By Deane Barker on March 5, 2004

I’d just like to give a quick hats off to the guys over at PKWare. They make PKZip, which is a zip utility. Now, I know you use WinZip because of its unlimited trial period, but when you outgrow that, PKZip is a fantastic tool.

The strongest asset of PKZip (and the reason I went looking for it), is its command line utility. You can create command line scripts for about anything you need to do. Do you want to zip a directory, except for files matching a certain pattern? No problem. You want to zip all files on your machine larger than 10MB that haven’t been modified in the last 30 days? Done.

You want to compress files from a text list…in their 8.3 file name format…that are marked as Read-Only (but strip that attribute in the stored version)…including a comment with each file…..sorted by size within the archive…encrypted with a password and a digital certificate…and you want it to be a self-extracting EXE file…and you want a certain file in the archive to run after its self-extracted…and you want to do this from a single command line so you can schedule the task? Okay.

PKZip includes a 214-page PDF file just for command line operations with a great tutorial.

Finally, as if this all wasn’t good enough, their tech support is first-rate. Submitting a ticket from their site got me an email within 30 minutes. Responses to this email were returned within 2 or 3 minutes. They solved all my problems.

Okay, enough gushing. I’ve got some zipping to do. (Yes, yes — my mouth will be the first target.)



  1. FYI — I’ve been automating tasks with PKZIP and batch files for at least 14 years. However, after reading your article, I have to comment that it’s a bit misleading.

    Though I agree that PKware is a great took, WINZIP has similar capability. I recently downloaded the command line add-on to Winzip, and I’ve been using it to automate ZIP tasks with excellent results.

    While I haven’t compared the two products in detail, and I won’t make any claims that one is better than the other, it is worthwhile noting that WinZip can be automated via the command line in much the same way as PKzip.

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