Having seen how good Winzip 14 can look from Scott Hanselman's blog I decided to try it out but the first thing that annoyed me with the installer is that fact that it attempts to install the Google toolbar, I don't really like any of these toolbars as I have installed other plug-ins that allow me to work how I like with my web browser. Anyway I'm perfectly capable of downloading and installing software from Google if I want it, I don't like software being forced upon me.
Despite this annoyance Winzip 14 does look good and has a useful jump menu when pinned to the Windows 7 taskbar.
During the installation I also have been presented with the option to select zip or zipx as the default file format for Winzip. The advantage of zipx being that it provides better compression but with the disadvantage that it is not compatible with older editions of Winzip. To test this out I zipped a folder containing a set of my photos using both formats. The uncompressed folder was 127 MB, the zipx file was 96 MB and the zip file was 126 MB.
This screenshot shows the summary screen that is displayed when the compression is complete. One thing that I did notice was the zipx compression is significantly slower than the zip compression. However there was a reasonable difference in size approximately 20 MB. Although the zipx provides space saving and should therefore allow users to download a smaller file from your web site I don't think I start immediately providing downloads in the format simply because at the time of writing Winzip seems to be the only option for anyone looking to extract the data. However 7-Zip an open source alternative to Winzip indicates in a forum that support for zipx will come in future releases, when this happens I'll then contemplate using zipx as my default format until then I'll stick with zip.