free software disksFree WinZIP Software Alternatives to Download!

Want ZIP power without shelling out $30 to WinZIP Inc? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against WinZIP, it's got a lot of features for the money. Problem is, I'm just a little dumb when in comes to figuring out complicated software. In fact, I sometimes find it easier to just write my own. Like Gump's momma used to say, "Stupid is what stupid does."

But I'm sure you're much smarter than me and so you probably are just here to save a buck or two. So here's a roundup of all my favorite WinZIP alternatives. I hope you find this collection useful.

free tag CAM UnZIP Icon

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Download CAM UnZIP!

Fairly full-featured, a little kludgy!

Cam UnZip is fairly easy to use, the interface is not as professional as WinZIP but pretty full featured - not my favorite freeware ZIP program but adequate for most ZIP-creation needs.

Although I find this type of ZIP program a little bit cluttered, CAM UnZIP seems pretty solid. No Spyware, no adware it's totally free (but donations are invited.) Strangely, I had the hardest time finding a link on their website to actually download the program. It's there on the left panel of their home-page, just keep searching (or click the link download link here. ;)

free tag BigSpeed Zipper Icon

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  BigSpeed Zipper

Download BigSpeed Zipper!

Very interesting, fairly powerful, off-the-wall features

BigSpeed Zipper is one of those ZIP programs hard to easily quantify. Sure it's got the basic features and it's a little weak on some features I think are important... but then it has so many other features that I've never even thought of! I'm still trying to figure out the usefulness of some of them. For example, you can view the contents of a ZIP file online BEFORE downloading. Now that's kind of cool!

As far as interface goes, it's pretty non-standard but then sometimes a non-standard interface is the result of really cool features that would not fit into a normal interface. (Although usually, it's just because of bad design.) You go ahead and make up your own mind, its totally free.

free tag Optimal Archive Icon

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  Optimal Archive

Download Optimal Archive!

Full-featured, sold features, intrusive advertising

When I first read the specs on Optimal Archive, I was pretty excited. It reminded me of an old favorite of my "ZIPMagic" - which made ZIP files appear as if folders. Well, Optimal Archive has a lot of the same capabilities. It's a very powerful piece of software despite support for non-ZIP formats such as TAR ARJ and RAR. ;)

On the other hand, I'm not sure I would classify it as freeware. It's not that it installs noxious adware or spyware but rather it is itself an advertisement. Every time you use it you have to click through an advertising screen which gets old really fast.

free tag 7-ZIP Icon

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Download 7-ZIP!

FWOW! - full-featured, powerful, innovative

7-Zip is finally starting to get the fame it deserves. This freeware ZIP program is the only one in it's pack to really push the bar on technology. Although 7-Zip is best known for its support of high-compression non-ZIP technology (7Z), it also does a better job than WinZIP or PKZip on regular ZIP compression! Check out their compression comparison chart on their home page:

I still found their browsing interface a bit of a kludge but they have provided an "Add to Archive" command on the context menu which makes it pretty simple to ZIP up any folder. Also, not all ZIP tools support creating of SFX (self-extracting) files but this one does. 7-Zip will automatically use its superior 7Z compression in the SFX files -- resulting in a compact package that literally slaughters the competition (WinZIP SFX Maker ~ $60). In this case, the free app is far superior to the commercial app. Well done 7-Zip!

If you want technical support, you will have to register at US $20 but otherwise the program is unrestricted and contains no intrusive advertising. 7-ZIP can also create TAR files just in case you ever need to kill a mastodon.

free tag ZIPGenius Icon

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Download ZIPGenius!

Too full-featured, powerful but confused

ZIPGenius is a perfect example of a program that mis-diagnosis the problem. The problem is not that WinZIP is too expensive, it's too cluttered with unnecessary functionality! But if you love the clutter, you'll love ZIPGenius even more. I have never sees a program demostrated such a gift for "feature creep".

ZIPGenius' ZIP features are really solid with great security features, 7-ZIP format support, built-in SFX support, ZIP-64 support etc. Also included are image viewing features, twain (scanner) management, a slide-show builder, support for OpenOffice documents, multi-language, CD-R writing, FTP uploading, and pretty much everything else but a kitchen sink (which they promise to include the next update!).

free tag IZArc Icon

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Download IZArc!

Powerful, simple, decent interface

IZArc support a ton of compression formats. Just look at this impressive list of alphabets: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BZ2, BZA, CAB, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MBF, MIM, PAK, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO.

IZArc also has good AES encryption for those who need it and best of all, it has a pretty darned good interface -- not to cluttered but rather straightforward! I'm pretty impressed. (I was NOT impressed with their website's interface however. How does that work?)