WinZip is a proprietary file archiver and compressor for Microsoft Windows, 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 was created in the early 1990s as a shareware GUI front-end for PKZIP. Sometime around 1996 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, and thereby obtain a free upgrade. As of version 10.0 this upgrade scheme was discontinued. WinZip is available in standard and professional versions. However, the ability of Windows XP and Windows Vista to open .zip files (as "compressed folders") has reduced sales.

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

WinZip has a 45-day free evaluation period. However, in some versions it continues to work even after this period of time.


  • Creation, addition, extraction from ZIP archives.
  • Configurable Microsoft Windows Shell integration.
  • 128- and 256-bit key AES encryption. 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.
    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), 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
  • WinZip prior to 11.2 does not support Unicode characters in filenames. Attempting to add these files to an archive results in the error message "Warning: Could not open for reading: ..."
  • Unicode support to ensure international characters are displayed for filenames in a Zip file
  • Integrated support to create, open and extract LHA and LZH archives


The ZIP file archive format (PKZIP) was originally invented for MS-DOS in 1989 by Phil Katz and his company PKWare.

Because PKWare did not protect the name by trademark and algorithm of the process by patent, and was slow to realize that the Windows operating systems would eventually dominate the OS market, Nico Mak (then employed by Mansfield Software Group, Inc) eventually seized the opportunity and released the WinZip application for Microsoft Windows.

Allegedly some of the algorithms used by PKWARE were originally copied from a program called ARC, written by Thom Henderson of System Enhancement Associates. This may explain why PKWARE was not able to patent PKZIP (see discussion in topic on Phil_Katz). WinZip 8.0 is the last major release to officially support Windows 95.

WinZip 9.0 adds support of AES encryption for ZIP archives, BZip2-compressed ZIP archives (extraction only).

WinZip 10 adds support of creating and extracting PPMD-compressed ZIP archives. It is the last major release to officially support Windows 98, ME. WinZip Pro is added in this release, which adds automation and task scheduling features.

WinZip 11 adds support of creating and extracting WavPack-compressed ZIP archives. Installer will still install to Windows 98, ME, but not officially supported. WinZip Pro adds Passive FTP support, FTP transfers, e-mail notification option for Job Wizard, custom jobs selection, full-size image viewer when opening archive.

WinZip 11.1 is certified for Windows Vista with Vista theme support, 64-bit Windows support.

WinZip 11.2 can create LHA archives without external utility. Added Unicode file name support for ZIP archives.

See also


External links

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