Why is Windows ZIP support stuck at the turn of the century?

I’ve got two fun The Old New Thing stories for you today, starting with a story about Windows’ ZIP file support.

Every so often, a customer will ask whether Windows Compressed Folders (Zip folders) supports something fancy like AES encryption, and we have to shake our head and apologize. “Sorry, no.”

Why this sad state of affairs?

The compression and decompression code for Zip folders was licensed from a third party. This happened during the development of Windows XP. This means that the feature set of Zip folders was locked to whatever features were hip and cool as of around the year 2000.

You’d think Windows would eventually start supporting other archive formats as well, but no.

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