is there a free zip program that works like Winzip?

Somewhere out on that great information highway in the sky----
There must be a way to zip and unzip files --without registering and paying $30 , for something so basic that it should be included in Windows.

(Just like my car came with a lot of parts that I didn’t pay extra for: the windshield washer, rubber pads on the pedals, a fuel guage, etc… They were all right there, included in the basic price.
Because, ya know, it’s a pretty basic part of the system, that everybody uses.)

There is, and it is included.

And if you want something with a few more features than the included zip functionality, I suggest 7-zip, which is open source.

In addition to Doug K.'s link which tells us that Win10 has both zip and unzip built in, Windows versions starting with XP have included unzip (but not zip) as a built-in function.

I’ll add another endorsement for 7-zip. Great tool if you do a lot of this kind of work.

Hasn’t zipping been around since XP? Right-click in Explorer, select create new compressed folder, and add your files to it.

You may well be right. I don’t have an XP handy to check. It’s certainly present in Win7.

If indeed zipping has been there since XP then the OP’s issue makes even less sense than I thought. OTOH, Windows includes so many features “hiding” in plain sight that it’s not surprising that many people overlook them.

Yes, it’s been around since XP.

7-zip is what I use as well. I assume it is free, but I’ve had it so long I forget.

I use IZArc, but 7zip is excellent as well.

I also like 7-zip for its simplicity and ability to handle multiple formats.

IZarc, PeaZip and 7-Zip are all 3 good, solid products. PeaZip is open source freeware, IIRC, and can handle quite a few formats.

Doesn’t 7-zip work only on Windows 7 (hence the name)?

Nah, just coincidence. I used 7-zip on XP for years and now on Windows 7. I have not tried it on other OSes though.

ETA: according to their web page, “7-Zip works in Windows 10 / 8 / 7 / Vista / XP / 2012 / 2008 / 2003 / 2000 / NT. There is a port of the command line version to Linux/Unix.”

Apropos User Name award.

Hey, Luddite that I am, I used PKZIP and PKUNZIP on old DOS machines, since the days when Bill Gates was still in diapers. Throughout my experience with Windows up until a year or so ago, I continued to use those. The only time I ever needed to use WinZip was on occasion when someone sent me a WinZipped file that had something in it that PKUNZIP couldn’t understand.

ETA: BTW, Linux machines come with zip and unzip which seem to be more-or-less clones of PKZIP and PKUNZIP.

WinRAR is another good program. I believe it is free.

XP natively allowed the creation of password protected zip files (and of course standard ones). That feature was withdrawn as of Vista or Win7, so you need a third party utility to do that now.

Third party zip programs typically offer more control over the compression ratio (e.g. fast vs tight)

Ninja’d. I’ve been using WinRAR for years. It is free, but every time you open it up it nags you to purchase a full license. The “demo” never expires however.

yeah, me too! I loved PKzip and PKunzip–but they only worked on file names with 8 characters. Is there a version that works with modern file names ?

I had no problems with XP. But now I’m using Windows 7–and right-clicking only allows zipping , but no unzipping. Which is pretty damned stupid.

[rant for the Pit]As usual, an "up"grade to a new version is in reality a downgrade. It has produced zero benefits, and created a significant problem that prevents me from working. When a client sends me a zipped file, I need to see it right now, not spend hours looking for a workaround[/rant in the Pit]

In Win7 you don’t right-click a zip file to open it. You just double-click it and it opens in the disk Explorer exactly as if it was an ordinary folder.

Easy as pie.