WinRAR Editor's Review
WinRAR archiver is a powerful tool which allows you to create, manage, and control archive files.
It supports RAR and ZIP 2.0 archives, special algorithms optimized for text, audio, graphics, 32-bit and 64-bit Intel executables compression. You can now handle archives directly from Windows Explorer due to the shell integration including drag-and-drop facility and cascaded context menus. WinRAR features wizards for beginners and command line interface for advanced users. It can handle non RAR archives (7-Zip, ACE, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, GZ, ISO, JAR, LZH, TAR, UUE, Z, GZip) management, solid archiving which can raise compression ratio by 10% - 50% over more common methods, particularly when packing a large number of small, similar files.
Using WinRAR you can create multivolume archives, self-extracting archives (also multivolume) using the default or optional SFX modules. You can use a lot of service functions, such as encryption, archive comments, error logging, etc. The program has an inbuilt viewer for viewing the content of text files within archives. You can create compression profiles in order to optimize your activity.
It has a very friendly user interface, so that the menus are customizable and offer access to important archive commands like extract, test, comment, protect, and lock, but also other important tools such as scan, convert, or benchmark and hardware test.
Pluses: There are several versions of RAR, for a number of operating environments: Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, DOS, OS/2, MacOS X. You can test, lock and repair/recover physically damaged archives or volumes allowing to reconstruct missing parts of multivolume archives. You can also take advantage of miscellaneous options such as Background archiving, turn PC off when done, compression estimation.
Among the new features we may mention: new buttons (options) such as: "Define volume sizes...", "Rename automatically", "Multithreading" option added to "Benchmark and hardware test" command, new command lines, increased compression speed (5 -15%) for some data types. The publisher states that they fixed some bugs in the multithreaded text compression algorithm.
The speed versus the rate of compression came out as medium compared to WinAce and WinZip: a directory containing multimedia and text files in total size of 104 Mb compressed at a normal rate by WinRAR resulted in a 64 Mb in 51 seconds compared to 76,2 Mb in 17 seconds for WinZip and 64,2 Mb in 1 minute and 11 seconds for WinAce.
Drawbacks / flaws:
In conclusion: A good compression over a quite short archiving time sets WinRAR in a very good position among the well known archivers. The program is a very good and reliable archiving solution.
version reviewed: 3.80
2 GB archive size and 65535 file number ZIP limitations of previous
WinRAR versions are not valid anymore.
2. WinRAR can create multivolume ZIP archives, which are also known as
split ZIP files.
ZIP volumes have names like 'volname.zip', 'volname.z01', 'volname.z02'.
operations like starting extraction or opening an archive.
Unlike RAR volumes, ZIP volumes cannot be self-extracting.
WinRAR needs to have access to all ZIP volumes of multivolume file set
at the same time, when creating or unpacking them. So it is impossible
to create or unpack ZIP volumes on removable disks, one volume
per disk. You need to create them all in the same folder.
3. Added the high precision file time support in ZIP archives.
WinRAR can store and extract modification, creation and last access
file time in ZIP archives with 100 nanosecond precision.
You need to set "High precision modification time" option in "Time"
part of archiving dialog to store all 3 times in archive.
Set appropriate "File time" options in "Advanced" part of extraction
dialog to choose times to extract.
4. Added support for Unicode names stored in ZIP extra field data.
Different ZIP tools store Unicode names either in file header
or in ZIP extra field and now WinRAR can correctly process both types
of Unicode names.
5. "Synchronize archive contents" option and -as command line switch are
supported in ZIP format.
6. Modifications of switch -ag behavior:
a) -ag can be used with all RAR and WinRAR commands, not just
with archiving only;
b) 'N' format character behavior differs in archiving and non-archiving
operations. When archiving, it is incremented until the first unused
name is found. In non-archiving operations like extracting it selects
the existing archive preceding the first unused name;
c) 'I' format character allows to specify minutes regardless of presence
and position of 'H' (hours) in format string. It can be used
instead of 'M' (minutes), when you wish to place minutes before hours
or do not need hours at all.
7. By default, WinRAR proposes to update an archive if viewer modified
an opened file or created any new files. New "Ignore modifications for"
option in "Settings/Viewer" dialog allows to disable such behavior.
You can enter one or several file masks separated by spaces here
and WinRAR will not prompt to update an archive if file created
or modified by viewer matches one of these masks.
8. Changes in volume size input field. Now you can select size units
in the drop down list to the right of volume size. Previous way
to define size modifiers, by entering 'k', 'm', etc. character
after the numeric size value, is also supported.
9. Changes in "Predefined sizes" in "Define volume sizes" dialog.
Floppies and ZIP disks are replaced by 5 MB and 100 MB volumes,
added new entries for maximum FAT32 file size and for Blu-ray disks.
10. New "Wipe files if password is set" option in "Options" page of
archiving dialog. If you prefer to always delete encrypted files
securely, you can enable "Wipe files if password is set"
in the default compression profile.
11. New "Wipe temporary files/Encrypted only" option in "Settings/Security".
It allows to use a slower and more secure delete for temporary files
extracted from archives identified by WinRAR as encrypted.
Quick delete is used for all other temporary files.
12. Changes in "Convert archives" command:
a) now it is possible to convert encrypted archives. Previously
"Convert archives" command skipped them.
Though, if you still prefer to skip them, you can do it
by enabling "Skip encrypted archives" option in "Convert archives"
dialog. It might be useful if you wish to run the conversion
command in unattended mode, avoiding password prompts;
b) special "rar2" archive type, which was specific for RAR 1.x
and 2.x archives, is removed. Now "rar" archive type controls
conversion of all versions of RAR archives.
Since the convert command does not need to detect RAR archive
version anymore, the initial search for archives is performed
faster, resulting in shorter delay before displaying
"Convert archives" dialog.
13. New -log[fmt][=name] switch allows to write archive and file names
to log file in archiving command for RAR and ZIP formats and also
in extracting, deleting and listing commands for RAR format.
This switch is especially useful, when you need to further process
an archive created with -ag or -v switches, because -log provides
the archive name generated by WinRAR.
14. New -@[+] switch allows to process all parameters starting from
'@' character either as file names (-@) or as file lists (-@+).
15. "Setup program" SFX options are moved from "General" to "Setup" page
of "Advanced SFX options" dialog. Both "Run after extraction"
and "Run before extraction" are now multiline, so it is possible
to specify several setup programs for same SFX archive.
16. "SetupCode" SFX script command instructs SFX archive to wait
for termination of setup program and return the exit code of
setup program increased by 1000 as the exit code of SFX executable.
GUI equivalent of this command is "Wait and return exit code" option
on "Setup" page of "Advanced SFX options" dialog.
17. SFX does not support "S" (create in the top level of Start Menu)
"Shortcut" command mode anymore. Recent Windows versions do not allow
programs to add items to the top of Start Menu.
18. Volume size in archiving and wizard dialogs can be specified as
a decimal fraction. Decimal mark is defined by Windows regional
-v command line switch also allows decimal fractions.
In command line mode the dot (.) is always used as the decimal mark.
For example, -v1.5g switch means 1.5 gigabytes.
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