How StuffIt stacks up against WinZip

WinZip is zippier, but StuffIt overall has slightly better compression

If you want to squeeze the greatest amount of data onto your hard drive, compression is the way to go -- and the ZIP format has long been a trusted method that nearly any Windows user can invoke. SmithMicro's StuffIt Deluxe 12 is a file-compression utility on steroids: it can archive and compress files of all types (to the Stuffit format and even to ZIP itself). The real question is: How well does it hold up against a well-known and popular application such as WinZip?

StuffIt runs on Windows Vista, XP, and 2000; a Mac version (US$79.99) supports Mac OS 10.4 and above. I chose to test the US$49.99 Deluxe version over the Standard version (US$24.99) because of its support for self-extracting archives and Office plug-ins.

What makes StuffIt a pleasure to use is its command center, where you can pick from a list of the most common functions:

  • Compress

  • Compress and send via FTP (it can keep track of multiple destinations)

  • Compress and e-mail the file

  • Create an archive and burn it to CD/DVD (it handles disk spanning and supports HD-DVD and Blu-Ray media, etc.)

All of the functions use an easy-to-follow, step-by-step wizard. Building a self-extracting archive is equally easy, with a five-step wizard that lets you choose the destination of the expanded file (for example, on your recipient's desktop), specify the text to display in a window before a user opens your file, and so on.

Click on any file in the list and you'll see the specifics (number of files in the archive, for example), and you can add files or add encryption. Double-click on a single-file archive and the program decompresses the file and displays it (assuming there's a program associated with the original file).

The second tab on the control center displays all the compressed files StuffIt finds on your system, which you can filter by date, name, or drive (but not folder) location. Click on any file in the list and you'll see the specifics (number of files in the archive, for example), and you can add files or add encryption. Double-click on a single-file archive and the program decompresses the file and displays it (assuming there's a program associated with the original file).

A third tab lets you search for an original file within an archive by name, size, date, and drive letter.

SmithMicro says its new release provides improved compression of Microsoft Office documents such as PowerPoint (which tend to be rich in graphics), PDF documents, and MP3 audio files. The company also says that StuffIt uses a variety of specialized compression technologies and picks the one best suited to your source, though there are plenty of options to choose from if you wish. For example, you can encrypt a file in StuffIt format using DES (64-bit encryption), AES (256-bit encryption), RC4 (512-bit), and Blowfish (448-bit).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rich Ericson

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?