Winrar – How it Works and How is Different From Winzip?

WinRAR is an excellent file archiver utility. It is also a popular compression tool, used to compressed files into different formats as well as unpack several archive file formats. Eugene Roshal developed WinRAR, and it got released on 22nd April 1995.

WinRAR offers multipart or multi-volume archive where it not only compresses a file but also can split it into smaller divisions. It is an outstanding utility for backing up data and reducing the file size to manage storage space.


WinRAR has a simple file sharing mechanism and thus, enhances the performance. Files mainly benefitting from WinRAR’s special archiving algorithm include audio and graphic files. It is a great competitor to WinZip and has several advantages over it.

In this article, we will be going through several essential aspects of WinRAR like how it works, how to open RAR files using it etc.

We will also discuss how it works, its advantages and disadvantages, and comparison with WinZip.

How does WinRAR work?

WinRAR is an excellent compression tool that uses various complex algorithms for transmitting and storing data. It is widely used in creating packed RAR or ZIP archives.

It offers original compression algorithms, applicable to large text files, executable files, and objects. It applies several advanced multimedia filters to files like wav, bmp, etc.

It also applies lzss with Huffman Coding (PPM) whenever needed.

To maintain the security of the files while archiving, WinRAR encrypts files by converting an existing WinRAR archive file or encrypting existing WinRAR archive files or creating encrypted archive files.

WinRAR divides large archive files into smaller parts and thus, offers easy sharing of voluminous files.

Other functions of WinRAR

  • Generates shortcuts for easy access.
  • Has drag and drop facility.
  • Protects files with passwords.
  • Allows backing up files that are to be compressed.
  • Also, offers a virus scan before decompressing any file to reduce the risk on a computer.
  • Repairs broken archives.

How to use WinRAR for opening RAR files?

To use WinRAR, you first need to download winrar and install the app on your computer. Once installed, you open the app.

Secondly, click on the “File” option in the upper left corner of the WinRAR window. Select the “Open Archive” option from the File drop-down list.

By default, WinRAR opens on your desktop. Choose your RAR file from there if it is on the desktop or else, navigate to the location of the RAR file and then select it.

Press the “Open” button to open the RAR file inside WinRAR. Also, you can view the contents of the RAR file inside WinRAR.

Now, select the “Extract to” option, present at the upper left-hand side of the WinRAR window.

Select the desired location from the right side of the WinRAR window, where you want to extract your files to.

Click ‘OK’ to start extracting the contents of the RAR file into the destination folder. Once completed, the extracted contents can be accessed like any other regular folder.

How to create a zip file with WinRAR?

Creating a zip folder using WinRAR is very simple.

  • Select the file(s) you want to zip.
  • Then, right click on them and select “Add to Archive”.
  • The WinRAR window appears. Choose the “ZIP” archive format.

selecting zip format in winRAR

  • Click “OK”, and a .zip file generates in the same directory.

What are the advantages of using WinRAR?

WinRAR is a user-friendly application with lots of benefits for a user. They are mentioned below.

  • WinRAR repairs physically damaged files and locks them from further modifications. In this way, it ensures the reliability of data.
  • Compared to other standard methods, WinRAR creates a solid archive, more efficiently, with compression ratios upto 10% to 50%.
  • WinRAR lets a person use different compression formats through a single interface. It offers high-speed functionality with the help of the underlying complex design.
  • WinRAR supports files and archives till 8589 billion gigabytes in size. The number of archived files can be unlimited, for any practical purpose.
  • It not only supports RAR and ZIP formats but also other archives like CAB, TAR, GZ, ZIPX, ISO, ARJ, ACE, etc.
  • WinRAR also takes into account data security. It is optimized to send information over the web. Using 256-bit password encryption and your authenticated signature, your encrypted information remains safe with WinRAR.
  • It offers Wizard mode for beginners. Also, it provides a lot of advanced features for advanced-level users.

What are the drawbacks of WinRAR?

Though WinRAR has several advantages, it has a few drawbacks as well.

  • WinRAR is trialware and is free for 40-day use. After this, you need to buy the application to continue using it.
  • The speed of compression/decompression differs with every computer. Hence, the process may be slower on slower machines.
  • Dealing with the hardware resources on some computers may be difficult. It can be tough for slow systems to handle 3 or 4 archives together.

Which is better WinRAR or WinZip?

Both WinRAR and WinZip are used in compacting and expanding files. Both of them can add, replace or update data.

But, WinRAR is more comprehensive than WinZip. It costs less to register and is a powerful archiver utility. WinZip can compact files in the .zip format only, but WinRAR can do it both in .zip as well as .rar formats.

WinRAR is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, etc but WinZip is supported in Windows system only.

WinRAR offers more security features than WinZip. Unlike WinZip, WinRAR protects files from accidental damage or modifications, adds authenticity information and reconstructs missing split archives.

Unlike WinZip, WinRAR supports command-line SFX creation, adding own license text, HTML support for text, special script commands, customizing SFX logo, etc.

Considering all these features, we can say that WinRAR is a better option than WinZip.



WinRAR is an outstanding file archiver utility and a powerful compression tool. It is trialware and is eligible for a free 40-day usage. After that, one needs to buy the application to continue using it.

It can compact and expand both .rar and .zip formats as well as supports other archive files like TAR, CAB, GZ, TIPX, etc. WinRAR allows multipart archive feature to split a huge file into smaller divisions and hence, offers easy sharing of voluminous files.

WinRAR is a versatile utility and has several features. It considers data security and data reliability and is very user-friendly. When compared with its competitor, WinZip, WinRAR undoubtedly stands as the more preferred choice.


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