As you may have guessed, ZipItFree is a free alternative to archive managers like WinZIP or WinRAR. The program's website claims that it can manage more than 15 archive file formats, including ZIP, RAR, CAB, TAR, ARJ, JAR, GZIP, and others. However, I would say that this is not always true. Besides, I have to say that ZipItFree looked a bit unstable on my Windows 7 system.
The program offers a messy and little intuitive user interface whose visual design should be improved, in my opinion. However, after some practice, you can get used to it with no problems. Basically, ZipItFree allows you to browse/extract archives and to create new ones. When you browse an archive, you can add/remove files to/from it with ease. However, as I stated before, not all the formats mentioned are really supported by the program. In particular, I tried to browse a RAR archive, but it was not possible. ISO is also a very popular image file format that is not supported by ZipItFree. Besides, if you create a new archive, you can select among 10 supported formats, but if you select the ZIP format (probably the most popular one), the program will in fact create an archive with the .ace extension (i.e., not standard ZIP files).
ZipItFree features the "Black Hole" archive file format, which is said to provide very good compression rates. According to the publishers, the Black Hole format is capable of compressing even JPEG files up to 40%. Another very good feature of ZipItFree is that it allows you to create encrypted archives and select the protection method (128-bit AES-2, 192-bit AES-2, 256-bit AES-2, or ZIP 2.0 compatible). You can even customize the seed-keys used for the encryption algorithm.
Finally, even though the program is said to "come with extra tools", the only complementary tool I could find was "ZipKey", a small utility that mainly generates alphabetical, numeric, or alphanumeric passwords for your ZIP archives. In conclusion, considering all the advantages and disadvantages offered by ZipItFree, I would not really recommend using it unless you have really simple archive management needs. There are several other archive managers out there that you can also use free of charge, and they offer similar features and functionality to those of the commercial tools.
- Supports the "Black Hole" format, which offers excellent compression rates
- Allows you to create encrypted archives with the protection method of your choice
- You can customize the seed-keys for the encryption algorithm
- Includes the "ZipKey" utility, which acts as a password generator for ZIP archives
- Messy and little intuitive user interface
- A bit unstable under Windows 7
- Does not support browsing many popular archive file formats like RAR and ISO
- Seems to not be capable of creating standard ZIP archives