Review: Automate all kinds of zip tasks with ZipNow

Automate your regular file compression tasks with this unique freeware.

iSkySoft's ZipNow automates file compression tasks with easy-to-make scripts. Even elaborate, multistep processes can be triggered by a single click. For example, you can zip all of your work files at once and save them to your disk, and then move them to an online storage, and share or e-mail them to multiple recipients. No programming skills are required to create scripts in ZipNow: A wizard-based process handles each step. Once you've created scripts, ZipNow does the rest. This free zip tool handles the most popular file compression formats. ZipNow Version 2.1 incorporates various updates, including Windows 8 readiness. We tried it in 64-bit Windows 7.

File compression tools don't really benefit from flashy GUIs, and ZipNow's plain but efficient layout exactly suits the task at hand. Beneath the main file list view, ZipNow displays System Messages such as logs. The program's Web-based PDF tutorial is copiously illustrated with annotated screenshots. ZipNow's big trick is its scripts, so after we got acquainted with the basics, we clicked Add to create a new script. We mentioned that ZipNow's main interface is fairly basic, but the Script tool's preferences are extensive indeed. There seems to be a check box for every option. For instance, we could include or exclude hidden and system files, subdirectories, and empty directories as well as create ERROR.txt files, zoom in or out, store file paths, and create passwords. Once we'd created and saved a script, we could activate it by double-clicking it or by pressing Run. Our script ran flawlessly, zipping the specified files in the specified directory with a single click. Although creating scripts takes a few steps, the end result is instant gratification, zip tool style.

While ZipNow does much of what many other freeware file compression tools do, it's not as complex or sophisticated as some of the more familiar tools, many of which offer features users have come to expect, such as Explorer menu integration. But ZipNow's versatile, specialized Scripts feature makes it a uniquely useful tool for a variety of regular tasks. That makes ZipNow an excellent complement to your regular zip utility, but not necessarily a replacement.

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