The venerable WinZip Standard compression program's latest version offers a variety of new features aimed primarily at Windows 7 users. Those who use Windows 7 will be pleased to see that WinZip Standard ($30, 30-day free trial) now takes advantage of some of Windows 7's most useful new features, including integrating with Windows 7 Libraries and Jump Lists. Overall, it makes WinZip feel as if it were built directly into the operating system.
Using the capabilities of Windows 7 Libraries, WinZip Standard users can zip files in multiple folder together in a single action, no matter where they are located. This is not possible using WinZip in previous versions of Windows.
In addition, WinZip 14 integrates with Windows 7 Jump Lists. Pin WinZip to the Taskbar, right-click its icon, and you can perform many zip-related tasks, including opening a zip archive and creating a new zip archive, among others.
WinZip 14 Standard will work with previous versions of Windows, not just Windows 7, and adds a new feature for all Windows users--improved security for encrypted files. It will automatically destroy temporary, created-for-viewing, copies of encrypted files. It also will work with Intel-based hardware that uses built-in AES encryption.
These new features are added to an already powerful suite of zip archive tools, including the ability to easily zip and mail files, extracting files from .iso images, and overall zip archive management.
WinZip Standard also includes the .zipx compression standard introduced in a previous version, which increased greater compression than the standard .zip. That standard will even compress .jpg files, which themselves are already compressed. A PC World review of an earlier version found the .zipx standard can shrink .jpg files by as much as 20 percent (WinZip claims to have reached 25%, but PC World reviewers haven't seen that level of compression). That's about 200MB saved for every gigabyte of photos.
Why buy WinZip Standard if zip support is already built into Windows? If you don't use zip archives frequently, then there's no reason to buy WinZip; Windows does simple jobs perfectly well. But if you want better compression ratios, better integration with Windows 7, and extras such as making it easier to zip and mail archives, the Standard version is worth paying for.
Note that there is also a $50 Pro version of WinZip, which includes additional capabilities, such as burning files to CD and DVD.