Things change. I remember when Mac hard drives were small and file compression tools all the rage, helping us to save precious disk space.
Whatever happened to Stuffit, that little utility that compressed files on the Mac? Mac OS X, Tiger or Leopard, doesn’t care much about compressing files these days.
Both Tiger and Leopard have a built in archiving system called .zip, which both compresses and decompresses files. In Tiger, the term was Archive, but Leopard goes back to the more common term, Compress.
What compression utilities do is rather simple—they make file sizes smaller. The question these days, in the era of 500 gigabyte and one terabyte hard disks, is ‘why bother?’
I have not received a Stuffit file in probably two years, though I keep a copy of Stuffit Expander on my new install of Leopard. Just in case I receive a file that needs something to decode that .sit extension. It hasn’t happened in awhile.
Since Tiger, I’ve used the built-in zip archive utility, not so much to compress files to make them smaller. As I said, who cares? Hard disk space is cheap these days. I use zip to wrap up a bunch of files to send or archive. It’s easier to handle a single file than many files.
Stuffit runs on Windows these days and comes with more features than any Swiss Army Knife that Angus MacGyver ever had. Stuffit even zips and unzips.
What is surprising is the number of archiving utilities available for the Mac, even in this day and age when Mac OS X comes with an archive tool built in.
There’s a freeware GUI Tar utility, which adds a front end to the old Unix tar utility. Another zip version is the YemuZip, also free. FileShrinker shrinks files. Duh. It’s also free. See the common denominator among zip utilities?
Free seems to be the order of the day for utilities which archive in one of the various zip formats. You would expect a better zip utility to cost money, and that’s the case. BetterZip is $20 and it, well, zips up files. There’s even Windows zip (WinZip) compatibility, ability to add a password, and even delete individual files from an archived file (a handy feature left over from the old Stuffit days).
iShrink is half the price of BetterZip but it claims to be eight times faster than older versions. I don’t recall the last time I noticed a zip file being slow to zip or unzip, but faster is always better, I guess.
I’ve used CleanArchiver with some success. I like the price. Free.
The question that many Mac users may ask is, “Why?” Why bother to archive at all these days? The file size reduction is modest compared to the lower-than-ever cost of hard disk space.
The Disk Utility in OS X Tiger and Leopard does a nice job of creating disk images which can hold many files, which is what archiving is all about anyway.
Maybe that’s why I like CleanArchiver. It does both.
Allow me to post the question to Mac360 readers. Do you archive files on your Mac or PC? If so, what tools do you use to archive? If so, why do you archive at all? What’s the advantage?
As always, Talk Back to Mac360 with your perspective and experience in the Comments section below.