Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


Zip Central
by Alan German

My quest for quality open-source software and freeware has moved on to look at file compression utilities. The industry leaders, PKZIP (http://www.pkware.com/) and WinZIP (http://www.winzip.com/), are not expensive (around US $30), and work extremely well. But, is there a free product out there that will give similar results? Well, give Zip Central a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

The interface is very similar to the two commercial products, featuring both a menu bar, and a task bar with icons for frequently used operations such as: New, Open, Add, Extract and Convert (to .exe). In addition, there are icons for Test (to check the integrity of an archive file), Install (to install a file such as setup.exe contained in an archive file) and Cancel. Presumably, the latter button is used to abort a compress/uncompress operation that is in progress. However, the speed at which the program completes such tasks may make this button normally redundant.

Using the program is simplicity itself. For example, pressing the Open button, brings up a browse dialogue box. Once the desired ZIP file is identified, a list of the files contained in the archive is displayed in the program's main window. Pressing the Extract button then brings up a second dialogue box in which a target directory can be selected to which all of the individual files in the archive will be copied. Alternatively, one or more files in the archive can be selected prior to opting for the extraction process.

The New button functions in a very similar way, with dialogue boxes providing browsing for a directory in which to store a new ZIP file, and for the selection of the files to be included in the archive. With an archive file open, and its files visible in the display window, the Add button will allow the selection of files to be added to the archive.

Many more features are available from the program's menu system including disk spanning, and a range of options to configure various aspects of the program. There is an extensive help file that is both well structured and contains concise information on a variety of topics. In addition, while the program's operations are really intuitive, a nice feature on each dialogue box is an integrated help pane that provides basic instructions on the current task.

According to the program's web site, the software has not been updated since January, 2002. While some may see this as lack of on-going support, I take the view that if the software works well - and it's free - why worry?


Bottom Line:

Zip Central Version 4.01 (freeware)
Johan Savås
http://zipcentral.isCool.net


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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