Editors' Note: WinZip is now bundled with Google Toolbar and Google Desktop Search. Installation of these components is optional.
Version 12 of this venerable archiving tool packs a couple of excellent new compression features and enhancements. The best new feature lets users compress JPEG images, known for being hard to reduce in size because of their already-compressed nature. We saw file-size gains of about 20 percent in JPEG-only archives.
Another new feature, Zip from Camera, lets you transfer and compress photos directly from your camera as long as the model is supported. This feature also worked flawlessly in our tests. The improved thumbnail view not only lets users view thumbnails of their archived images--but it also lets users browse images within ZIPs without having to extract files first.
Encryption features get more than a new coat of paint in this version, with customizable password requirements and enhancements for system administrators that let them determine how, if at all, encryption is enforced. AES is supported, with the option for both 128-bit and 256-bit security. Files and folders can also be renamed within a ZIP, and the new Smart View is content-sensitive, automatically choosing the Thumbnail view for images, for example. We like the flexible drag-and-drop support, allowing you to drag files to and from the interface, which will zip or unzip them automatically.
We also like the contextual menus that enable you to perform most of WinZip's functions on the fly. Overall, WinZip is among the best compression programs available, providing all the features necessary to create easy backups, compress e-mail files, and manage downloaded files from the Internet.
WinZip is the original and most popular of all Windows ZIP file utilities. Wizard/Classic interfaces accommodate both first-time and experienced users. With WinZip you can quickly and easily compress and decompress files, folders, and entire folder trees to save storage space and reduce e-mail-transmission time, as well as encrypt and decrypt your sensitive documents. Features include tight integration with Windows Explorer, support for most Internet file formats, and one-click zipping and e-mail. WinZip 12 adds new features for JPEG compression, the ability to ZIP files directly from a digital camera, an enhanced thumbnail view, a built-in image viewer, support for the LZMA compression method, customizable password policies, more encyption options, and other new features.