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WinRAR screenshot.png
WinRAR 4.11 in Windows 7
Developer(s) Eugene Roshal, Alexander Roshal
Initial release 1995
Stable release 5.01 (December 3, 2013; 4 months ago (2013-12-03)[1]) [±]
Preview release 5.10 beta 2 (April 5, 2014; 11 days ago (2014-04-05)) [±]
Development status Current
Written in C++
Operating system

Up to and including 3.93: Windows 95, 98, Me[2]
Up to and including 4.11: 2000
Current releases: XP, Vista, 7, 8

Supported via Wine: Mac OS X, FreeBSD, Linux and other x86/x86-64 POSIX OSes
Available in 42 languages
Type File archiver
License Commercial, Proprietary, Shareware, Nagware
Website Primary:

WinRAR is a shareware file archiver and data compression utility developed by Eugene Roshal and distributed by Alexander Roshal,[3] first released in autumn of 1993.[4] It uses the RAR archive file format, proprietary to its developer, and can also create archives in the ZIP format. [5] WinRAR runs under Microsoft Windows in GUI mode; there are command-line versions, called "RAR", for Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows console mode, and MS-DOS.

From version 5, a new archive format, RAR5, is supported, incompatible with the previous one, but also using file extension .RAR.[6] With the introduction of RAR5, the older format is referred to as RAR4. The new version can open and create RAR4 archives, but older versions do not support RAR5 archives.

The software is distributed as a shareware and anyone may use it during a test period of 40 days at no charge. Following this test period, the software license requires purchase of a license to continue using the software. Usage of the software after the test period without purchasing a license is possible (it will show a warning), but according to the software license, it will result in immediate and automatic termination of the shareware license and may result in criminal or civil prosecution.[7]


  • Data redundancy is provided in the form of recovery records and recovery volumes, allowing reconstruction of damaged archives.
  • Support for advanced NTFS file system options
  • Unicode in file names.
  • Archive encryption using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with a 256-bit key.[12]

There was a portable version of WinRAR called WinRAR Unplugged, which did not require installation or create dependencies on the host computer.

Version history[edit]

  • Early development version WinRAR 1.54b was released in 1995 as 16-bit Windows 3.x application.
  • Version 2.00 was released on September 6, 1996.
  • Since version 3.00 (May 2002), the new RAR3 archive format is implemented. The new compressed archives cannot be managed by old versions of WinRAR.
  • Since version 3.50 (August 2005), WinRAR adds support for interface skins and themes and support Windows XP x64.[13]
  • Since version 3.60 (August 2006), WinRAR includes a multithreaded version of the compression algorithm, which improves compression speed on systems with multiple, dual-core, or Hyper-threading-enabled CPUs.
  • Since version 3.70 (circa January 2007), WinRAR features support for Windows Vista.[14]
  • Since version 3.80 (September 2008), support for ZIP archives, which contain Unicode file names in UTF-8.[15]
  • Since version 3.90 (May 2009), WinRAR adds support Windows x64 natively and support Windows 7. Also it enhanced support for multithreading.[16]
  • Version 4.00 (March 2011) speeds up decompression by up to 30%. Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows NT are no longer supported; the minimum Windows version required is Windows 2000.[17]
  • Since version 4.10 (January 2012) WinRAR removes all ZIP limitations now allowing unlimited number of files and archive size. WinRAR now also allows to create multivolume ZIP files. ZIP archives now include Unicode file names.[18]
  • Since version 4.20 (June 2012) Compression speed in SMP mode has been increased significantly, but this improvement was made at the expense of increased memory usage. ZIP compression now uses SMP as well. The default SMP mode cannot handle text; text compression is significantly worse unless additional switches are used. Also, Windows 2000 compatibility was removed.[19]
  • Since version 5.00 (September 2013) the new RAR5 archive format is implemented. The new compressed archives cannot be managed by old versions of WinRAR. This new format features a maximum 1 GB dictionary (only in 64-bit version), better multicore support, it removes multimedia, text and itanium binaries special compression algorithms.[20]

Easter eggs[edit]

