One thing that always amazed me was how WinZip managed to maintain it’s shareware status after Windows XP included zip functionality in the explorer interface. I always figured that WinZip business model of nagging you untill you pay would crumple down after people would realize they can open zip files out of the box.
This however did not happen. WinZip is still around, it’s still churning out new versions, and each of them has a more annoying nag screen than the previous one. Why do I know this? Because WinZip is one of the packages we absolutely must install on company laptops. If we don’t, people call the help-desk and complain or go out and install it. I’m not sure what it is – I’m guessing it might be the convenience of having the additional options in the context menu. But several alternative products do the same – and yet when we tried installing them, users still went out and got WinZip. Brand loyalty perhaps?
Whatever it is, WinZip’s strategy seems to be working and we are paying them money. We might as well be throwing the money out the window, but oh well. I guess this is yet another example where customers choose the expensive alternative over the free one because, oh I don’t know – that’s what they are used to or something.
Personally, I’m a WinRar person. Yeah, yeah – I know. It’s not free or open either, but it does the trick for me. It supports both Rar and Zip compression, and can extract data from almost any format out there – including tar, gz, bz2, the native Mac compression compression formats, and even iso. Oh, and no nag screens – even if you don’t pay. I always end up installing it on my personal windows systems.
I also use 7zip, mainly because it is a good and open compression scheme, and there are increasing numbers of people who use it. Still, WinRar is my primary tool.
What is your favorite file compression tool on Windows? Do you use the built in Zip functionality? Are you a WinZip person? 7zip guy? Let me know!
If you picked “other” let me know what it is in the comments. :) Also, what WinZip alternative would you recommend for commercial use? What does your company use? Are you paying for WinZip like we do, or perhaps your IT found a way to ween the user base off that expensive habit?
[tags]windows, windows compression, file compression, compression, winzip, zip, winrar, rar, 7zip, tar, gz, bzip2[/tags]