Imagine that you have just bought a new computer. What program will you install on it first? I think that the answer is very simple, of course, WinRar! It is among the most popular software programs available for your Operating System aside from browsers. You can find it everywhere on the internet and download it. But why is it so popular? There are many reasons. First of all, most of the information and files on the Internet are distributed through archived files. Secondly, you can easily decrease the size of your files with the help of WinRar. Thirdly, WinRar has a lot of great features which other similar programs do not have. WinRar is a powerful utility for creating and managing archive files. It contains a wide range of additional useful features. You can compress files for better ratios by using WinRar than you can with many other similar programs.
The first version of WinRar was released in 1995 and the latest one, 5.20, a few months ago. This new version has a lot of improvements and fixes (you can find everything about these changes on the official site.) We can say without exaggeration that WinRar is one of the best compression/decompression programs available!
The installation file for WinRar is very small, only about 2MB. The installation process is very fast and easy. It supports more than forty languages-English, French, Russian, etc. and has separate installers for 32 and 64 bit Operating Systems. A single-user license costs $29.
WinRar supports the following file compression formats- 7z (the format of the program 7-Zip), Ace (the format of the program WinAce), ARJ (Archived by Robert Jung), BZIP2, CAB (Cabinet Archive file format), GZIP, LZH, TAR (Tape archive), XZ, Z, ZIP, RAR, UUE and ISO.
The main interface of WinRar is very attractive and comfortable (but if you want to customize its appearance you can download more themes from the official WinRar site and change its interface to something that is more to your liking.
The main interface consists of six menu buttons: 1. File, 2. Commands, 3. Tools, 4. Favorites, 5. Options and 6. Help. Below those buttons you can find the special Control buttons for easy manipulation of archives: Add (with the help of this button you can add the selected files or entire folders to an archive), Extract to (this button is used to extract the archive file into the selected folder), the ‘Test this’ button (allows you to test the archive for errors or corruption), View (using this button you can view the content of the folder), Delete (this button is used to delete the selected file), Find (with the help of this button you can search for the files in the system), Wizard (this button is designed for novice users. It helps them to create a new archive, extract files or add them to an existing archive), Info (this button provides you with information about the selected file or folder) and Repair (this button is used for repairing corrupted archives). You can easily change the Control Buttons and add necessary buttons or remove unwanted ones. Just right-click your mouse on a free area of the Control toolbar and choose “Select Toolbar Buttons”.
The ‘File’ menu button allows you to open and save files, specify the default password, copy and paste files, select the group, exit the program and quickly go to the last used archives. The ‘Commands’ menu button allows you to perform various operations with files, for example, view, delete, rename, print file, etc. The ‘Tools’ menu has a special tool called Wizard. With the help of it you can extract archives, add files to an existing archive. In addition, you can also check the archives for viruses, restore, convert, find and show information for files. The ‘Favorite’ menu button allows you to add a specific file to favorites and organize the list of files. ‘Option’ contains the basic settings of the program (here you can configure some general settings of the program, for example, History, Toolbar, Interface, Compression profiles, Volume size, File association, shell integration and many others). The ‘Help’ menu contains instructions about using the program, a link to the WinRar web page and brief information about the program.
First of all you should choose one of three compression formats for creating a new archive-RAR (default), RAR 5 (a new WinRar format available only in version 5XX) or Zip and then one of five compression methods. Additionally, in the advanced menu, you can configure some compression parameters for RAR files only- text, audio and true color compression or enable/disable 32-bit, 64-bit executable and delta compression. The program offers the following methods- Store (the program does not compress files at all, it simply creates an archive), fastest (the compression quality is below average but it is very fast), Fast (the compression quality is above the average and it is pretty fast), Normal (the default method used in WinRar; it offers an optimal compression rate and speed), Good (the compression is very high but the speed can be low) and Best (this method provides the highest degree of compression but at the lowest speed).
Secondly, you can select a dictionary size for your archive. The RAR archive format offers dictionary sizes ranging from 64 KB to 4096 KB, but a new RAR 5 format offers even more sizes from 1 MB to 1024 MB. The larger the dictionary size is the better the compression quality but slower the compression speed.
Imagine that you have a very large archive, for example, 300 MB and you want to send it to your friend via email. But unfortunately you can’t do that because not all popular email services support such a large file transfer. You can easily split the archive into smaller parts. For example you can create fifteen small archives that are 20 MB each and conveniently send them. By default the program supports splitting into 5 sizes, 10, 100, 700 (CD Disk), 4095 (FAT 32), 4481 MB 9DVD Disk), etc. but you are able to specify the desired size and volume.
WinRar offers additional archiving options, too. There are six in total- 1. Delete files after archiving (default option; after compression all source files will be deleted. After selecting this option you can choose one of three deletion modes in the Options menu- delete files permanently, move files to recycle bin or wipe files), 2. Create SFX archive (i.e. create self-extracting archives with an EXE extension. In the Advanced menu you can configure some additional SFX options- Specify path to extract, select one of four SFX modules, etc.), 3. Create solid archive (if you want to get better compression rate you should use this method. It is very efficient for compressing large files), 4. Add recovery method (WinRar adds additional information to the archive to aid in recovery it if becomes damaged. In the Advanced menu you can specify the percentage of recovery data to add. It is a very important feature of WinRar because the extra data will increase the likelihood that, should a part of the archive be damaged or corrupted, the files can still be extracted or the archive repaired), 5. Test archived files (the program scans archived files for errors after compression) and 6. Lock archive (WinRar blocks an archive from unintentional changes. After locking it nobody can add, modify or delete files in the archive).
If you are storing confidential information in archive files then WinRar allows you to protect them with a strong password. It is very easy; just click “Set password”, enter the desired password twice and finally click “OK”. That is all. Nobody can open the archives without your permission. Additionally, you can encrypt files in the archive with AES-128 standard for RAR and AES-256 for RAR 5 formats. Here you can also configure some functions of the Update mode, i.e. add and replace files; add and update files; ask before overwriting, etc.
1. Full support of RAR and Zip archives
2. Highly effective algorithm for file compression
3. A wide range of supported formats for compression and decompression
4. Creation of self-extracting archives
5. Possibility to recover corrupted archives
And many others
The program does not have any shortcomings. It is perfect.