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By: Danette Mckay
WinZip is the most known software utility for reading and creating Zip files. But WinZip is not the only software out there that can handle Zip files nor is it the best or the cheapest one.

Zip files are compressed archives intended to allow users to store one or more files in a packed and compressed single file. There are many usages for Zip files for example archiving and compressing multiple files for backup purposes or compressing a big Word document just before it is sent over email or uploaded to the Internet. If you need to open and extract files from a Zip file you can simply use Windows built-in unzip library. Just double click on any Zip archive file and Windows can natively open it. But if you need to create Zip files you will have to install special software that can do that.

Zip is one of the oldest and most popular archive files format. Zip is so popular that Windows supports the reading and extracting of files off of Zip archives. Zip is also so popular that there are many archive utilities that can efficiently create Zip files. Unfortunately many users are not aware of the fact that Zip is supported by more than just WinZip. The name WinZip is so popular as the one and only Windows Zip software that many users when in need to create Zip files just browse to the WinZIp web site to get the software. But WinZip is not the best choice nor is it the cheapest. WinZip used to have a free version for home usage but in the last years WinZip switched to a completely commercial mode and nobody can use the software without paying for it.

If you need to create a Zip file and you just installed WinZip you can create the file and other files for an evaluation period of 45 days after which you will have to either uninstall the software or to pay for it. If you do not want to pay for WinZip or if you do not especially like its user interface you can use one of many other archive software utilities that are available either for free or commercially for a fee.

One of those software utilities is 7Zip an open source popular archive utility that supports much more than just Zip files. 7Zip first and foremost supports its own archive file format known as 7Z. 7Z is an efficient archive file format that many times creates archives that are smaller than Zip archives and take less time to be created. 7Zip however also fully supports Zip archives. It can read and extract files from Zip files and also create Zip archives. 7Zip supports advanced Zip archive files features such as encryption and splitting. 7Zip is free to use. Actually more than just being free 7Zip is an open source software and if you like you can download its complete source code make changes and even compile your own private 7Zip version. It has a GUI file manager user interface for most users but also a complete command line interface for technology savvy users and system administrators.
Danette Mckay writes more about this and other subjects. Check out winzip for more about this and other subject from Danette Mckay
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