capsule review

M.Dev Software ZipGenius 6 Standard Edition

At a Glance
  • M.Dev Software ZipGenius 6 Standard Edition

This free program doesn't require registration or intrusively collect user data, yet it offers as many, if not more, features than much of its commercial competition.

Like the $25 StuffIt Standard 9.5 and $29 WinRAR 3.61, ZipGenius 6 Standard lets you search for files within archives that may span multiple hard disks or network locations. That's a good feature to have because Windows XP and Vista can search only inside .zip files.

ZipGenius 6 Standard also has a couple of free add-ons that you can optionally download. The first adds FTP capabilities to the app, and another lets you import and archive images from sources like TWAIN scanners, memory cards, or USB thumb drives. Collections of large photo files are a perfect candidate for archiving, and ZipGenius offers help by displaying thumbnail previews of images contained within a compressed file--though not quite as smoothly as WinZip 11 does.

ZipGenius 6 Standard also has a wizard for creating self-playing photo slide-show files. Though this would be a nice extra to have, I got error messages whenever I tried the tool. Moreover, I found it frustrating that I couldn't create a slide show from photos located within an archive.

Like PowerArchiver 2006, ZipGenius 6 Standard employs the .7z file format (originally developed for an open-source program called 7-Zip) to deliver its maximum compression rates. However, ZipGenius was the slower of the two. In the same tests, ZipGenius 6 Standard's use of .7z did slightly out-compress StuffIt Standard 9.5's .sitx and WinRAR 3.61's .rar formats, but it also took much longer to do so.

ZipGenius 6 Standard can create archives in a few other formats as well (including .zip and .tar), and will extract a variety of others like .rar or .ace, plus .iso and .nrg disc images. Support for .arj, .arc, or .lzh archive extraction requires external programs. ZipGenius 6 Standard offers support for CryptoZIP 2.0, AES-128, BlowFish-128, and TwoFish encryption.

Like the other apps in our roundup, ZipGenius 6 Standard can create multiple-volume archives (split into multiple files of user-definable size). However, I could only get this to work with .7z (as apposed to .zip) files in my tests.

ZipGenius 6 Standard can extract archives to CD-R/RW using Windows' built-in functionality and, like most archive tools, integrates with Windows Explorer's right-click context menu to provide quick access to commands such as one-click compress-and-e-mail. In addition, you can use Windows' Task Scheduler to automate ZipGenius 6's creation of manual file or folder backups.

Want a powerful archive tool but don't feel like paying for it? You could stick with the trial version of a commercial program (even though you're honor-bound to buy it for continued use), but the annoying nag screens and lack of features can get tiresome. If you don't mind a few bugs, ZipGenius 6 Standard could be your next download.

Danny Allen

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Includes lots of features for free


    • Slow archiving at maximum compression settings
    • Sometimes buggy
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