capsule review

ConeXware PowerArchiver 2006 (version 9.63)

At a Glance
  • ConeXware PowerArchiver 2006 (v9.63)

    PCWorld Rating

PowerArchiver 2006 provides everything you'd expect of a compression utility, and then some. This versatile app extracts a vast range of file formats, including essentials like .zip. It also extracts, though it won't burn, .iso, .nrg, .img, and .bin CD/DVD images (single large files that are an exact copy of what will appear on a disc).

PowerArchiver 2006 supports the 256-bit AES encryption that WinZip added with version 9 (you'll still need the password, of course). If security is paramount, PowerArchiver 2006 also includes AES-256, Blowfish-128, and Triple DES-128 encryption. Archives protected with the latter two methods are able to hide the names of files they contain; however, those archives also use PowerArchiver's own .pae file format, which can't be read by other programs.

While PowerArchiver 2006 creates a variety of archive types (.zip, bzip2, .tar, etc.), it uses the .7z file format at an "ultra" setting to achieve maximum compression. (The 7z format was originally developed for an open-source program called 7-Zip.) Though WinRAR 3.61 and free software such as ZipGenius 6 Standard Edition had no problem extracting .7z files, popular apps like WinZip 11 and StuffIt Standard 9.5 aren't yet able to.

Like every program we looked at, PowerArchiver 2006 can create multiple-volume .zip and .7z archives (split into multiple files of user-definable size).

PowerArchiver 2006 also offers some excellent extra features, including an easy-to-use automated file backup wizard and the ability to upload backups to an FTP server, all without leaving the program.

The program is a pleasure to work with, enabling you to complete tasks swiftly and easily. Like most compression utilities, PowerArchiver 2006 integrates with Windows Explorer's right-click context menu, and you're able to define what options/commands appear (such as one-click compress-and-e-mail). Also, the program's main toolbar interface supports skins--you can download one from a big selection at ConeXware's site.

At $20 (as of 12/6/06), PowerArchiver 2006 offers more features than the respective $30, $29, and $25 entry-level versions of WinZip, WinRAR, and StuffIt. It's definitely an attractive option if you're looking for an archive tool that includes automated backup/FTP capabilities.

Danny Allen

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Wide archive format and encryption support
    • Automated backup/FTP capabilities

    Cons

    • Can only search for files within current archive
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