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WinZip and EasyZIP get high ranking

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology
 

Simple gray rule


WinZip and EasyZIP get high ranking
 

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1996, The Syracuse Newspapers

Except for texts, most of the files you download from an Internet site are compressed into archives. Nearly all of them are ZIP files—even when they're hiding as something else.

ZIPs are files that hold other files. They are containers, in other words. The files inside a ZIP are squeezed to about half their normal size during compression and returned to normal in expansion. Paul Katz invented the ZIP method back in the heydays of DOS, and his DOS twins, PKZIP and PKUNZIP, continue as the most popular ZIP-file handlers today.

But the times are a-changing. PKZIP and PKUNZIP are horribly difficult for newcomers to use. PKWare, Katz's company, has a Windows version of PKZIP, but I find it poorly designed. Luckily, there are many alternatives. I like three of them.

The champ in many ways is WinZip from Nico Mak Computing. It is superbly engineered and a snap to use—if you're fairly experienced at file handling. One big plus for WinZip: Even under the creaky old version of Windows, you can run two or three WinZips at once, and under Windows 95 you can load up and do your compression or decompression with a half-dozen WinZip windows open.

There are separate Windows 3.x and Windows 95 versions of WinZip. You can find links to it at practically any good Windows software site, or you can go right to http:\\www.winzip.com. WinZip is non-crippled shareware

Next up the ladder in an easier-to-use ZIP handler is EasyZIP from Symantec, maker of the famous Norton software. It doesn't have the flexibility of WinZip, but it's much easier to use. It's for Windows 95 (and, probably, Windows NT 4.0), not for the older version of Windows. If you've wondered why you haven't seen downloads of EasyZIP, it's because Symantec supplies EasyZip in a group of utilities called Internet FastFind.

FastFind is a powerful set of programs—I've mentioned them before—that search for Web pages and files on servers worldwide. It includes Easy FTP, a wonderfully simple ftp program, and an excellent program-update checker that looks at the programs you use and checks to see if there are newer versions available on the Web.

But the sleeper in FastFind is clearly EasyZIP. If you know how to use Explorer, the Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 shell, you'll know how to use EasyZIP. To find out how to get Internet FastFind, go to http://www.symantec.com/iff/, where you can download a 30-day trial version that has all functions activated. You can also pay $50 for the regular version online.

Did I leave the best for last? Maybe. It's called ZipFolders, from Mijenix. It's so unusual that we'll have to devote an entire column to it next week. Stay tuned

Oh, what the heck. Get a sneak view of ZipFolders while you're waiting. Go to Mijenix and follow the instructions.


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