Dev shows off the little red Corvette that designing Windows Zip folders bought, shares details

Dave W Plummer's '94 Corvette
(Image credit: Dave W Plummer)

Retired Windows developer and successful YouTuber Dave W Plummer has revealed that his work on Zip folder integration in Windows paid for a little red Corvette. Microsoft first introduced built-in Zip support with its 'Compressed Folders' feature in the Windows 98 Plus! 98 pack. It went mainstream beginning with the much-maligned Windows Me in the year 2000.

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Providing some background to his Corvette acquisition tale, Plummer explains that he started writing a shell extension to browse zip folders back in 1993, working it into the upcoming Windows 95 user interface – just for fun. This project bore fruition as a shareware release dubbed VisualZIP.

One day, Plummer got a call from a Microsoft exec interested in acquiring VisualZIP. The call was definitely a mix-up as the exec was apparently unaware that Plummer already worked at Microsoft and was perplexed when he mentioned he could simply come round to her office for a chat – without any coordination with travel, security, legal, or similar machinations.

However, as he was already a Microsoft employee, Plummer ended up over the proverbial barrel. He was told he had two options: quit his day job and compete with Microsoft, or "cheerfully accepting their first, best, and only offer." Of course, he remained at Microsoft and, after taxes, had enough to buy a good-condition 1994 Corvette LT1.

The new price of a Chevrolet Corvette ranged from $39,205 to $46,510 in the year 2000, depending on specification, according to the Kelley Blue Book. We'd hate to guess what a "lightly used red 1994 Corvette LT1" would have cost back then, at around six years old – perhaps half the price of a new one? That would indicate Microsoft paid Plummer $20,000 or thereabouts for his work on VisualZIP.

Plummer wraps up his social media post by apologetically discussing the performance of Windows Zip support. He reckons it still uses "25+ year old code, [and] it's single threaded." Some shell, file path, and temp file fiddling also take time in the background. Moreover, Plummer reckons that Microsoft isn't likely to improve performance anytime soon.

Despite performance misgivings, many will have been and remain happy with Windows' integration of Zip file support. When it was introduced in the days of dial-up internet and screeching modems, it would have saved many people a lot of file transfer time – potentially meaning dollars off telephone bills. It may have also spurred Windows users' adoption of more advanced archive tools when advanced zip options or other formats were better choices for file transfers.

11 more archive formats recently gained support

It was only recently (last October) that Windows 11 finally saw a significant development in its compressed folders feature. Users of up-to-date installations can now enjoy the handy integration of native Windows support for rar, 7z, tar, tar.gz, tar.bz2, tar.zst, tar.xz, tgz, tbz2, tzst, and txz archives. The libarchive open-source project powers this latest integration.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • kyzarvs
    Is that really a "F You" license plate? Or have I been on the internet too long that I see FQU on a 'vette as an expletive?
    Reply
  • chaz_music
    I've enjoyed Dave Plummer's Youtube channel for years. The anecdotes are always fun and you can get an insight to the why/how of some parts of Microsoft and their OSes. He will occasionally give some code for you to use or as examples.
    Reply
  • evdjj3j
    kyzarvs said:
    Is that really a "F You" license plate? Or have I been on the internet too long that I see FQU on a 'vette as an expletive?
    This was my first thought.
    Reply
  • bkuhl
    evdjj3j said:
    This was my first thought.
    I went right there as well....
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    I SEE F... YOU :) 100%
    Reply
  • Ogotai
    too bad the pic of the Vette is that af a ZR1 rear end not the LT1 as mentioned....
    Reply
  • 8086
    Listen to Dave himself talk about the story on his youtube channel.

    aQUtUQ_L8YkView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQUtUQ_L8Yk
    Reply
  • cyrusfox
    PeaZip has shockingly better performance and open support for all compression formats, Free and open Source. Peazip is all I use now (so glad to be done with winrar...)
    Reply
  • Trailer98
    Ogotai said:
    too bad the pic of the Vette is that af a ZR1 rear end not the LT1 as mentioned....
    That's not a ZR1. The third brake light is mounted on top of the rear hatch on a ZR1, there are small, black filler plates between the backup lights and license tag on the ZR1, the rear end is wider, and would have a ZR1 badge on lower-right rear bumper.
    Reply