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WinRAR is a trialware file archiver utility for Windows. It can create archives in RAR or ZIP file formats,[4] and unpack numerous archive file formats. To enable the user to test the integrity of archives, WinRAR embeds CRC32 or BLAKE2checksums for each file in each archive. WinRAR supports creating encrypted, multi-part and self-extracting archives.

Although WinRAR is a Windows-only app, the author has made an Android app called “RAR for Android”,[5] and command-line utilities called “RAR” and “UNRAR” (widely released since autumn of 1993),[6] available for OS X,[3] Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, and MS-DOS.


See also: RAR (file format)

WinRAR and the RAR file format have evolved over time. Support for the archive format RAR5, using the same RAR file extension as earlier versions, was added in v5;[7] files in the older RAR file format are now referred to as RAR4. WinRAR versions before 5.0 do not support RAR5 archives.[8]

The RAR5 file format increased the maximum dictionary size to 1 GiB; 11 different compression directory sizes from 1 MiB to 1 GiB are available, with the default in version 5 increased from 4 MiB to 32 MiB, typically improving compression ratio. AES encryption, when used, was increased from 128- to 256-bit. Maximum path length for files in RAR and ZIP archives is increased to 2048 characters.[8]

Options added in v5 include 256-bit BLAKE2 file-hashing algorithm instead of default 32-bit CRC32, duplicate file detection, NTFS hard and symbolic links, and Quick Open record to allow large archives to be opened faster.[8]

The RAR5 file format removed comments for each file (though archive comment still remains), authenticity verification, and specialized compression algorithms for text and multimedia files. RAR5 also changed the file name for split volumes from “archivename.rNN” to “archivename.partNN.rar”.[8]


  • Packing (creation) of RAR or ZIP archives.
  • Unpacking of ACE, ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, EXE, GZ, ISO, JAR, LHA, RAR, TAR, UUE, XZ, Z, ZIP, ZIPX, 7z, 001 (split) archives.[8][9]
  • Checksum (integrity) verification for ACE, ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, GZ, BZIP2, RAR, XZ, ZIP and 7z archives.
  • Multithreaded CPU compression and decompression.

When creating RAR archives:

  • Support for maximum file size of 16 EiB (264 bytes) minus 1.
  • Compression dictionary from 1 MiB to 1 GiB (limited to 256 MiB on 32-bit Windows, however 32-bit Windows still can decompress archives with 1 GiB dictionary). Default size is 32 MiB.[8]
  • Optional 256-bit BLAKE2 file hash can replace default 32-bit CRC32 file checksum.[8]
  • Optional encryption using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with a 256-bit key.[10]
  • Optional data redundancy is provided in the form of Reed-Solomon recovery records and recovery volumes, allowing reconstruction of damaged archives (including reconstruction of entirely missed volumes).
  • Optional “Quick Open Record” to open RAR files faster.[8]
  • Ability to create multi-volume (split) archives[11][12]
  • Ability to create self-extracting files. The self-extractor can execute commands, such as running a specified program automatically after self-extraction.[13]
  • Support for advanced NTFS file system options, such as NTFS hard and symbolic links.[8]
  • Support for maximum path length up to 2048 characters (stored in the UTF-8 format).[8]
  • Optional archive comment (stored in the UTF-8 format).[8]
  • Optional file time stamp preservation: creation, last access, high precision modification times.
  • Optional files deduplication.


The software is distributed as “try before you buy”; it may be used without charge for 40 days.[14]

Although archiving with the RAR format is proprietary, RarLab supplies as copyrighted freeware the source code of the UnRAR unpacker, with a license allowing it to be used in any software, thus enabling others to produce software capable of unpacking, but not creating, RAR archives.[15]


Self-extracting archives created with versions before 5.31 (including the executable installer of WinRAR itself) are vulnerable to DLL hijacking: They may load and use DLLs named UXTheme.dll, RichEd32.dll and RichEd20.dll if they are in the same folder as the executable file.[16][17]



