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(Or, questions which would be frequently asked if it were not for the presence of this document)

Content Issues
Extracted file is crap
Are all AVI's in Zix archives garbage?
Operational Problems
Program doesn't do anything
New version doesn't either
What's that error message mean?
Setup and Language
Why Visual Basic?
Why No Setup program?
License Issues
Why such a complex license aggreement?
Why am I not allowed to install WinZix?
Explain that software/not software clause.
Viruses and Warnings
Why all the warnings?
Are all executables infected, or what?
Why don't you stop me from extracting infected files?
Operational Features Progress dialog still up after whole file created?
Getting In Touch
Where's your website at?
Are you gonna charge me for this?



Bad Content

Q: I used your program to extract an AVI file, but the result is garbage. It won't play in any player, whatever I do and whatever I install. You messed up!
A: No I didn't. Crap in, crap out. The WinZix mongers like to spread crippled AVI files in order to entice you to install the 3wPlayer (or the Vodei player). Which is just as infested with spyware as WinZix is. You have simply come across such a file.
The devil of it is, some ZIX archives actually do contain valid AVI files. I've come across at least one myself. So you never know.
UnZixWin at least tries to help by checking the start of the AVI before extracting it. If it's not kosher, the status bar flashes pink to warn you.


So, are those crippled AVI files just random garbage?

I don't really know. They might be garbled or encrypted AVI files which could be playable with the players mentioned above. Certainly, they are very information-dense (they won't compress much if at all with any real compression program), much like divx/xdiv AVI files.
Which is why I'm not yet sure what kind of data it is. If there's real AVI data in there, it's either encrypted or garbled. I can find no AVI-specific RIFF tags anywhere in the data stream, so it's not just a truncation. I'll be researching this soon.

In any case, the AVI files are just as useless to you. If you install any of the players just mentioned, then you're in a whole new world of hurt. Simply uninstalling the players won't get the spyware off your system. People have reported suffering a lot of damage and a lot of hassle before managing to purge their systems from this crap, if indeed they did.

So, in short, cut your losses and throw that AVI away.


Operational Problems

Q: I ran UnZixWin and opened a Zix archive. But it just says 'Analyzing...' and then doesn't do anything. I've been waiting for hours, and nothing! You messed up!
A: Yes I did.

You're probably using version 0.0.5, which contains a bug where this happens occasionally. You should get hold of version 0.0.7, where this should be fixed.

In my defense, when I released the first version, I had seen a total fo two (2) ZIX archives, and coded the utility based on what little knowledge I gained from dismantling those, plus incomplete (and somewhat erroneous) information found elsewhere. It's little wonder that files should pop up which confuse UnZixWin.

Q: So, I did like you said and downloaded the new version. It still won't work. Now what?
A: Get in touch with me. I'll try to determine the cause of the problem.
Q: When I run UnZixWin.exe, I get an error message about some missing DLL. What's that about?
A: You need to have the Visual Basic runtimes installed on your computer. For many users, these files have already been installed by other software, or perhaps by Windows Setup itself.
You should have got a separate installer for the VB runtimes along with the UnZixWin utility.
Run that, accept Microsoft's end-user agreement, to extract the installation package.
Then, run that package to set up the runtimes. After this, UnZixWin should run without trouble.

Also, UnZixWin needs support from SHLWAPI.DLL, a dll which is installed with Internet Explorer versions 5 and later. It is highly likely to be on your system already. But if you don't have Internet Explorer installed, or have uninstalled it manually, you may get complaints about this file being missing.

Setup and Language

Q: Why didn't you write this thing in C++ like, you know, a real programmer?
A: Because then you would see this utility in six months instead of right now, when it's needed.
I'm nowhere near good enough with C++ yet to whip up reliable code fast. By contrast, the first working version of UnZixWin was written in Visual Basic in a week-end. It has already saved lots of people lots of grief.
Q: Why don't you supply a setup program like regular folks? Then nobody has to go through this stuff with the VB runtimes.
A: I felt people might be wary of setup programs after encountering the ones which infested their computers with spyware. Being able to run a utility out-of-the box was, I felt, a welcome change of style. What's your take on it?

