Why can’t the world just stick to one simple compressed format like zip, we hear you cry. There are all manner of reasons for choosing a different format - .7z is open-source for example – but most OSes can only handle a limited number of compression formats natively. This is where a dedicated archiving tool come into play, and there’s none more comprehensive than PowerArchiver.

It supports so many file formats (over 50 at last count) that it’s pointless to list them all – suffice to say pretty much any archived format can be read, and the key ones (including of course zip, 7-zip, TAR, GZIP and even ISO) can be written to as well.

The app supports high levels of encryption, with multiple methods supported and – as of PowerArchiver 2016 – support for encrypting and signing Adobe PDF and Microsoft Office documents too.

If you're more concerned about the program's practical benefits, there are plenty. It's extremely fast, for instance. VSS and UAC elevation support mean it can cope with problems where other tools fail, compressing files even if they're in use and need administrator access to read. and there are tools to repair archives, convert them between formats, create self-extracting archives and a whole lot more.

All of this is wrapped up in a slick, minimalist user interface that fits seamlessly into the Modern UI design of Windows 10 – yet PowerArchiver 2016 remains backwards compatible all the way to XP too. And if you don’t like the look and feel, you can customise just about every aspect of the user interface to better fit in with your desktop.

PowerArchiver is no longer distributed as an all-in-one app, but has split off key components into separate apps – now you can access its burner, encryption, backup, virtual drive and other tools without invoking the main suite.

Other notable changes in PowerArchiver 2016:

  • FTP improvements – various small improvements in FTP functionality.
  • Improved shell extensions – Improved shell extension behaviour when clicking on HDD or Start menu, depending on Windows OS.
  • Advanced add Window fixes – Fixed issue with selecting files in Advanced Add window.
  • Invalid filename extraction – Improved detection of invalid filenames under Windows, renaming them to proper filename during extraction.
  • PAE2 renaming – Improved behaviour of Encrypt window when renaming PAE2 files.
  • File selection in Modern/Ribbon ui – improved selection rectangle display when Modern GUI and color coded filelist are used.
  • GUI look when Aero disabled – Improved look for background color of PowerArchiver various windows when AERO is disabled – same background color is used now.
  • Fix for folder error – Specific issue with folder error displayed fixed.

Verdict

This major update simply enhances the deserved reputation this polished, professional yet straightforward archiving tool has built for itself.