Today, in the year 2016, we still need archive files for electronic communication. It seems amazing that this is still needed, but considering the bottlenecks in server limits for attachments, as well as the technical limitations between O/S’s, hardware platforms, and the still emerging spread of high-speed internet rollouts; it is still very much needed. While the aforementioned operating systems have been more inclusive of select archive formats, in their latest versions, (primarily the .zip format) the limited tools built in, means that a more comprehensive, robust program is needed. As in cases before, I have used freeware alternatives, but I have been underwhelmed by the self-extracting features included especially the options, security protocols, and presentation modes available. I have looked into various flagship archive programs, but felt the price points and their associated capabilities did not warrant the purchase. Fortunately, I discovered Ashampoo, recently (I first reviewed their Burning Studio 16, last week), and they had the answer to my archive needs.
My usage of archive files has lessened some, as drive storage sizes have exponentially increased, but when I need to compress a file, ZIP Pro has made my life more concise and secure. Unlike the competition, especially on the freeware side, this program makes any file I need compressed smaller, encryptable, and generally secure. You can not only add the files and respective paths to the archive, but also verify the MD5 hashes, repair archives, and create self-extracting files. This is just scratching the surface of what this program can do. My main usage of archive tools, resolves around sending files, via e-mail or cloud storage services.
In delving into these waters, of using said channels, I have found a newly discovered issue that this program can aid one with, regarding secured archives. As many of my readers are all-too aware of, in the second decade of the 21st. Century, web security and privacy have risen to the forefront of the public consciousness. With the exposure of how various government agencies collect data, in both mobile and computer platforms, people are more concerned and focused on keeping their lives away from prying eyes. Movements starting in the mid-to-late 1990’s have pushed for public key encryption, so that data can be exchanged, between parties, without being easily eavesdropped on by others. This has garnered support from various platforms, including e-mail clients and now archive programs. Ashampoo ZIP Pro fully backs and supports this usage, and allows you to create public keys, sign and encrypt/decrypt files, so they can be safely shared.
I want to emphasize that using such key encryption, (is and should only be) allowed to be used for legal, lawful purposes. This technology is not 100% hack proof, but is nearly that secure. However, the powers that be can trace your movements, files, and communications, via other methods and techniques. Also of note, such encryption practices may banned/outlawed, country to country, territory to territory, so be aware of the regulations that apply to you. While this is a feature set that I have decided to implement, to protect vital and sensitive information, this is just one feature that you will find useful.
One feature that I find very handy is the ability to transcode an archive from one file format to another. If you have the need to make an archive file that is readable, natively, on a different platform, it is very nice to change the file, rather than have to recompile the archive all over again. I know that when I have sent files to someone, say for instance, a Linux distribution, having an archive format that uses .tar for them, versus .zip may be more preferable.
I have had my share of broken files, and an archive that will not unpack that last file is very frustrating. Now, being able to use a wizard to fix the broken pieces of my archives is a nice saving grace. Just knowing that I might be able to rectify a failed download or messed up file, via e-mail gives me a tool that I have not had, until now.
I could bore you with the overflowing features that is great program provides, but let me cut to the chase. You will be hard pressed to find a better, more robust, well-rounded archive program for the money. For the price of $39.99 USD, you can get this great software, with top-tier tech support (of which I try and highlight for you), and a solid, stable product. Just as last week, they offer a free version, with basic features (sans OpenPGP and batch archive support) or a trial version, if you want to test out the features. Either way you go, I know that you will be very happy with this prospective purchase. As always, catch you later, folks!
(Note: I hope that you can get excited, as I have a prospective contest connected with my next review. Stay tuned . . .)