PowerArchiver 2011 Shows Superior ZIP/ZIPX Engine

key review info
application features
  • UAC elevation support
  • (9 more, see all...)

PowerArchiver is a modern file compression utility, which incorporates powerful features and tools, ready to serve the most demanding users. It lets you extract and compress between the most popular archive formants, but it can also decompress plenty of less known archive types.

The application has recently evolved to a new edition which brought in a set of unique features as far as a file compression programs are concerned. It now comes with Volume Shadow Copy support, which literally means that it can compress items even if they are in use. Another notorious improvement in the latest version is the ability to elevate itself to Administrator user level, if UAC is enabled on the unit.

The regular price of the Professional version is $34.95 (31.95 EUR), but at the moment the developer offers it with a 10% discount, dropping it to $31.45 (28.75 EUR). If you want to put its abilities to a test you can take it for a test drive for a period of 30 days with no major restrictions.

Compared to last year’s edition PowerArchiver 2011 shows a shiny new interface, flaunting Microsoft Ribbon for an easier use and access of the functions.

The Explorer-like layout has not changed and you will still benefit from preview feature for files like images and text. Though it may seem like a simple feature, in the case of PowerArchiver 2011 previewing a file comes with some extra options, such as zooming in and out as well as access to several preview modes: text, image, media, binary, Internet, HEX, Unicode or RTF.

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An archiver’s most powerful feature is support for as many compression formats as possible. In this respect, PowerArchiver has not changed and can still compress your files to ZIP, 7-ZIP, LHA, CAB, BH or TAR and decompress from ISO, ACE, ARJ, LHZ, ARC, ZOO, RAR, GZIP, LZMA or DMG. However, it looks like there are still problems with some of the formats as we tried to see the contents of several VHD images and failed.

Compression capabilities of the program have improved since our previous test. We used the same 1.13GB TXT file to compare speed and compression. With ZIP compression the values remained the same as PowerArchiver 2011 reduced its size to only 4%.

But in the case of 7ZIP things have taken a turn for the better. Speed of the operation improved as it completed in 1’49’’ as well as the compression; the file was archived to 1.3% of the original size.

This time around we also tried out the ZIPX format, which uses advanced compression methods. It finished the task in 1’19’’ and shrunk the 1.13GB TXT to 1.67%, proving that it is a viable solution if you’re looking for archival power.

Besides compression capabilities, PowerArchiver sports a set of instruments that come in handy, especially if you are a power user. The FTP client, although not a full-fledged one, is elaborate enough to save details for multiple connection profiles, support for SFTP and FTPS. It is helpful if you want to archive a set of items and upload them to a remote location without having to switch programs.

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The application also doubles as a backup utility. It can be used to schedule regular compression of data in a specific location. It’ll regularly check the folder for new items and add them to the backup archive automatically.

Setting up such a task is as complicated as you want it to be, because there are plenty of options to go through. Apart from choosing the destination of the archive and the elements that need to be compressed you can also choose the type of compression to be used together with the tweaks that stem from this: format, method, level.

Additionally, there are three types of backup to pick from (full, differential and incremental) and you can choose to split the result in pieces of a specific size. Moreover, encrypting all the data calls for password protection.

To top all these option, there is the possibility to make process-related setting. As such you can opt to postpone it if your computer (laptop) runs on battery, or to wake the system if it is not active. Should the task fail, it can be set to restart with a user-defined frequency, until successful.

“Tools” section in PowerArchiver 2011 lets you engage in operations such as file encryption, archive conversion (ZIP, 7-ZIP, CAB, BH or TAR), create multiple archives from individual files (batch archive), make self-extracting archives or repair ZIP files.

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If this is not enough, the suite brings in a file burner, to help you get the data to a CD/DVD. It is a simple burner which lets you erase rewriteable discs, create or burn ISO images.

The configuration panel in PowerArchiver requires a lot of patience, especially if you want to go through every option and setting. Customization includes everything, from the way the layout looks like, choosing the temporary folders, the context menu options or file formats associated with the app to setting up compression profiles for faster and easier operations.

This is not all as this is the place for you to set the default compression and encryption format and FTP information.

Another tool present in PowerArchiver is a password manager. Another tool present in PowerArchiver is a password manager. This is not for storing the passwords for your online accounts, but for the encrypted archives.

As soon as you decompress an archive or try to view its content and punch in the password the app will prompt you to save the countersign. This will be automatically used whenever you try to decompress the archive, so you do not have to remember it.

PowerArchiver 2011 is not a complicated compression tool, but it takes a while to configure it. Luckily, the current setup can be saved so you don’t have to do it again in case of a re-install. It is designed with the professional in mind but does not take out beginners and average users.

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The Good

We noticed improvements as far as the compression engines are concerned. This edition comes with extended support for compressed file types.

Among its abilities we count the possibility to create self-extractable archives, test them for errors and convert to a different format. Moreover, it can be used to automatically compress and upload data to a FTP location.

The application doubles as a backup utility, too, as it supports full, differential and incremental backup types. Scheduling the backup tasks is also an option on the menu.

The Bad

We noticed that not all supported formats are handled by the application. We tried several VHD images and failed to open them.

The Truth

PowerArchiver 2011 took large steps as far as improvement is concerned. It managed to integrate with Window 100% and to enhance the compression engines to even higher standards.

The set of tools it includes make it suitable for more activities than just compressing and decompressing data. It is a multi-purpose instrument that does a fine job regardless of the task you engage it in, but excels when it comes to doing what it has been designed to do originally: archiving.

user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 5
Editor's review