  • Command line RAR and UNRAR were first released in autumn 1993.[6]
  • Early development version WinRAR 1.54b was released in 1995 as 16-bit Windows 3.x application.
  • Version 2.00 was released on September 6, 1996.
  • Since version 3.00 (May 2002), the new RAR3 archive format is implemented. The new compressed archives cannot be managed by old versions of WinRAR.
  • Since version 3.41 (December 2004), WinRAR adds support for Linux .Z archives like GZIP and BZIP2. New options include storing entire file paths and restoring compressed NTFS files.
  • Since version 3.50 (August 2005), WinRAR adds support for interface skins and themes and support Windows XP x64.[18]
  • Since version 3.60 (August 2006), WinRAR includes a multithreaded version of the compression algorithm, which improves compression speed on systems with multiple, dual-core, or Hyper-threading-enabled CPUs.
  • Since version 3.70 (circa January 2007), WinRAR features support for Windows Vista.[19]
  • Since version 3.80 (September 2008), support for ZIP archives, which contain Unicode file names in UTF-8.[20]
  • Since version 3.90 (May 2009), WinRAR adds support Windows x64 natively and support Windows 7. It also enhanced support for multithreading.[8]
  • Version 3.91 is the last version that supports Valencian.
  • Version 3.92 is the last version that supports Serbian Cyrillic and Serbian Latin.
  • Version 4.00 (March 2011) speeds up decompression by up to 30%. Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows NT are no longer supported; the minimum Windows version required is Windows 2000.[8]
  • Since version 4.10 (January 2012) WinRAR removes all ZIP limitations now allowing unlimited number of files and archive size. WinRAR now also allows to create multivolume ZIP files. ZIP archives now include Unicode file names.[8]
  • Since version 4.20 (June 2012) Compression speed in SMP mode has been increased significantly, but this improvement was made at the expense of increased memory usage. ZIP compression now uses SMP as well. The default SMP mode cannot handle text; text compression is significantly worse unless additional switches are used. Also, Windows 2000 compatibility was removed.[8]
  • Since version 5.00 (September 2013) the later RAR5 archive format is implemented. RAR5 compressed archives cannot be managed by old versions of WinRAR. WinRAR 5 has better multicore processor support, and the RAR5 file format supports a dictionary size of up to 1 GiB with 64-bit WinRAR. Special compression algorithms optimised for RGB bitmaps, raw audio files, Itanium binaries, and text used by earlier versions, are supported only in the older RAR format, not RAR5.[8]

Operating systems support[edit]

More recent versions do not support many older operating systems. Versions supporting older operating systems are still available, but not maintained:

  • WinRAR v4.11 is the last version that supports Windows 2000.[21]
  • WinRAR v3.93 is the last version that supports Windows 95, 98, ME, NT,[21] and Windows Mobile.[22]
  • RAR v3.93 is the last version that supports MS-DOS and OS/2 on 32-bit CPU, such as 80386 and later. It supports long file names in a Windows DOS box (except under Windows NT), and uses the RSX DPMI extender.[23]
  • RAR v2.50 is the last version that supports MS-DOS and OS/2 on 16-bit CPU, such as 8086 and 80286.[23]

Exploit claims[edit]

It was widely reported that WinRAR v5.21 and earlier had a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability which could allow a remote attacker to insert malicious code into a self-extracting executable (SFX) file being created by a user, “putting over 500 million users of the software at risk”.[24] However, examination of the claim revealed that, while the vulnerability existed, the result was merely an SFX which delivered its payload when executed; published responses dismissed the threat, one saying “If you can find suckers who will trust a .exe labelled as self-extracting archive … then you can trick them into running your smuggled JavaScript”.[25][26]

Easter eggs[edit]

  • In “About WinRAR” Help menu clicking on the WinRAR logo makes the ocean surf and waves move. Mouse clicking with Shift pressed on the logo causes the appearance of a sailboat above the “R” button which is sailing around in the water.[27]
  • In the same dialog pressing the book icon causes it to jump like a ball until it rests, and with each bounce, the Windows exclamation sound can be heard.
  • Colored comments can be added to WinRAR archives
  • The filename extensions are used by RAR .rar volumes for the date set for the recovery and .rev volume set. Previous versions of RAR archives split large files Into Several smaller, Creating a “multi-volume archive”. Numbers Were used in the file extensions of the files to keep smaller say in the proper sequence. The first used the extension .rar file, said .r00 for the second, and said .r01, .r02, etc.RAR compression applications and libraries (Including GUI based application for Windows WinRAR, console RAR utility for Different OSes and others) are proprietary software, to qual Alexander L. Roshal, [3] the elder brother of Eugene Roshal, owns the copyright. Version 3 of RAR is based on Lempel-Ziv (LZSS) and prediction by partial matching (PPM) compression, Specifically the Implementation of PPMII PPMD by Dmitry Shkarin. [4]The minimum size of a RAR file is 20 bytes. The maximum size of a RAR file is 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 (263-1) bytes, 8 exbibytes Which is minus 1 byte. [5]

