WinZip is a shareware application used to unpack and create compressed file archives in Zip format, and to unpack several other types of archive file formats.
Compressed file archives are useful because they can be used to combine multiple files and folders into a single shareable directory that is smaller than the sum of the individual files and folders contained in the compressed archive file. Zip file format is the most common archive file format, and, at one time, WinZip was the most popular application used to work with Zip files. WinZip was launched in 1991 and is available as a shareware application for computers and devices running Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android operating systems.
WinZip is available with an initial free trial period. Following the trial period, users who wish to continue using the application must register their copy.
In the 1990s, WinZip was the most well-known file for opening and working with Zip files, and was installed on the computers of most internet users. However, beginning with the release of Windows ME in 2000, the ability to work with Zip formats has been built-in to the Windows operating system. Since then, Apple has also included this feature within Apple's operating system, OS. As a result, demand for WinZip has fallen. Still, for users who do a lot of work with Zip-format files, WinZip offers functionality that is not available from the Zip utilities built-in to Windows and Apple OS.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would anyone use WinZip when computers can open and create Zip files without it?
While the ability to perform basic Zip file operations was the motivation that drove the mass adoption of WinZip, today WinZip does a lot more than simply open and create Zip files. For example, WinZip offers integration with most cloud services and be used to open several other popular types of archive file formats. For most users, WinZip is no longer necessary. However, for users who do a lot of work with Zip files and other archive file types, WinZip is a valuable tool.
What are Zip files used for?
Have you ever needed to attach a dozen files to an email, and found attaching them to an email one-by-one to be a tedious and clumsy task? Archive files are one potential solution when faced with this task. Any time several files and folders need to be distributed in an organized fashion the easiest way to do so is with an archive file, and Zip format is the most popular archive file format.
Do I actually have to pay for WinZip?
WinZip is something of a legend within the shareware industry for offering a free trial period, ostensibly based on the idea that once the free trial period ends users will be required to pay for the application, but simply asking users to register and never requiring that users pay for use of the application. This practice appears to continue to this day. While you can probably use WinZip indefinitely without paying for it, doing so is a violation of the software's terms of service and in poor taste.
If you like, value, and want to use WinZip, pay for it once the free trial period expires. Otherwise, use one of the free alternatives such as 7-Zip.