WinRAR is a particularly well known file compression utility often used for managing file types that Windows does not recognise. It is all very well that it is widely used, but what are the benefits and what does it have to offer and why recommend these features?
Well, firstly, it provides complete support for both RAR and ZIP archives. This means it can pack and unpack. It can also unpack the popular JAR, ISO and 7Z archives among many others. Coming complete with a relatively simple graphical user interface (GUI) it is relatively easy to use and straightforward to pick up for newcomers. One of the key features of WinRAR is that it uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a staggering 128bit key (close to impossible to crack). That alone allows you to password protect files from unwanted intruders. Source codes and documents can be sent through packing them up, encrypting them and then only providing the password to these through secure methods.
One of the key features that has kept WinRAR popular is the fact that is shareware. This means you can use it for up to 40 days without need to pay (and longer if you choose to ignore the purchase requests the program makes). A key selling point of the product is also that it is constructed with beginners in mind. It comes with a highly unique "Wizard" mode. "Wizard" mode offers users who are not familiar with the program an opportunity to complete the task at hand through a clear question and answer process. This process allows access to the basic archiving functions such as extraction, making it great for newcomers. More advanced features can then be learned at the pace the user is willing to set.
A main usage of WinRar tends to be for multimedia purposes. This is because it automatically recognizes and selects the best compression method for the file. It is pretty effective at dealing with large volumes of data too, reportedly working with files and archives up to 8,589 billion gigabytes in size. In other words there's no movie (or thousand movies) that could possibly be too big for it to deal with. The way it works is fairly easy to comprehend, and it is always useful to have a reasonable understanding of what it is you are authorising a program to do. Its compression algorithm compresses multimedia files, EXEs and groups of files into smaller versions that can more easily be uploaded and downloaded. The way it works is by creating a code that represents lengthier lines of code in the original file. It does this by creating a key at the start, and then using the keys it defines to replace similarities wherever they occur. When unpacking, the code is then reverse engineered and reconstructed into something useable using the original key provided.
To conclude, WinRAR is most definitely one of the best competitors out there when it comes to file compression. It is at the very least a great stepping stone for those looking to try out file compression, with its nifty "wizard" mode designed especially for teaching new users the basics of operating an archiving program.
Review of WinRAR File Compression Utility
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