For anyone intimidated by the standard WinZip "Classic" interface, the program's step-by-step wizard has been greatly improved. Previously, you could only use the wizard to extract files from an archive, but now you can create and update Zip files, as well. The Wizard will even ask if you want to unzip, update or create a new archive.
New Windows themes are easier to try, too. If you downloaded a theme in a .zip file, the new version will install the theme and then, if you don't like it, uninstall it.
If you're e-mailing a file to someone, but want to keep upload and download times to a minimum, it's always a good idea to compress the file first. WinZip 8.0 automates this task for you - at least if you're using an e-mail program such as Outlook or Outlook Express that uses the Mail application programming interface. All you need to do is right-click the file, select Zip and Mail, and WinZip will compress it and put the zipped file into a new e-mail message. When your e-mail program no longer needs the .zip file, WinZip deletes it. This feature is a great convenience, but it comes with one major flaw: Zip and Mail only works on individual files. If you highlight multiple files and right-click, the Zip and Mail options won't be available.
Many of the new changes make WinZip behave more like Windows. When you right-click a file within an archive, you'll now get the same options as you would when right-clicking the same file in Windows Explorer, such as Edit and Print. You'll also, of course, get some WinZip-specific ones, such as Extract.
When you archive a folder, WinZip behaves like Windows Explorer when copying it. The differences aren't obvious, but could prove handy. For instance, with WinZip 7.0, if you archive your Clients folder, files within that folder will be zipped without any folder information (files in subfolders will have partial folder information). In 8.0, every file in the archive will have a path starting with Clients.
Some of the Windows-like changes are more cosmetic than useful. For example, the toolbar can now use the colourful buttons from earlier WinZips, or grey, uninspired, Explorer-like icons.
Remember that we tested the beta - Nico Mak warns that some of the new features may not make it into the final release.
Price: shipping version will cost $US29 to register; upgrade free to all registered usersDistributor: Nico MakURL: www.winzip.com