License Issues

Q: Why is your EULA (End-User Licence Aggreement) so gnarly?
A: I've tried to mimic the legalese practised by other software vendors, up to a point.
It's mostly CYA stuff, to prevent myself from being blamed in case you extract something nasty, get your system damaged, and start looking for someone to blame.
In any case, depending on national and/or international law, the EULA might be invalid due to some legal techicality (such as failure to WRITE EVERYTHING IN UPPERCASE AS IF YOU WERE SHOUTING AT THE POOR SCHMUCK WHO WANTED TO INSTALL YOUR SOFTWARE mua ha ha)
Q: Why can't I run WinZix before or after running your crappy utility?
A: Sure you can. You misread or misunderstood the clause in the EULA.
You can run whatever you want on your computer, in any order you like. But please understand that, once WinZix has been on your computer, there's no telling what that computer might do, and what piece of software (if any) caused the problem. If your system has been infected, somebody across the internet may freely take over your computer and start deleting files. In that case, don't blame me for anything that happens to your system for any reasons whatsoever.
Q: What's all that talk about ZIX files being (or not being) software? What do you mean?
A: ZIX files are data, not software. But if your .ZIX extension has been asosciated with the WinZix program, then double-clicking on a ZIX archive will launch WinZix. When that happens, your computer may or may not be compromised again (It's not only the WinZix installer that knows how to pull nasty tricks).
So, if double-clicking a ZIX archive causes software to run, are we still able to interpret it as pure data? This is a legal debate I don't want to be part of, so take precautions to exculp myself from.
Furthermore, ZIX files can contain executable code (files ending with .EXE, .BAT, .PIF, .VBS, .MSI and a few other extensions). Once extracted, those files constitute software.

About warnings and viruses

Q: Why does UnZixWin pester me with warnings about the file contents?
A: As a charitable service. Based on experiences collected from victims of WinZix and its cronies, some files are highly dangerous to extract, or just *might* pose a risk. I thought it only fair that any occasional user should be warned before dealing with these files.
Q: From what UnZixWin tells me, every executable file (*.exe) I click on might be infected. How does it know that?
A: It doesn't. But please understand that those people who create ZIX archives are virus mongers, and that any program they share with you through a ZIX archive should be treated with extreme caution. It is highly likely to be infected.
Even if someone innocently has used WinZix in the misguided belief that it offers better compression (it offers none whatsoever), that means that WinZix is on their system. And for that reason alone, *any* excutable on their computer may have been compromised.
They are no longer in full control of their system. Somebody else is. And he might infect whatever program he chooses without the user ever knowing. Don't let this happen to you.
Q: Why doesn't UnZixWin prevent me from extracting virus-infested files? Why only a warning?

There are valid reasons why a person might want to extract such a file. Perhaps they want to test their antivirus/antispyware shield. Perhaps they want to peek inside it and see what it does. Perhaps they feel they have no option but to extract and execute these files. Perhaps they don't trust in any warnings from me.
Or, perhaps they are just plain stupid.

In any case, it would be wrong to try to actively prevent users from doing with these files what they want. All I can do is issue warnings. Your system, your rules.


Operational Features

Q: When I started extracing a file, the target file was there in its entirety (the file size matches that reported by UnZixWin) in no time at all. But the copy progress window is still up, and claims to be working. Why?
A: UnZixWin pre-allocates space for the target file (using IStream:SetSize(), for programmers who are curious) in order to improve the data transfer rate. But until UnZixWin finishes copying the data, the contents of the file are garbage (more specifically, remnants of file data which occupied those sectors of the disk previously). So, please be patient and wait for the copy progress dialog to go away.

Getting in touch

Q: So, where's that website with the checksums you promised?
A: It's on the way. Check out http://scamwatch.kennethsorling.se
Q: Are you going to start charging money for this utility anytime soon?
A: Nope. Making money off of a scam is, I feel, almost as bad as being part of it.
UnZixWin is free, and will continue to be free. At least, until some asshole sues me and I need to whip up some dough to cover legal expenses. Let's all pray that doesn't happen.