Switch from Zip to Rar and you’ll achieve far greater levels of compression. We explain all
Before deciding to switch from familiar Zip files to Rars, it is important to remember that if Rars are sent to someone else (via email, for instance) the recipient will need to have a decompression program installed capable of handling the format unless a self-extracting archive has been created and we’ll explain how to do that shortly.
Before you can create Rar files, a copy of Winrar is needed, so head over to the developer’s website www.rarlabs.com. Click the Downloads link to the left of the page and scroll down to the section headed ‘English Winrar and Rar release’.
At time of writing, the latest stable release of Winrar is version 3.71 newer beta versions are available, but we’ll stick with the most recent final release for the this Masterclass. Download and install the program, pausing at the Winrar Setup dialogue box.
In the ‘Associate Winrar with’ section, tick the boxes next to the compressed file formats for which the program should become the default handler. If another compression tool is installed and you’d prefer to use it to handle Zip files, make sure that the Zip box is not ticked before clicking OK.
When the installation is finished, launch Winrar from the Windows Desktop or
Start menu shortcut.
The easiest way to work with Winrar is to click the Wizard button in the toolbar to switch to guided mode.
In what is, in essence, a simplified version of the program, files can be added to a new Rar file or appended to (or extracted from) an existing Rar. If extracting, simply select a Rar file and click Next, choose a destination folder and click Finish.
To create a new Rar file, select the relevant option from the first screen of the wizard and click Next. Select the files or folders to be compressed, and click OK before choosing a name and location and clicking Next.
By ticking the box labelled ‘Faster, but less tight compression’, the creation of a Rar can be sped up at the expense of file size. This may be useful if working with a very large number of files but is generally not recommended if file size is of the utmost importance.
If an archive is being created for backup purposes, the self-explanatory ‘Delete files after archiving’ option can prove useful as it cuts out the manual step of deleting files once they have been compressed.
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