WinZip Version 12
Apart from a brief flirtation with another compression utility many years ago, I have been firmly committed to using the various versions of WinZip as my utility of choice for compressing data for emailing and other purposes. Now part of the Corel family, WinZip is up to version 12 with both Standard and Pro versions being available. This review is based on the Pro version which offers the ability to compress data and carry out various management tasks.
On the surface little appears to have changed from the previous version of the title. The old familiar icon remains the same and firing up the product brings up an interface that many users of the product have grown up with over the years. Even the downloaded WinZip file is of a similar size. However, checking the files that were installed for the program files reveals that WinZip Pro 12 has grown in size by around 2MB. This gives the clue that beneath the hood, there are several new and enhanced features ready to assist the user.
Installing the product, either in 30-day trial mode or as a full product, gives you a choice of working within a wizard led environment or using the Classic interface for the more experienced users. Basic selection of files to be zipped (compressed) is just a matter of selecting them; giving the container file a name; and pinpointing the destination. The completion of the process brings into focus one of the new features of the software as a dialogue box automatically appears to provide details. The information includes the size of the data before and after the compression.
With this latest version of the software, WinZip claims that you gain 20% to 25% improvement with regards to the compression can be achieved when JPEG files are involved. While I was able to duplicate this type of performance in my tests, it has to be said that I was getting similar results when using the previous version of WinZip. However, with version 12 you can view thumbnails of any image files contained within a Zip file. This does help when you need to select certain files for extracting or other purposes.
New to this version of the software is the ability to import images direct from a camera and have them automatically compressed into a Zip file. There are also options to rotate photos, resize them, organise then into folders or delete certain files. Adding further functionality is the new Zip and Send facility whereby you can send Zipped files by email. This was a manual operation and required a certain amount of work on behalf of the user. Now it can be instigated automatically with the minimum of effort.
Probably of more use to system administrators, is the ability to create customisable password policies and encryption control. WinZip will indicate whether a file is encrypted or not when displaying the content of a Zip file. Support has been added to WinZip for LZMA compression.
WinZip 12 should run on any Windows system from 2000 onwards. The standard version of the software is priced at €29.95 and the Pro version costs €49.95.
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