    Versions [edit]
    The RAR file format revision history:

    v1.3 (original, does not have “Rar!” signature)
    v2.0 – released with Rar WinRAR 2.0 and 2.0 for MS-DOS features the Following changes:
    Multimedia compression for true color bitmap images and uncompressed audio.
    Up to 1 MiB dictionary compression.
    Recovery data protection Introduces record archives.
    v2.9 [note 1] – 3:00 released in WinRAR version. Feature changes in this version include:
    File extensions is changed from {name} .rar volumes, .r00 {volume name}, {name} .r01 volume, etc. volume name} to {.part001.rar {name} .part002.rar volume, etc.
    Both encryption of file data and file headers.
    Improves compression algorithm using 4 MiB dictionary size, Dmitry Shkarin’s PPMII algorithm for file data,
    Optional creation of “recovery volumes” (.rev files) with data redundancy, Which Can Be Used To Endure missing files in a volume set.
    Support for archive files larger than 9 GiB.
    Support for Unicode file names stored in UTF-16 little endian format.
    v5.0 – supported by WinRAR 5.0 and later. Changes in this version:
    Maximum compression dictionary size increased to 1 GiB (default for WinRAR 5.x is 32 MiB and 4 MiB for WinRAR 4.x).
    Maximum path length for files in RAR and ZIP archives is increased up to 2048 characters.
    Support for Unicode file names stored in UTF-8 format.
    Faster compression and decompression.
    Multicore support decompression.
    Greatly Improves recovery.
    Optional AES encryption increased from 128-bit to 256-bit.
    Optional 256-bit hash file BLAKE2 Instead of a default 32-bit CRC32 checksum file.
    Optional duplicate file detection.
    Optional NTFS hard and Symbolic links.
    Optional Quick Open Record. Rar4 archives hadd to swear parsed as file names Before opening Were spread throughou the archive, slowing operation Such Particularly with slower devices or optical drives, and the Integrity of Damaged Therapeutic archives. Rar5 Can optionally create a “quick record open”, a special archive block at the end of the file That contains the names of files Included, To Be Opened archives allowing faster.
    Specialized Removes text, multimedia, and Itanium executables compression algorithms; These consequently Some types of files compress better with WinRAR 4.x (Rar4) than WinRAR 5.x (Rar5).
    Jump up ^ 5.0 WinRAR and RAR for Android referee to this format as RAR4.
    Software [edit]
    Main article: Comparison of file archivers
    Operating system support [edit]
    Software is available for Microsoft Windows (named WinRAR), Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Android; archive extraction is supported natively in Chrome OS. WinRAR supports the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI); RAR named other versions run as console commands. Later versions are not compatible with Previously Some older operating systems supported:

    V5.x WinRAR supports Windows XP and later.
    WinRAR v4.11 That is the last version supports Windows 2000. [6]
    WinRAR v3.93 That is the last version supports Windows 95, 98, ME, and NT. [6]
    RAR v3.93 That is the last version supports MS-DOS and OS / 2 on 32-bit x86 CPUs Such as 80386 and later. It supports long file names in a Windows DOS box (except Windows NT), and uses the RSX DPMI extender. [7]
    RAR v2.50 That is the last version supports MS-DOS and OS / 2 on 16-bit Intel x86 CPUs Such as 8086, 8088 and 80286. [7]
    Creating RAR files [edit]
    RAR files Can be created only with commercial software WinRAR, RAR, and other software That has Written permission from Alexander Roshal or shares copyrighted code under license from Alexander Roshal. The software license Agreements forbid reverse engineering. [3] Howevera, the fully open source program The Unarchiver, with support for uncompressing RAR archives, is distributed under the LGPL without any restriction Such Against reverse-engineering; It is possible Could Be That’s a starting point for writing software Capable of Creating RAR archives. Graphical WinRAR is available for Windows. Console RAR application is available for Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD. Only Rar WinRAR for Windows and for Linux are available as native 64-bit applications. There is a fully functional native Android application called “RAR for Android”. [8]

    Extracting RAR files [edit]
    Several Programs Can unpack the file format. RARLAB distributes the source code and binaries for a freeware command-line “unrar” program, [9] although this code is not under a free software license. This program Can decompress / extract, not create soft, RAR files. As of November 2014 Some 3rd-party Programs documented as “Supporting the RAR format” did not Recognise RAR5 files.

    The Unarchiver is a free software unarchiver for RAR and other formats, licensed under the LGPL. It runs on Mac OS X and the command line version, unary, Also runs on Windows and Linux. It supports all versions of the RAR archive format Including RAR3 and RAR5. [10] [11] [12]
    PeaZip is a free software for Windows RAR unarchiver, licensed under the LGPL, it neither RAR extractor Also runs on Linux and BSD, with GUI. PeaZip supports pre-RAR5 Both .rar files (out of the box), and files in RAR5 new format (installing PeaZip Plugin UNRAR5 based on royalty-free soft not OSI-compliant RARLAB’s unrar).
    7-Zip 6.15 beta version starting from [13] Can RAR5 unpack archives. Note That this support is based on the RARLAB unrar and THUS software is not free either.
    An older version of the source unrar Was the basis for an obsolete unarchiving free software library called “unrarlib”, licensed under the GPL, soft Could it only decompress archives created by RAR versions Prior to 2.9. Archives created by RAR 2.9 and later use Different formats not supported by this library.

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