There are countless uses for file compression, from reducing the size of images ready to attach to an email, to saving space when backing up files. Many file downloads are provided in compressed form, and it is usually the familiar zip format that is used. While the humble zip has become almost universally accepted as the compressed file format of choice, there are various others to choose from. One of these is the RAR format which boasts much higher levels of compression as well as a range of additional features.
Not all compression tools are able to handle the RAR format, but this is where WinRAR can help, making it possible to open and create RARs with ease. The program is also capable of handling other compressed formats such as zip, jar, cab, tar and ISO, but as the name would suggest, it specialises in RARs.
WinRAR can be used to create self-extracting archives meaning that files can be shared with others who do not have the software installed, as well as multi-volume archives which can be split across multiple CDs or DVDs when creating backups. 128-bit encryption is available to protect sensitive files, and the RAR format can be used to create files billions of gigabytes in size. Files can be created and extracted through the program interface or by making use of Explorer integration for ease of access. With support for so many file formats, a wizard mode for ease of use and an array of advance options, WinRAR may be the only compression tool you'll ever need.
WinRAR 4.20 brings a few changes to the compression routines used. See the release notes for more information.
One of the most powerful archival tools available, WinRAR has little competition