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Author Topic: Best Archive Manager Review: Suggestions  (Read 33275 times)
zridling
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« on: August 14, 2005, 06:42:16 PM »

I'm so excited! I've signed on to review Archive/Compression applications and I need your input. I've composed the following list based on their download popularity from a variety of download sites (CNET, FileForum, SnapFiles, FileHippo, etc.), and DCC member suggestions below. Although the market is flooded with ZIP apps, if you have a suggestion or a favorite not listed, let us know! In alphabetical order:


I intend to have the first draft of the review will be available to members for feedback and revision by Sunday, 28 August 2005. Caveat: This review will focus on the best overall application, not the best data compression format. And in case you're unaware of it, DonationCoder.com has its own resident compression expert, Jibz of Ibsen Software.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2005, 06:26:50 PM by zridling » Logged

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spj
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2005, 07:25:07 PM »

Hi!

I use TUGZip and am very happy with it.

http://www.tugzip.com/

spj

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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2005, 07:51:51 PM »

here are some things i love about winzip and winrar which i use often:
both can make self extracting executable (sfx), that can also be unpacked by a right click drag operation - i just love that.
i working with drag and drop and in shell all the time, so right click context menu extensions are super important to me.
both winrar and winzip both handle this great.  if you select 10 zips or rars, you could right click drag and you get options to unpack them all into destination dir, or unpack all each into their own named subdir.  for me personally thats the first way i would eliminate candidate apps that don't provide those functions.

no archive app that doesnt offer me that will ever be used by me.

i also mentioned this before but i LOVE the file splitting support in winrar - it's just perfect for if you want to split up files, because it can add strong encryption, and great compatibility, and nice options for how to split.  so thats a real plus in my book.

for compatibility you can't be zip format, which is very important if you plan to share files.
another advantage: you can get free programs that will create zip files, and create sfx zip exes, but only the official rar/winrar can make .rar files, which i think sucks.

i will take a much deeper look at some of the candidate programs and give a better opinion.  i know that 7-zip has a good reputation among some good people so i think i need to give that especially another look.

and i am curious to hear what jibz thinks..
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zridling
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2005, 09:30:23 PM »

Wow, thanks for the feedback guys, and spj, I will add TUGZip to the list for review.
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nudone
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2005, 03:01:03 AM »

i use winrar so i'd have to agree with everything mouser said.

i've not tried winzip for a number of years - is it now capable of making a self extracting archive within one operation or does it still have to produce a standard zip file first?

the only thing i can suggest that might be worth looking at whilst comparing the different archivers is their ability to create 'user friendly' menus with their respective self extracting archives: mainly options that allow you to mimic a standard installation process. i know winrar sort of does this as you can have shortcuts automatically created in various places and other commands performed.
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Darwin
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2005, 01:18:02 PM »

Hi Zaine,

A zipping utility that I don't see on your list is ALTools' freeware app ALZip, which can be found here: http://www.altools.net/Default.aspx?tabid=53. I no longer have it installed (needed to do so to extract an mp3 for my wife that was archived using ALZip's proprietary format), but it seemed feature rich and easy to use.

Myself, I have PKZip (bought it years ago and am very used to it) and Stuff-It Deluxe (got a great deal on it from Allume about a year ago - I'm one of those people who is perpetually on the brink of bankruptcy thanks to all the things I have bought to save money Wink) installed and CANNOT decide which one to keep and which to get rid of! I guess it boils down to the fact that I simply don't use the feature set of either enough to make an informed decision. I keep returning to WinRar, too, in the sense that I love some of the features that it has, such as the repair tool, but at this point can't justify forking out more money for ANOTHER utility when I believe that I already have two very good stand alone compression utilities AND a file manager that does a decent job, too).

Actually, while we're on the subject, my favourite app is Dopus and it's got built in zip/unzip functionality that goes beyond that of XP's native support, as does Diskjockey File Viewer (http://www.clear-simple.com/ - yes, I own both of these, too, refer to my comment above re: saving money, or should that be a fool and his money?). I don't know which of the other Explorer replacements have this feature but it seems pretty common, so you might consider looking at some of these applications and their compression features as well. Hmmm... I guess you're going to have to draw the line somewhere otherwise you'll never finish the review!

