Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Still not liking StuffIt

Last January I ranted about the StuffIt archive format and StuffIt Expander on Windows. I was annoyed that to be able to unpack a .sit archive I needed to download a huge shareware program which messed up my archive associations.

Fast forward to today and I needed to open another .sit archive – again, a font. Last time I don’t think I was totally fair because I used an old version of StuffIt, so this time I opted for the latest version from As before, it is impossible to download the free StuffIt Expander anymore, instead you have to download a trial version of either StuffIt Standard Edition or StuffIt Deluxe which expire after 30 and 15 days respectively.

First annoyance was the insistence of providing my name and email address before being able to download, but that’s easily sorted by using a fake name and a throwaway email alias. The email address needs to be valid because the link to the download is then emailed to you, so my usual won’t work here.
More worryingly is this: By confirming your email address and downloading this file, you are signing up to receive periodic followup emails from us.. All the more reason to use a throwaway address.

Once you’ve received the email and followed the link, you then get a 14MB file to download. On 1MB broadband this isn’t a problem, but that’ll take the best part of an hour on dial-up.

The installer is improved and it though it does want to be your default archiving program for a wide range of formats, you can deselect individual formats. What’s more, it won’t destroy the associations of the formats you deselect like it did last time I ran the program, which is an improvement. That said, I did create a System Restore checkpoint before running the install to avoid a repeat of last time.

Installed, the program takes up 20MB, mainly because you have the full version of the program and not a small extraction utility. The interface is alright, I suppose, if a little overcomplicated.

I really should have used ExtractNow but I wanted to believe that StuffIt isn’t as bad as I said it was. Unfortunately it is.

Mac users: please, please stick with .zip. It’s the universal archive format that everyone can use, no matter what operating system. .sit is a lot of trouble for anyone not using a Mac.


  1. .zip is built-in to OS X, and is available as a contextual menu, so it should be painless to drop Stuffit. Unfortunately, Stuffit is a legacy app that was the only “real” method of archiving and compressing for over a decade, which means most Mac addicts still use it (and probably don’t realize that .zip is built-in, or what it even does). I have a feeling it will be quite a while before we’ve seen the last of Stuffit.

  2. Neil, do you ever use your email address on those stupid forms? I tend to always use, or something to expletive to type here. But I didn’t know they have resorted to now emailing you the download link. Before you just needed a fake email. This is no doubt due to the new ownership.
    You have to remember that Stuffit was built for the Mac. Unfortunatly it has went through a number of owners through the years, and ever since Stuffit 4 it left its original creator. Ever since it is has sucked more and more in my opinion.
    Oh and there no longer exists a free stuffit expander. Expander is gone, forever. You have to use the shareware StuffIt Standard Edition now. Yea, that is stupid, I know.
    The built in .zip in OS X is great. But before OS X (and in some cases into OS X’s existence, files still used a resource fork. I think some do. When you archive in .zip, you lose that resource fork. That is the reason for Stuffit.
    But I have to agree with your rant, it is overly complicated to download the shareware Stuffit Standard.
    The 3rd party Windows utilities out that open .sit do not, to my knowledge, open the newer .sitx archive. What is annoying about .sitx is you have to upgrade to the newest version of Stuffit Standard even on the Mac to un-archive those files.
    With OS X dropping the resource fork thing, for better or worse, means that more and more Mac users will get used to using .zip, and I believe that is why Apple included the functionality in the Finder’s contextual menu, finally.

  3. Neil, thanks for the link to ExtractNow. I can now open .sit files without the bloatware Stuffit. I got the files that needed extracting from the Nissan website (pictures of trucks). Someone should clue them in to the difficulty with their archive format.