  • In "About WinRAR" Help menu clicking on the WinRAR logo makes the ocean surf and waves move. Mouse clicking with Shift pressed on the logo causes the appearance of a sailboat above the "R" button which is sailing around in the water.[21]
  • In the same dialog pressing the book icon causes it to jump like a ball until it rests, and with each bounce, the Windows' exclamation sound can be heard.
  • Colored comments can be added to WinRAR archives.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Latest changes in WinRAR". 
  2. ^ Serbian Cyrillic and Serbian Latin editions - up to and including 3.92, Valencian edition - up to and including 3.91.
  3. ^ WinRAR 3.40 release notes by Eugene Roshal (Russian)
  4. ^ "Interview by correspondence" (in Russian). 1997-2002 (see under 1997). Retrieved 2010-04-26.  (Russian)
  5. ^ Manuel Masiero (18 March 2013)"Compression Performance: 7-Zip, MagicRAR, WinRAR, WinZip" Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  6. ^ Martin Brinkmann (29 April 2013)"WinRAR 5.0 introduces the new RAR 5 format. What you need to know" Ghacks. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  7. ^ {citation |url= |title=RAR and WinRAR END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT (EULA) |accessdate=2014-01-04}
  8. ^ "Best Archive Tool -". 2005-09-05. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  9. ^ WinRAR 5.00 beta 5 Release Notes
  10. ^ Jaymar Cabebe (15 June 2012)"WinRAR (32-bit). CNET Editors' Review" CNET. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  11. ^ Jaymar Cabebe (15 June 2012)"WinRAR (64-bit). CNET Editors' Review" CNET. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  12. ^ "WinRAR 5 Final Released" Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  13. ^ "WinRAR download and support. WinRAR is a powerful Windows tool to compress and decompress zip, rar and many other formats: Knowledge Base". Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  14. ^ "WinRAR download and support. WinRAR is a powerful Windows tool to compress and decompress zip, rar and many other formats: WinRAR 3.70 beta 1 Released". 2007-01-10. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  15. ^ "WinRAR archiver, a powerful tool to process RAR and ZIP files". Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  16. ^ "WinRAR archiver, a powerful tool to process RAR and ZIP files". Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  17. ^ WinRAR 4.00 Release Notes
  18. ^ WinRAR 4.10 Release Notes
  19. ^ WinRAR 4.20 Release Notes
  20. ^ WinRAR 5.00 Release Notes
  21. ^ Roshan Karkera (5 January 2013)"Hidden Easter Egg in WinRAR Application" Techie inspire. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  22. ^ RAR1_51.EXE has 'packed color comments' visible in WinRAR.

Further reading[edit]

  • Data Compression. 2007. doi:10.1007/978-1-84628-603-2. ISBN 978-1-84628-602-5.  edit
  • Fellows, G. (2010). "WinRAR temporary folder artefacts". Digital Investigation 7: 9–8. doi:10.1016/j.diin.2009.12.001.  edit
  • Yeo, G. S. -W.; Phan, R. C. -W. (2006). "On the security of the WinRAR encryption feature". International Journal of Information Security 5 (2): 115. doi:10.1007/s10207-006-0086-3.  edit
  • Metz, Cade (2004-11-16). "File Compression Beyond ZIP". PC Magazine 23 (20): p52–52. ISSN 0888-8507. 
  • Qin, J. C.; Bai, Z. Y. (2011). "Design of new format for mass data compression". The Journal of China Universities of Posts and Telecommunications 18: 121. doi:10.1016/S1005-8885(10)60037-4.  edit
  • Spanbauer, Scott (December 2000). "Forget Napster-Usenet Is Where the Files Are". PC World 18 (12): p254. ISSN 0737-8939. 
  • Allen, Danny (February 2007). "Compression Apps Do More Than Shrink Files". PC World 25 (2): p64–64. ISSN 0737-8939. 
  • Sanjuàs-Cuxart, J.; Barlet-Ros, P.; Solé-Pareta, J. (2011). "Measurement Based Analysis of One-Click File Hosting Services". Journal of Network and Systems Management 20 (2): 276. doi:10.1007/s10922-011-9202-4.  edit
  • Jovanova, B.; Preda, M.; Preteux, F. O. (2009). "MPEG-4 Part 25: A graphics compression framework for XML-based scene graph formats". Signal Processing: Image Communication 24: 101. doi:10.1016/j.image.2008.10.011.  edit
  • Barr, K. C.; Asanović, K. (2006). "Energy-aware lossless data compression". ACM Transactions on Computer Systems 24 (3): 250. doi:10.1145/1151690.1151692.  edit

External links[edit]