Originally released in 1998, PowerArchiver has withstood the test of time as a relevant and useful Windows file archiving and backup tool. Regularly updated every month, it now fully supports Windows 10, so I decided to test the software and see what is so great about it and why it may be a better option to popular choices such as WinRAR. For starters, the software provides a wide range of capabilities beyond comprehensive compression, such as encrypting your data to a full fledged disc burner that supports Blu-Ray. The Toolbox package provides all the compression features from PowerArchiver Pro, as well as advanced data backup tools through FTP, or even popular cloud storage services. There’s even an Outlook plugin that provides hands on control of attachments.
The combination of these applications and other features is what makes the PowerArchiver ToolBox powerful and efficient archiving utility. As a result, I’ll start with the unique features specific to this package, and then I’ll look at some great features from the other PA versions that have also been included. This is in a bid to give you a broader review. So, let’s begin.
PowerArchiver Virtual Drive
This feature is specific to PA ToolBox. The PA Virtual Drive allows you to mount ISO files as Virtual Drives. This simply means that you can create ISO disc images without having to burn any CD or DVD. This tool supports several drives and is very easy to use. It is compatible with both 32bit and 64bit Windows.
This feature first hit me as not being useful anymore. I asked myself when I last had to mount or create an ISO disc image to save myself the time and cost of burning a disc, PowerISO anyone? But, than I remembered that my latest desktop does not even have a disc drive, and in specific situations, such as efficiently backing up audio Compact Disc album compilations, or Windows Install discs.
Full FTP/SFTP client
A notable aspect of this package is the PowerArchiver FTP/SFTP client, an advanced FTP client that is accessible from the ribbon bar. This tool brings in several features that were not in the other PowerArchiver versions. One of these features is secure protocols such as SFTP, FTP with SSL and FTP with SSL/TLS protocols as well as FIPS certification. The FTP/SFTP client is integrated with PowerArchive which means you can directly upload files from archives to FTP and download them directly to archive without unpacking anything. Its multi-tabbed interface is another great feature that lets you establish multiple server connections at the same time.
In addition, you can easily track, edit and update multiple opened files as required. It also includes an advanced queue system that allows you to create a queue with multiple file transfers, limit their global transfer as well as set a post-task action like automatic disconnection from the FTP server, stay idle or even shutdown the computer. These actions immediately take place once the queue is completed.
Full Standalone CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Burner
Another unique tool is the PA Data Burner which includes five tools that allow you to copy discs, ISO images or burn archives to a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc. These five tools include Burn files to Disc, Burn image (.iso), Copy or Erase Disc, New Disc Image (.iso) and Audio CD Burner and Ripper.
Again, who still burns discs? Well, I suppose there are still a small group of individuals still holding on dearly by their Blu-Rays. But when it comes to audio, professionals still use CD format for lossless audio. Due to the large file size, cloud storage and costly USB sticks are not always the best way to share demos for example. With the advent of MP3s, digital sound quality took a hit, and believe it or not, a properly mastered disc will sound better than a vinyl and have a wider spectrum range, which explains why many audiophiles still buy CDs.
Otherwise, there is small use for discs and they are not eco-friendly, but if you need it, the Burner does not disappoint, with an easy to use interface, and all the options you can ask for.
Beautiful Customizable Interface
PowerArchiver’s dashboard has a beautiful interface based on the Microsoft Office ribbon interface which gives it a familiar look for easier use. The features are arranged in ribbon tabs and spread over the interface. The interface is very customizable and comes with nine different skins giving you an opportunity to personalize the app in the best way that suits you.
One aspect that I did not have a chance to test, was their touch screen support for tablets. But it should also be noted that it looks great on 4k resolution screens with large DPI support.
Encryption Suite with Full OpenPGP Support
If you deal with a lot of confidential files that contain secret or sensitive information, then this tool is vital. You can protect all your files as well as greatly reduce their size. This tool features ZIP/ZIPX 256 AES Encryption/Decryption, major compression utilities and is fully compatible with open data standards. It also supports opening of various encrypted ZIP archives. You can create and open encrypted OpenPGP files using different encryption options. With the Secure encryption, you can encrypt Office files, PDF files, and many others.
