One of the best-known Windows utilities, archive creator and manager WinZip updates to version 14 with the future in mind--the future of Windows. The new features in WinZip 14 are aimed squarely at Windows 7 users, with extensive support for Windows 7 libraries, recent archives in the jumplist, and tool tweaks to bring them more in line with the new operating system. Certain file types can be previewed from within an archive in Windows Explorer, and basic touch screen support.

WinZip 14 includes extensive Windows 7 support. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

With archive previews, you can click on an archive and the files it contains will appear in list form in the preview window. The jumplist features your most recently opened archives from across your system, tasks such as opening an existing archive, creating a new one, creating a new WinZip job, and burning a new ZIP to CD or DVD.

Included in those WinZip jobs are linking Windows 7's libraries to ZIP files, making it possible to keep up-to-date archives of specific files or entire libraries. The job scheduler and automatic e-mail options are restricted to WinZip Pro, but it's still handy to be able to create and run library archives.

WinZip 14 also includes minor security enhancements. New automatic wiping keeps confidential data secret by "shredding" the temporary file that WinZip creates by default whenever it opens an archive. This prevents those temporary files from being recovered. The shredding uses U.S. Department of Defense standard DoD 5220.22-M.

WinZip 14 archive preview in Windows 7 (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

WinZip 14 now also supports the built-in AES encryption in Intel-based computers, speeding up the time it takes to encrypt an archive. This builds on the encryption overhaul from last year's version, which included customizable password requirements and enhancements for determining how, if at all, encryption would be enforced.

WinZip 14 retains its large feature set, including drag-and-drop support, content-sensitive previews, better JPEG compression that can see JPEG-only archives up to 20 percent smaller, Zip from Camera, and the deep context menu support enables you to perform most of WinZip's functions on the fly. Zip from Camera, and automated archiving for backup purposes, are limited to the paid upgrade, as is rotating and resizing of images within an archive. Keep in mind that multitouch support on Windows 7 is limited to rotating pictures previewed from WinZip archives.

While installing you should keep an eye out for the Google Toolbar and the "WinZip Computing" that collects anonymous usage data--both are opt-out screens. Even with these drawbacks and the useful features that are restricted to WinZip Pro, WinZip 14 remains 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.