Review: Zip and unzip files with Express Zip File Compression Free

Zip it fast with this compact freeware.

Everyone needs a little zip in their life, but computer users need a little unzip, too; and they can get it from NCH's Express Zip File Compression Free, a compact file compression utility. At just under 1MB, Express Zip is small, but it's big on the features users expect in a zip tool, such as Explorer shell integration and compatibility with many types of archive files, including 7Z, RAR, and ISO. Small means fast, too: Express Zip loads and runs quickly. Express Zip File Compression Free is compatible with Windows versions XP to 8: And, as the name indicates, it's freeware.

Express Zip's user interface is hardly exciting, unless you're a fan of plain but efficient, businesslike layouts. We are, although we admit Express Zip's Explorer-style main window, sidebar, and tree-view toolbar is less of a pulse-quickener than a friendly, familiar face. Add the clearly-labeled icons on Express Zip's substantial toolbar and you have a tool that anyone who has used a similar program in the past can pick right up. But Express Zip doesn't leave you to figure things out on your own: A comprehensive browser-based but locally-stored Help file explains everything from getting started to Command Line options. We started by extracting a variety of archives and moved on to zipping and unzipping files. Express Zip's Explore shell integration let us right-click a file and choose several compression options directly from Express Zip's submenu; or we could extract zipped files in the same fashion.

A brief splash screen--we can hardly call it a nag screen--is our only issue with Express Zip File Compression Free, and it's so minor we can't even call it a complaint. We're aware that other free tools compete for the same space in your system; some of them are better-known than Express Zip, but none really does anything better or faster. Bottom line: if you're shopping for a free file compression tool (and why else would you be reading this?) we recommend adding Express Zip to your tryout roster.

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