WinRAR

Create and open all types of files with this intuitive program

6.0

345 Votes

  • Category File Compression
  • License Trial version
  • Version 64 bits 5.40
  • Size 2.22 MB
  • Works under Windows 10 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP / Windows 98 / Windows 95
  • Language English
  • Program by Rarlab

WinRAR is a program used to open and create compressed archives made in a variety of different formats, including ZIP, RAR, and in the latest version of the program, RAR5. WinRAR supports a much higher compression ratio than the default Windows ZIP application, and also allows for strong encryption of compressed files. You can protect your compressed files with a password and 256-bit AES encryption; one of the strongest encryption standards on the market.

WinRAR also supports the creation of self-extracting archives. This allows users to package their archives with a .EXE executable extension, just like a stand alone program. When the executable is double-clicked, the archive will extract itself (the user can specify the directory for the files to extract to) and can even run an executable or batch file within the extracted files. This allows for the easy creation of compressed program installer files for program developers and also comes in handy for automating various other tasks.

Longtime WinRAR users will be pleased to note that the interface has not changed a lot in this most recent version of the program. Users still have the ability to create and open archives, test old archives for errors, and even recover damaged archives in many cases. Most of these processes can be done manually or by using the built-in wizard feature. WinRAR can be used for automating disk backup tasks, generating automatic archive names based on a "mask" or combination of a user-specified name and the current date or time. Users can specify whether they want the original files to be deleted or retained as compression proceeds, which is good for large backup tasks or environments tight on disk space. WinRAR also offers the option to shut down the computer when the compression process is complete.

At compression time, WinRAR allows the user to choose from various levels of compression, usually with the weakest compression methods running the quickest and the most powerful compression methods taking the longest to compress and extract. WinRAR allows for six separate levels of compression, including:

  • store (no compression)
  • fastest
  • fast
  • normal
  • good
  • best

Most users will find a happy balance somewhere around the "normal" level as the compression ratio sees diminishing returns at the higher levels. WinRAR also supports splitting the compressed file into multiple volumes with a set number of bytes per volume. This feature is sometimes handy for large files which will be transmitted over the internet.

PROS

  • A classic tool used by many
  • Much more powerful compression than the native Windows archive application
  • Supports 256-bit AES encryption and password protection of archives
  • Flexible interface allows for automating backup tasks, deleting files on-the-fly, and automatic shutdown
  • New RAR5 format supports even more powerful compression

CONS

  • The RAR compression format cannot be opened by every application
  • The new RAR5 format can only be opened by WinRAR
  • The interface may have a learning curve for those who are not tech-savy
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