WinRAR 4.11 in Windows 7
|Developer(s)||Eugene Roshal (developer),
Alexander Roshal (distributor)
|Initial release||22 April 1995|
|Stable release||5.30 / 24 November 2015|
|Operating system||Windows XP and later|
|Available in||41 languages|
WinRAR is a trialware file archiver and compressor utility for Windows. It can create archives in RAR or ZIP file formats, and unpack numerous archive file formats. There is an Android app called "RAR for Android", and command-line versions called "RAR" and "UNRAR" (widely released since autumn of 1993), available for Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows console mode, and MS-DOS.
WinRAR and the RAR file format evolved over time. Support for the archive format RAR5, using the same RAR file extension as earlier versions, was added in v5; files in the older RAR file format are now referred to as RAR4. WinRAR versions before 5.0 do not support RAR5 archives.
The RAR5 file format added some features, but removed comments for each file (though archive comment still remains), authenticity verification, and specialized compression algorithms for text and multimedia files. RAR5 also changed the file name for split volumes from "archivename.rNN" to "archivename.partNN.rar".
The RAR5 file format increased the maximum dictionary size to 1 GiB; 11 different compression directory sizes from 1 MiB to 1 GiB are available, with the default in version 5 increased from 4 MiB to 32 MiB, typically improving compression ratio. AES encryption, when used, was increased from 128- to 256-bit. Maximum path length for files in RAR and ZIP archives is increased to 2048 characters.
Options added in v5 include 256-bit BLAKE2 file-hashing algorithm instead of default 32-bit CRC32, duplicate file detection, NTFS hard and symbolic links, Quick Open record to allow large archives to be opened faster.
- Packing (creation) of RAR or ZIP archives.
- Unpacking of ACE, ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, EXE, GZ, ISO, JAR, LHA, RAR, TAR, UUE, XZ, Z, ZIP, ZIPX, 7z, 001 (split) archives.
- Checksum (integrity) verification for ACE, ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, GZ, BZIP2, RAR, XZ, ZIP and 7z archives.
- Multithreaded CPU compression and decompression.
When creating RAR archives:
- Support for maximum file size of 16 EiB (264 bytes) minus 1.
- Compression dictionary from 1 MiB to 1 GiB (limited to 256 MiB on 32-bit Windows, however 32-bit Windows still can decompress archives with 1 GiB dictionary). Default size is 32 MiB.
- Optional 256-bit BLAKE2 file hash can replace default 32-bit CRC32 file checksum.
- Optional encryption using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with a 256-bit key.
- Optional data redundancy is provided in the form of Reed-Solomon recovery records and recovery volumes, allowing reconstruction of damaged archives (including reconstruction of entirely missed volumes).
- Optional "Quick Open Record" to open RAR files faster.
- Ability to create multi-volume (split) archives 
- Ability to create self-extracting files. The self-extractor can execute commands, such as running a specified program automatically after self-extraction.
- Support for advanced NTFS file system options, such as NTFS hard and symbolic links.
- Support for maximum path length up to 2048 characters (stored in the UTF-8 format).
- Optional archive comment (stored in the UTF-8 format).
- Optional file time stamp preservation: creation, last access, high precision modification times.
- Optional files deduplication.
The software is distributed as "try before you buy"; it may be used without charge for 40 days.
Although archiving with the RAR format is proprietary, RarLab supplies as copyrighted freeware the source code of the UnRAR unpacker, with a license allowing it to be used in any software, thus enabling others to produce software capable of unpacking, but not creating, RAR archives.
- Command line RAR and UNRAR were first released in autumn 1993.
- 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 3.41 (December 2004), WinRAR adds support for Linux .Z archives like GZIP and BZIP2. New options include storing entire file paths and restoring compressed NTFS files.
- Since version 3.50 (August 2005), WinRAR adds support for interface skins and themes and support Windows XP x64.
- 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.
- Since version 3.80 (September 2008), support for ZIP archives, which contain Unicode file names in UTF-8.
- Since version 3.90 (May 2009), WinRAR adds support Windows x64 natively and support Windows 7. Also it enhanced support for multithreading.
- Version 3.91 is the last version that supports Valencian.
- Version 3.92 is the last version that supports Serbian Cyrillic and Serbian Latin.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Since version 5.00 (September 2013) the later RAR5 archive format is implemented. RAR5 compressed archives cannot be managed by old versions of WinRAR. WinRAR 5 has better multicore processor support, and the RAR5 file format supports a maximum 1 GiB dictionary with 64-bit WinRAR. Special compression algorithms optimised for multimedia and text used by earlier versions, and Itanium binaries have been removed.
Operating systems support
More recent versions do not support many older operating systems. Versions supporting older operating systems are still available, but not maintained:
- WinRAR v4.11 is the last version that supports Windows 2000.
- WinRAR v3.93 is the last version that supports Windows 95, 98, ME, and NT.
- RAR v3.93 is the last version that supports MS-DOS and OS/2 on 32-bit CPU, such as 80386 and later. It supports long file names in a Windows DOS box (except under Windows NT), and uses the RSX DPMI extender.
- RAR v2.50 is the last version that supports MS-DOS and OS/2 on 16-bit CPU, such as 8086 and 80286.
- 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.
- 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.
- (Russia,Chelyabinsk)WinRAR 3.40 release notes by Eugene Roshal (Russian)
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- Official website
- List of WinRAR versions
- RAR 5.0 archive file format
- How to open, extract, create RAR files using WinRAR