Cheers,

Mike
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zridling
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2005, 02:55:27 PM »

Nudone, WinRAR seems to be an exception to several rules, among them SFX creation and management. WinZip, however (along with PowerArchiver), only makes an EXE out of an existing ZIP file. It's "Self-Extractor Personal Edition," not to be confused with their $49 WinZip Self-Extractor app. Given that SFX Maker is both standard and freeware, and that it integrates with WinZip, I cannot imagine any informed person paying for it. From WinZip's description, the $49 WinZip Self-Extractor app is independent of WinZip itself, separately licensed, and does not require WinZip for creating .EXEs. This page lists the differences between it and the Personal Edition.

And thanks for the suggestions, Darwin. I'll look into them. My starting point was download popularity. Of two types of apps, it seems every other company makes a ZIP and FTP utility. ALZip seems to fall into that category, much like PocoZip and ACDZip.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2005, 03:02:48 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2005, 04:02:59 PM »

yep, winzip policy of requiring extra purchase to make sfx is not cool.
but there are some free tools that can make sfx apps from zips.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2005, 09:18:52 PM »

trying tugzip - must say i'm impressed.
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Ampa
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2005, 10:18:05 PM »

At present I am using IZarc - generally satisfied, though there is an annoying bug with drag and drop (It doesn't extract subdirectories!)

Worth a look though as it is freeware and supports many formats.

Ampa
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zridling
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2005, 02:43:22 AM »

Thanks for the suggestion Ampa! Mouser, I'm with you. I'd never heard of TUGZip, but it makes a good first impression. I did compression tests throughout the day on the side while reading the Help files to make sure of everything and found some surprising results. As a teaser, let me say I was surprised. What most people say (and believe) isn't true. Now I'll zip it, no pun intended.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2005, 02:46:37 AM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2005, 04:42:19 AM »

thought i better try TUGZip being as you guys have praised it.

have to agree, appears to be an excellent app. especially like the explorer layout - i think it beats winace.

going to keep it as the default archive tool for a few days and i wouldn't be too surprised if it stays that way.

(also like the ace/rar compression ability if you add the right files, oh, and the .nrg file support.)
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2005, 07:28:21 AM »

i loved the easy way you can customize the right click context menu in tugzip, and the support for being able to create rar files if you have winrar on your system was very neat.

Also i'll note that tugzip includes an sfx maker which is very easy to use,
though i found it not powerful enough for creating donationcoder.com sfx installers, at least at first glance, since it was missing some of the options i use to show information to user and unpack automatically in temp directory,etc.
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« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2005, 11:45:36 AM »

Hi again,

Point taken about ALZip, but I wanted to stress that it is freeware (for personal use) that offers, among other things, sfx creation, file repair, opening of 35 formats and archiving in 8 of them, and file splitting/joining of archives (the last feature only when using its native format, ALZ) whereas Pocozip and ACDZip are shareware products that cost as much as PKZip, WinZip and Stuff-It... Still, I will be neither suprised (read following) nor offended if it doesn't make the cut for consideration in the review.

Now having said the foregoing, I've looked at tugzip's homepage and after readingĀ the feature list, looking at the screenshots, and reading the comments here can only say "wow" - this is freeware?! I'm not installing it - yet - but am awaiting the outcome of the review, which I will be reading it with interest.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2005, 12:04:56 PM »

Got WinZip, WinRAR and StuffIT on my system

Got to say my favourite is WinRAR, I like the fact that WinRAR can add information to a Zip to help protect the integrity of the Zip file, and also lock contents. Plus RAR seems to be just about the most efficient packing algorithm - certainly beats Zip format.

