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AppZip - running a compressed program

ClifNotes, Oct 2006, permalink


AppZip does something unique. It will compress an entire application and all the files in it's program folder, then it will let you decompress and run it later, all in one action. After the program is closed, AppZip will re-compress the program files once again.


Why would you want to do this? Most folks will never need anything like this because most of today's hard drives have plenty of extra space so there is never a reason to compress an application. However, if you are running short on HD space, or you are trying to fit a bunch of apps onto a USB flash drive, then AppZip just might do the trick.


I tried AppZip out on my installation of EasyCleaner. The installed folder is 3.5mb in size. Afterward using AppZip, there were two files that appeared in the AppZip folder, an EasyCleaner.az and an EasyCleaner.az2 file. They were only about 1.4mb in size. That's a very good compression ratio.


While I was playing with it, I figured out a few things about how the author put AppZip together. He used two freeware command line applications "Zip" and "Unzip" from Info-Zip.org. The AZ file that AppZip creates is really just a standard zip file that's created by Info-Zip. The AZ2 file is an index file that contains the location of the target application and it's executable file.


This is a simple way to compress programs but the downside is that the AZ and AZ2 file must reside in the AppZip program folder. If they are moved, the AppZip program can't find the Info-Zip utilities for compressing and decompressing. The author has also chosen to keep his program dependent on a unique mfc42.dll file which must reside in the AppZip folder. I'd also like to see him hide the DOS window that pop's up when AppZip is compressing or decompressing.


In conclusion, I think this is a handy tool for use in very special situations, but I'd like to see the author remove the dependence on the AZ file locations and the DLL file. He could also package it into an installer so that AppZip can register the AZ and AZ2 files with the correct actions.


Quote from the readme file

AppZip is a freeware utility that lets you compress whole applications into a single file for storage. When you want to launch the application, the AppZip Launcher will automatically uncompress it and again recompress it after the program closes.