WinRAR is a data compression utility and file archiver, similar to WinZip. WinRAR is shareware but works just as well without purchasing the full version for the majority of users. WinRAR has been around since 1993 and has mostly stayed the same since then. While new compression methods and types have been added over the years, WinRAR’s simplicity is what hooks users from the start.

TechNorms’s guide will show you how to get started with WinRAR.


How to get started with WinRAR

After downloading and installing WinRAR, the first time you start it up it will ask you to associate certain file extensions with the program.

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If you are not using any other compression software, click “Select All.” Otherwise, you can select which extensions you see fit.

You can also choose where to create links and folders, as well as shell integration. This will allow you to utilize WinRAR right-click commands to compress and uncompress archives on demand. Click “Context menu items….”


Now, you can customize what is and is not included in the context menus. When you are ready, click “Ok.”


WinRAR is now successfully installed on your computer, and you can begin using it.

Finally, click “Done.”

How to use WinRAR

WinRAR is a highly complex program but for most users, they only need to know the basics we will go over in this walkthrough. However, at any time, you can always open the Help files for WinRAR to learn more.

First, we will start with creating our own archive. You can do this with files, folders, pictures and just about anything on your computer. Archives are a great way to save space, condense volumes and easily transfer larger items you want to share.

There are two ways to archive an item. You can create an archive you customize yourself or create one by default based on the title of what you choose.

Right-click on a file or folder on your computer. You will see both of those options there. You can also compress these items and send via e-mail if you so choose.


Now, click “Add to “folder name” archive.”


Depending on the size of the file or folder in question, it can take some time to compress and create the archive. Let WinRAR do its work. You can see how much time it will take to compress, how far along progress is and you will be alerted to when it is completed.

When it is finished, right-click on the archive you created.

Now, you can do a few things with extracting those files to access them again. You can simply extract them to where you are now, you can extract specific files in the archive or you can extract them to a folder. If you know the archive contains a lot of files or folders, extracting to its own folder or going through manually is the easiest way to wade through the archive.

Click “Extract files….”


This will open up WinRAR for you to go through file and folder to find what you are looking for.


As long as the archive is not password protected, you can simply drag and drop the files or folders you want to wherever you want on your computer.

If you extra to a folder, it will simply fill the folder with everything from the archive in its uncompressed state.

Then, from within WinRAR main screen, click “File.”


From within the archive, you are working with you have a variety of options at your disposal, such as saving an archive copy, setting a password for it and moving files around.

Click “Commands.”


This menu allows you to add files to the archive you opened, text files to make sure they open properly as well as set up various other options for the archive.

Now, click “Tools.”


Tools allow you to open the Wizard that will walk you through creating an archive on your own. You can also scan, convert and repair archives with issues here and create reports.

Click “Favorites.”


Favorites allows you to add archives to your favorites in WinRAR. This is not the most practical of tools within the program, but if you work with a lot of archives, this can be a way to keep them organized so you can find items much more quickly.

Then, click “Options.”


You can work with options within WinRAR, choose a theme and view logs.

Now, click “Help.”


This is where you can access the help files for WinRAR should you need more detailed instructions on how to work with advanced archive options in the program.



Can WinRAR be your one and only archiver?

WinRAR has become an industry tested and true archive and compression program. While you can buy advanced features, the basic features the everyday computer user will utilize is enough. WinRAR is a powerful program and if you are looking for an archiver for your computer to handle ZIP, RAR and other compressed files, WinRAR just might be the right choice for you.

Download WinRAR.

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