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Mijenix ZipFolders

13 October 2018

When disk compression was a more important thing (as megabytes were expensive), programs like Stacker and DriveSpace would allow you to compress the whole disk and gain extra space. ZipFolders changes this idea. Instead of compressing the whole disk, you could compress directories into ZIP files (the same .zip as created by Phil Katz). The important difference to using PKZip was that you could then access all the files in the ZIP file transparently, as if it was any other directory.

This product was renamed from ZipFolders to ZipMagic in late 1996.

The first version had a release for both 16-bit Windows 3.1/WfW and 32-bit Windows 95. NT 4 was unsupported until ZipMagic 98.

16-bit Version

The first version of this software for Windows 3.1 was ZipFolders 1.0, and the final version was ZipMagic 1.0.

The installer loads the necessary low level drivers, and adds an extension to File Manager. The program loads on Windows startup and sits in the background, compressing or extracting files as necessary. ZIP files appear as directories in File Manager and all common dialog boxes as well.

ZipMagic 1 in Windows for Workgroups File Manager.

I tested both ZipFolders 2.03 and ZipMagic 1.0. Out of the two, I found ZipMagic to be rather buggy, often corrupting ZIP files entirely. Although it comes with tools to help recover corrupt files, having a folder of files replaced with one file called "error.txt" would strike panic into anyone. On the other hand, ZipFolders 2.03 worked flawlessly.

32-bit Version

The ease of use of Windows 95's desktop is made apparent here. Moving files in and out of ZIP folders is as easy as any other file operation.

Zip folder on the Windows 95 desktop.

You can turn ZipMagic on and off easily through the icon in the notification area, or through a button on the load/save dialog box. This makes it easier to select ZIP files to e-mail or copy to another disk.

Windows 95 save dialog with ZipMagic properties menu.

An archive manager is also included. Early versions look and function a lot like Mijenix's PowerDesk.

Mijenix Archive Manager.

Known Versions

Here is an incomplete list of the versions of ZipFolders and ZipMagic I've found. If you have a version I don't have, please get in touch!

Version           Date         Platform

ZipFolders
1.02              1996-09-06   W3.1, W95
2.01              1996-11-27   W3.1, W95
2.02              1996-12-19
2.03              1997-02-05

ZipMagic
1.0               1997-02-05   W3.1, W95
1.01              1998-05-21   W95
2.01 [98]         1998-04-30   W95, W98, NT4
2.02              1998-07-01
3.00.145 [2000]   1999-08-07   W95, W98, NT4, 2000
3.01.186          1999-10-17
3.01.355          2000-03-24
4.0               2000-07-10   W95, W98, Me, NT4, 2000
4.00.32           2000-08-14
4.01.59           2000-11-27
4.02.75           2001-04-27

ZipMagic Lite
OEM or corporate only. A reduced-feature version of 4.0.
I currently have no versions of it to document.

ZipMagic was then sold to Aladdin Systems. They would then create a Windows XP compatible version, and align its version number (9.0) to match the Stuffit line of compression software.

The program has since passed through more hands, but that is beyond the scope of my interest in this.

I remember trying out ZipMagic 4 from a cover disc years ago, and being rather impressed. It made using ZIP files a breeze, and meant I could save quite a lot of disk space compressing up entire folders of documents. Unfortunately, as it was a trial, I ran out of my 30 trial days and 10 grace days. I still thought it was a good concept though, and the implementation of compressed folders in Windows is not as good.

I would not use a program along these lines today. If you need to compress files to save disk space, NTFS still supports the compression attribute. Also, a lot of file types are compressed in some way by default these days (such as Microsoft's Office XML format). Finally, ZIP files will always be more fragile than established file systems.

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