I always find myself amazed anytime I see someone that is still using WinZip. There are so many free utilities out there to choose from, and yet they still choose the one app that either requires you to pay or you have to wait minutes for a nag screen to disappear. 7-Zip is the one I normally recommend since it’s also a veteran with over 10-years under its belt, but I’m also rather fond of PeaZip.

I recently came across ZipGenius that I’d say is also one of the better alternatives. One of the things I really like about it is that it includes a tabbed interface for browsing the contents of compressed files. Generally speaking the file navigator is nicer than some of the other utilities out there, but I normally spend most of my time in the Explorer context menu (also pictured above). In that respect I like that it has icons associated with each menu item which is something 7-Zip doesn’t do, but aside from that the entries are all standard.

ZipGenius supports all of the popular formats including ZIP, JAR, XPI, TAR, TAR.GZ, RAR (extract only), 7Z, CAB, and ISO (extract only). It can also encrypt your archives using Blowfish, Twofish, AES-256 (Rijndael), or CZIP 2.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering whether this beats out the other free utilities like 7-Zip? Well, at this point I’d say it’s on par with them. There isn’t really anything that makes me jump out of my seat, but the developer is regularly updating ZipGenius so I know it will continue to get better. It’s one I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on.

Note: When I went into the options there was a lot of missing text. I quickly noticed the reason was that there was no default language selected. To correct this navigate to the layout icon (there will be no text underneath the icon), and from the drop down select English:

zipgenius language.png

ZipGenius Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)

There Are 7 Comments

  1. Oops, I’m one of those people still using WinZip. I never thought there where another options…

  2. Does anyone know if this will open .alz files? I use AlZip at home (Korean version is still free) but since the English version isn’t free anymore I’d like to find an alternative for my work machines. I’ve tried 7-zip but can’t get the context menu to work (running 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2) which is what I really like about AlZip (and the new/bird folder). Has anyone confirmed that the context menu on ZipGenius will work on 64 Server ’08 R2?

  3. Has anyone found a full freeware compression util which handles zip, 7z, rar (including compression) and iso with a GUI and context menu similar to WinZip? There are plenty of rar decompressors.

    • As far as I know RAR is a proprietary format that only allows third parties (a.k.a. anyone not WinRAR) to extract, and not compress.

  4. As with all archive programs and file explorers if the explorer runs in 32-bit then only 32-bit context menu extensions will work. On 64-bit explorer it will work with 64-bit context menu extensions only. This is very confusing about 64-bit windows because the built in explorer at least in Vista was still 32-bit. I use Directory Opus myself so I get to pick which version I install. You can use the 32-bit versions of the programs and the context menu will likely start working.

    Ryan, ZipGenius has been around for a long time and indeed is an excellent archiver. Thanks for the great revue of the newer version. The tabs are a definite new feature since I last gave it a try.

    • I didn’t realize how long ZipGenius had actually been around (since 1997 apparently). I seem to recall hearing the name several times over the last few years, but for whatever reason never actually thought to check it out.

  5. A note for those wondering about 64-bit; they just released a beta 64-bit context menu extension that works as an add-on to the 32-bit software ([]). This should provide the wanted functionality assuming the explorer you are running is running in 64-bit mode. Process Explorer has a column you can turn on if you want to know what mode a program is running in. Good luck.

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