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WinZip is a proprietary file archiver and compressor for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, developed by WinZip Computing (formerly Nico Mak Computing). It natively uses the PKZIP format but also has various levels of support for other archive formats.

WinZip has a 45-day free evaluation period, after which the program would still work even if the user had not registered, albeit with reduced functionality. However in later versions (14 and onwards) this feature appears to have been removed, although users are able to bypass this by downloading an earlier version.



WinZip 1.0 was released in April 1991 as a shareware Windows GUI front-end for PKZIP. Earlier in January 1991 Nico Mak Computing released GUI front-end for OS/2 Presentation Manager called PMZIP. It used OS/2 versions of the PKWARE, Inc. PKZIP and PKUNZIP programs. Originally released on CompuServe, availability of WINZIP expanded across major online services including GENIE, Prodigy and other online services. In 1993, the WINZIP announced the launch of its official support for customers on the Windows Utility Forum, serving over 100,000 members, updates and related information. The freely downloadable WinZip soon found itself included in best selling Windows computing titles as part of companion disks, including the all time best selling Windows 3.0 book, Windows Secrets by Brian Livingston. By 1994, WinZip became the official and required compression tool used by sysops on CompuServe for forum file libraries.

Starting from v5.0 in 1993 the creators of WinZip incorporated compression code from the Info-ZIP project, thus eliminating the need for the PKZIP executable to be present.

From version 6.0 until version 9.0, registered users could download the newest versions of the software, enter their original registration information or install over the top of their existing registered version, and thereby obtain a free upgrade. As of version 10.0 this upgrade scheme was discontinued.[1] WinZip is available in standard and professional versions. However, the ability of Windows XP and later versions of Microsoft Windows to open and create .zip files (as "compressed folders") has reduced the need for extra compression software.

In May 2006, Corel Corporation, known for its WordPerfect and CorelDRAW product lines, announced that it has completed acquisition of WinZip Computing.[2]

Winzip 1.0 for Mac OS X was released in November 2010. This version only works with Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.


  • Creation of, addition to, and extraction from ZIP archives.
  • Configurable Microsoft Windows Shell integration.
  • 128- and 256-bit key AES encryption.[3] This has replaced the less secure PKZIP 2.0 encryption method used in earlier versions. The implementation, using Brian Gladman's code, was FIPS-197 certified, on March 27, 2003.[4]
    Version 9 also implemented a 64-bit version of the PKZIP file format, eliminating both the maximum limit of 65,535 members for single archive and the 4-gibibyte size limit on either the archive and each member file.
  • Support of the bzip2 (9.0), PPMd (10.0), WavPack (11.0), LZMA (12.0), allowing smaller archives at the cost of a potential increase in compression and extraction times (especially when using PPMd).
  • Decompression of .bz2 and .rar files.
  • Support for ARC, ARJ, LHA archives if suitable external programs are installed.
  • Direct write of ZIP archives to CD/DVD
  • Automation of backup jobs
  • Integrated FTP upload
  • Email ZIP archives
  • Unicode support to ensure international characters are displayed for filenames in a Zip file. (WinZip prior to 11.2 does not support Unicode characters in filenames.[5][6] Attempting to add these files to an archive results in the error message "Warning: Could not open for reading: ...")
  • Integrated support to create, open and extract LHA and LZH archives

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