bittersweet week

Apple's celebration of record earnings was tempered this week by a grim report about working conditions at one of its component suppliers.

Obliterating its own earnings estimates, Apple reported quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and profits of $13.06 billion.

"We're thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement. "Apple's momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline." •  Apple shares soar following historic earnings announcement •  Apple's biggest quarter by the numbersRead more

WinZip 16 goes social, postal

WinZip version 16 has hit the streets, bringing with it a few features aimed at keeping the venerable archiving tool in the cool crowd. Plus, with its all-new native 64-bit engine, this newest release runs just a bit smoother and faster than before.

But first things first--the guts of the program. WinZip 16 retains its large feature set, including drag-and-drop support and content-sensitive previews. It can compress images by up to 25 percent and has a "Zip from Camera" wizard, and deep context menu support enables you to perform most of WinZip's functions on the fly. However, … Read more

Get Digiarty WinX Blu-ray Decrypter for free

Just a quick reminder that I'm posting less than usual this week. (Sorry to newsletter subscribers who were confused by yesterday's duplicate mailing. My bad.) And Monday's Labor Day, so I'll see you back here on Tuesday! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Free DVD rippers are pretty easy to come by these days (I seem to see a new giveaway or promotion once every month or two), but free Blu-ray rippers? Those are still fairly rare.

From now until Sept. 15, you can download Digiarty WinX Blu-ray Decrypter free of charge. It's not quite … Read more

ElcomSoft to sell iPhone decryption toolkit

A Russian computer forensics company, ElcomSoft, says it has developed a toolkit that can help law enforcement agencies quickly access encrypted file systems on Apple's iPhone.

ElcomSoft's toolkit is an important development as smartphone security and privacy have become a hot-button issue.

Last month, researchers discovered that the iPhone was tracking users' locations as they moved from place to place. The information was stored in an unencrypted file on the iPhone, as well as in iTunes backups. After privacy advocates complained that the iPhone was tracking user movements, Apple responded saying that it had no desire to track … Read more