WinRAR is an advanced data compression utility that supports a wide array of formats, including RAR, ZIP, CAB, ARJ, LZH, ACE, TAR, GZip, UUE, ISO, BZIP2, Z and 7-Zip. It enables you to create, organize and manage archives in a comfortable and quick manner.
The complex compression used creates small archives to save disk space and enable faster file sharing. Audio and graphics files benefit from a special archiving algorithm which doesn't sacrifice quality.
It's also possible to split archives into several smaller volumes to spread them across multiple devices and easily transfer them onto other computers, which is particularly practical when attempting to compress very large files.
The available security tools are designed to password-protect archives and optionally encrypt file names to add an extra layer of safety. Meanwhile, the application can be asked to verify archive integrity as well as to attempt repairing damaged or corrupt archives.
Expert users can configure settings concerning the preferred compression method, dictionary size, file update mode, self-extracting archives, recovery records in case of data loss, archive locking, NTFS symbolic and hard links, and other aspects.
Files can be backed up before compiling them into archives, while virus scans can be executed before extracting files from the archives, so there's no risk of putting the computer at risk.
During our tests, WinRAR delivered excellent results on file compression and archive extraction regarding speed and file size. On the other hand, it is likely to hamper system resources usage when dealing with time-consuming tasks carried out on very large files, especially if we're talking out weaker hardware configurations.
To wrap it up, WinRAR remains the industry-standard in the compression category. It tackles popular compression formats via an approachable interface and a complex engine which can easily be accessed from the context menu.