This tool also includes an OpenPGP Key Manager for creating and adding new OpenPGP keys. Furthermore, the Encryption Suite allows you to encrypt and decrypt multiple files at the same time. It also supports several archiving formats such as ZIP, 7-ZIP, PAE, PAE2 and OpenPGP giving you the opportunity to select the archiving format that you desire for your encrypted files. Everything is pretty simple and clear.
It facilitates access to various cloud services for file sharing like Dropbox, Azure, Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon S3 and Box.Net, thus enabling you to quickly upload full files or single files inside arhives to cloud. It also allows you to quickly download and open files from the cloud.
Advanced Enterprise-Class Backup
This toolbox includes an advanced Enterprise-class backup that allows you to create backup copies and save them in Power Archiver auto-backup script PBS. This tool comes with multiple features such as Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) which can be utilized to backup any file without having to close the program using it.
Another great feature is the 3local/network destinations that allow you to backup copies of your files up to 3 local or network destinations for maximum safety. You can also utilize the advanced 7-zip compression to reduce the backup size significantly. If you have not yet installed a special backup program on your system, then this tool is extremely useful as it can also restore accidentally deleted data.
PowerArchiver Command Line
PowerArchiver Command Line is another versatile and reliable application that is included in this toolbox. It is a standalone archiving utility for Windows console environments and supports a number of popular file formats for compression such as ZIP, ZIPX, 7-ZIP, CAB, JAR, TAR, TAR.GZ, TAR.BZ2, yENC, Base64, CAB SFX among others. It also includes five different encryption methods.
PowerArchiver ToolBox vs. Standard vs. Pro
As I had mention earlier, PowerArchiver ToolBox combines PowerArchiver Standard and Professional together. Full FTP/SFTP Client, CD/DVD/Blu-ray Burner, PowerArchiver Virtual Drive and Copy CD/DVD discs to ISO images for safe storage are some of the tools that are specific to PowerArchiver ToolBox. The package is worth $49.95 per license and comes with a 20% discount offer. That’s a pretty fair deal considering its comprehensive set of tools. However, comparing the packages was confusing to say the least, until I found a comparison chart on the order page. I suggest to consult it to choose the right package for you, as the Toolbox edition may not be required.
Mainly for compression tools, but includes all the advanced compression features such as Volume Shadow Copy. If all you want is an alternative to WinRAR, this would be your choice, and it notably supports more file formats than most other compression tools on the market.
The Pro version is arguably the most applicable option for most users. It adds cloud backup support, allowing you to sync to Dropbox, Google Drive, S3, and some other popular cloud storage services. Full file encryption capabilities, enterprise level backup tools, ISO maker, Command line and script support, as well as their Outlook plugin.
- Cloud Storage Sync
- File Encryption
- ISO Maker Tool
- Enterprise Class Backup Suite
- Command Line and Script Support
- Outlook Plugin
Finally you have the Toolbox edition, which includes all of the Standard and Professional features, as well as a few additional tools which I covered earlier, as well as some small ones that I skipped over. These include zip to email plugin for Outlook, mounting ISO files and copying discs to ISO, full disc burning suite, and a standalone FTP client. If any of the features below are required, the price difference is small enough to make the jump.
- Advanced ISO Maker – supports mounting and disc copy
- Standalone CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Burner
- Secure Satndalone FTP Client
PowerArchiver offers a powerful and multi-purpose archiving package. For starters, the compression engine is fast, reliable, and supports a wide range of formats. This makes it stand out as an efficient archiving tool on the market. The other main advantage is the ability to combine many other features under one roof. FTP backups are especially useful for me, and integrated cloud storage makes it easier to create additional off-site backups.
Than there’s encryption, which is often not considered enough for small businesses and individuals looking to better secure their personal data. I much rather have my off-site backups be fully encrypted, and PowerArchiver does a fantastic job of seamlessly adding these functions to my backup process.
I found the exclusive Toolbox features to be less interesting for most users with the exception of the FTP client, but as an audiophile myself, I do find value in being able to quickly copy and backup audio discs in the future. Overall PowerArchiver did a good job at combining related software tools in a complete suite that could fully replace WinRAR, PowerISO, and your FTP client if you wished so, all with good performance and stability.