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WinZip 16 goes social, postal

It's year 20, version 16 for WinZip. High time the archiving tool went social, but it also goes postal in the new version.

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, while installing you should keep an eye out for the Kaspersky Security Scan companion install; it is an opt-out offer.

WinZip 16 also keeps confidential data secret by "shredding" the temporary file that WinZip creates by default whenever it opens an archive. The shredding uses U.S. Department of Defense standard DoD 5220.22-M. Other security features include built-in AES encryption and customizable password requirements, both of which could prove handy in conjunction with WinZip's shiny new sharing features.

Seamlessly integrated into WinZip 16's interface is ZipSend. With a few clicks, ZipSend can help you to circumvent E-mail attachment restrictions thanks to partner YouSendIt's cloud storage and file transfer powers. Right off the bat, the feature allows you to e-mail up to 50MB of zipped data for free, and up to 2GB if you're a ZipSend Pro user. While ZipSend may seem a bit convoluted, as it's powered by YouSendIt and requires a separate install of an app called WinZip Courier, it is certainly a perfect complement to WinZip's core archiving functions.

The other big addition to version 16 is ZipShare, a convenient and smart feature that lets you upload your ZIP file to the cloud, and post a link on your Facebook Wall for others to download, all with a few clicks. It's impressive, no doubt, but we still feel it could use some tweaking. For one, we'd love to be able to tag people on the Wall post, in case the download is meant for one or more friends in particular. Also, we'd love to see a bit more flexibility in the form of sharing through direct messages or via other social networks. But even without these minor tweaks, ZipShare is still a useful feature that's sure to be exploited by WinZip's millions of users.

Finally, WinZip 16 includes a "Zip to Blu-ray" feature that lets you store up to 50GB of archived data per disc. While this feature likely won't be used as often as the others, it's still nice to have the capability.

Overall, we love the new additions that WinZip has incorporated. While they may not be ground-breaking by any means, they do add another layer of icing to an already delicious WinZip cake.

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