[Contest] WinRAR 4.10

| February 15, 2012

WinRAR is a very powerful compression tool that I have been using for past 8 years. Over the period of years, WinRAR has improved a lot in compression speed and compression ratio (%).

WinRAR is lightweight on system resources, supports data encryption, encrypts file names and fully utilizes the multi-core CPU and hyper-threading technology- using the multithreaded version of RAR compression algorithm. (You may disable Multi-threading from WinRAR>Options>Settings>System> Multithreading checkbox)

As of now, WinRAR supports all popular compression formats such as RAR, ZIP, CAB, ARJ, TAR, ISO and 7-Zip (what I have used so far).

It supports multiple languages (45 as of now) and has a separate installer for 64-bit OS.

Additionally it also supports command-line operations, though I never attempted one!

WinRAR provides free support for all licensed users. In addition, you could use the offer below and avail a free support for 40-days:


WinRAR allows creating split archives, either based on the pre-defined destination size (shown below) or user defined size.

The compression utility in WinRAR provides following functions:

1. Add or replace files

2. Add or update files

3. Convert archive to SFX

4. Test archives

5. Show archive info

6. Add archive comment

The above listed functionalities are just a small sub-set (based on what I have used and came across). They are many others that I have not mentioned it here.

Proceeding further, I would like to mention another great feature provided by WinRAR. It is SFX.

An SFX (SelF-eXtracting) archive is an archive, merged with an executable module, which is used to extract files from the archive when executed. As it is an executable module (aka exe) it does not requires any application/software to run (for extracting the contents). I prefer using SFX’s as it helps a lot to the person whom I am sharing the files, as then he/she could just go ahead extracting the data without having to install additional software to do so. However, it comes with a disadvantage that the SFX exe files could not be sent over email (especially gmail-due to their policy) – as they are blocked and removed.

WinRAR supports creating following SFXs:

1. GUI RAR and ZIP modules (Default.SFX and Zip.SFX)

2. Console RAR module (WinCon.SFX)

Another very interesting feature for me is reporting. The report generation differs based on the type of mode namely file management mode and archive management mode. In the file management mode, a list of files and folders from the current working folder is displayed; while, in the archive management mode, the list of archived files and folders from the currently opened archive are displayed.

As shown below, you could have the following details listed in the generated report:

1. File CRC

2. File date

3. Packed size

4. File size

5. Total information

6. Archive name

7. Usual files

8. Archives

PS: above is using archive management mode.


Moving further, I would talk a bit about some of the most used (but less known) features of WinRAR:

1. Context menu – though on installation WinRAR already integrates with Windows shell providing several options, you may add/remove the options from WinRAR>Options>Settings>Shell Integration>Context menu items

2. Import/Export settings – WinRAR supports import/export of all the settings from WinRAR>Options> Import/Export. This is very useful primarily in two cases: one we have to reformat and two when we require having the same set of settings for a different installation/PC. The settings are imported as a .REG file.

3. Recovery volumes – these volumes are special (.rev) files created by WinRAR. They allow reconstructing missing and damaged files in a volume set. An important point to note here is that that this recovery volume feature works only in case of multi volumes (aka, split archives). Each recovery volume is able to reconstruct only one missing volume. For example, if we have 5 volumes (split archives) and 1 recovery volume, we would be able to reconstruct only 1 missing volumes. Hence, if the number of .rev files is less than the number of missing volumes, reconstruction is not possible. This feature is very useful for backups.

4. Advanced SFX options – This option/feature is applicable only to Windows GUI module. It provides a very extensive set of options (some of them) such as title, logo, license info, request for administrator access, extract path, and others. In short, it allows creating your own customized installation SFX. A bonus is that once you set the options it automatically generates a script using script commands.  Please note that by default, WinRAR x64 uses 32-bit versions, but you can select 64-bit modules explicitly in SFX options: Module dialog. Resulting 64-bit SFX archive will then work only in Windows x64.

5. Compression method – WinRAR currently supports six compression methods, namely: “Store”, “Fastest”, “Fast”, “Normal”, “Good” and “Best”. The “Best” method provides highest, but slowest compression, “Fastest” compresses least, but is very fast, and “Store” merges files into an archive without compression.

6. Backup option – WinRAR not only functions primarily as a compression tool, but also has an inbuilt backup utility. It can be used to do full as well as incremental/daily backups. Specifically I would like to mention two very useful backup options: one for keeping old file versions and other for creating masked archive names.

In my (and only my) opinion I see following shortcomings in WinRAR:

1. When we open the help file (from WinRAR>Help> Help topics), it always stays in the foreground, which becomes irritating for me. Even with Alt-Tab, it stays in the front. However, if the help file (WinRAR.chm) is opened directly from the installed folder, there is no such issue.

2. The splitting of archive option (from the wizard) requires specifying the file size in bytes, which is again irritating. I would rather prefer using a small sub-menu for bytes/KB/MB, etc.


To end my bragging about WinRAR (which I am proud of doing), I want to stress that this software though less than 2 Mb in size does wonders in handling our archives using the much required sophisticated compression algorithm. It does provide us better compression than similar tools of its category.

Reviewed by Grr


In cooperation with RARLAB (sponsor of this giveaway), we can offer 5 licenses of WinRAR 4.10 !

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