WinZip 9

What is a “Zip” file and why should you be interested? Zip is the most widely used method to condense or compress a file; e.g., make it smaller.

Why? I use it when I have a large file to attach to my e-mail (easier download) and for a file(s) that I need, but don’t use regularly - just to save space.

How is this possible? Well, I don’t know technically, except to use this article as an example. See all the spaces between sentences, between words, etc? Just remove those spaces and the redundant words and you can create a file from 35-60% of the original size. I don’t know how it’s done, but it is fairly simple to do with WinZip, which is the most popular compression utility. WinZip has been around for fifteen years and is still working its magic!

Like Windows itself, there are two ways to use this software: the original “classic” mode or use a wizard. New users should consider the wizard that offers a bit more handholding and couldn’t be simpler.

Whoever receives your “zipped” file can uncompress it with a free “unzipper.” Or you can compress it so that it will automatically unzip itself, that is, it starts the process automatically, (technical term: self-extracting - toss that around at your next party!) There are two major improvements in this version. One is the inclusion of 256-bit AES encryption and the other, it is even more user-friendly than version 8. This means that ending up with the compressed file you want is easier. In fact, the Command Line Support feature helps you create a BAT file (this type of file automates routine procedures, so you don’t have to re-type a lot of instructions.)
Does it take a lot of your time to zip or compress a file? For example, I took several files (another advantage is combining several files into one zip file) totaling about 53MB and created a zipped file of 29MB in less than 25 seconds - Windows XP has a built-in compression utility that took more than three minutes. NOTE: There are different degrees of compression - from very little compression to super fast.

One of the additional benefits of WinZip is that you can span a compressed zip file over several floppy disks. If you are concerned about file security, it is simple to password protect a file.
I’d like to see more tightly integrated scripting support. I’ve looked for years and still cannot find a better or more friendly compression utility than WinZip. If you have Windows, buy it - two thumbs up for efficiency and ease-of-use. For more info, updates and FAQs, go to

George Marsden is a HAL-PC member and office manager of a large law firm.