WinZIP is the ubiquotous compression format and WinZip is hard to beat for speed. I also has the advantage of a plugin for MS Outlook XP/2003 which allows attachments to be compressed on the fly when sending emails - which is a nice idea. Also WinZIP has a full, well documented command line interface.

StuffIt is my least favourite and I only really use it for unpacking the odd .sit file. The StuffIt interface is clunky and confusing IMHO.

I also tried ACDZip for a while (from ACD Systems who make ACDSee) - again I found it a bit limiting and the interface somewhat clunky.

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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2005, 12:12:19 PM »

have to say im not a fan of stuffit either.
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zridling
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2005, 11:45:30 PM »

Darwin, I've been working with ALZip throughout the day and its attraction lay in its simplicity. Where apps like PowerArchiver and ZipGenius load up on options and features, ALZip keeps everything straightforward and simple. In fact, you picked the perfect word: simple. It even shares several major features of other, more advanced apps, but is neither polished nor does it include the finer things the others share. But it doesn't measure up to the current crop apps in any category. Among them are several prominent misspellings in the Help file and this inaccurate claim:

Does ALZip support the RAR format?
Yes, but you can only extract RAR files due to copyright issues. Eugene Roshal of RarSoft, the company that makes WinRAR, doesn't allow other utilities to create RAR archive files.

Say the word and I'll be happy to include it in the review. One more won't hurt, but I want to limit this review's scope.
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2005, 12:07:39 AM »

Hi Zaine,

Funny, you posted this just as I finished uninstalling Stuff-It. I took a good hard look at it and uninstalled it for reasons similar to those that you mention with respect to ZipGenius and PowerArchiver - there are a lot of bells and whistles but they don't necessarily enhance the user experience. At any rate, not to worry about including ALZip, I really just suggested it because I didn't see it on your initial list. If as you're writing the review you feel that it will benefit from ALZip's inclusion, great, but otherwise save your time and words for better executed candidates.

I'm really looking forward to this review - I didn't expect to really care that much, but over the last couple of days I've come to realise how much I depend on archiving utilities and am keen to see which apps come out on top.

Thanks for taking this one on board, Zaine, and thanks, too for the Great Software site - among other things you led me here and to some fantastic software!

Best,

Mike
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zridling
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2005, 12:13:56 AM »

I appreciate the feedback Mike. I'll have some interesting things to say about StuffIt, having now spent a week with it. StuffIt started as an Apple/Mac application and never caught on with the Windows crowd for one obvious reason: WinZip took the Windows world by storm early on and could be used beyond its trial period for free. (But now that Venture Capital bought WinZip, they're seeing registrations as a revenue source. They also bought WordPerfect about a year ago from Corel.) I will be happy to include ALZip if for no other reason, that new users might want and/or need such a program starting out.
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« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2005, 06:09:34 PM »

Cool. There's a wide range of users out their with an even greater range of archiving needs and a tool such as ALZip might be all (even more than) they need. Truth be told, I am probably one of those people!
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« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2005, 09:44:38 PM »

I have pretty simple needs, mostly unzipping stuf that I've downloaded.  I tried a few of the ones on your list before settling on winrar as the easiest to use and with the best interface.  Best free application for me has been tugzip, which I use at work.
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zridling
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2005, 02:07:47 AM »

Thanks for the input, yacht_boy, I appreciate it.
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2005, 07:05:55 AM »

i don't know if others are the same as me, but personally i dont like these archive interfaces that are like full file explorers with folder tree, etc.  i rather use my own file explorer, and have my archive program open in a small window just showing contents.
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zridling
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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2005, 07:10:34 AM »

mouser, is that because of the poor Explorer-like implementation in many archive programs or just from being old school? It seems less confusing for me at least, to work without an Explorer view in an archiver; less visual noise I think.
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« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2005, 08:10:11 AM »

yeah, exactly.

the thing is im one of those people who always has a file explorer window or two open, and i can do 95% of all zipping and unzipping from within directory opus or whatever file browser im using.  i dont need my zip program to also try to be a full explorer, i rather it just show me the contents of the archive and not distract me with other stuff.
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