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Zip and unzip files with WinRAR

About WinRAR

WinRAR from RARLab is a utility for compressing files so that they take up less space and can be transferred more quickly. It's designed to work with files that use the RAR extension, but it also works with ZIP, 7Z, ISO, CAB, and other compression formats. It can also use 256-bit AES encryption to password-protect files against prying eyes.


  • Is WinRAR free?
    WinRAR is trialware, meaning that you can try it for free for 40 days before you are asked to pay $29 for a lifetime license; bulk discounts are available. The developer RARLab relies on the honor system to enforce payment. You can still access all of WinRAR's functions after your trial period ends, but you will get a pop-up asking you to pay when you open the program.
  • What I should I get for Windows if I want totally free file compression-decompression software?
    Windows 7, 8, and 10 have built-in tools for handling ZIP files. For more specialize archives such as RAR and 7Z, we recommend 7-Zip. However, 7-Zip doesn't create RAR archives; it only unpacks them.
  • Is there a MacOS, iOS, and Android version of WinRAR?
    RARLab makes an Android version called RAR for Android. It doesn't make a Mac version, but Unarchiver is a good substitute. iOS, meanwhile, has built-in tools for unpacking compressed files.
  • Why should I use the RAR format instead of a more common one like ZIP?
    RAR files tend to have a higher level of compression, which matters if you're storing a lot of them. If your device doesn't have enough space to store the whole RAR, it can be cut into multiple files more easily than ZIP. And RAR files can be recovered more easily if they become corrupted.
  • What if I forgot the password that I used to encrypt a RAR file?
    While there isn't a tool to reset a password on an encrypted file, programs such as RAR Password Recovery can attempt to figure out the password for you, using a variety of tricks. Pretty much all legit password recovery software must be paid for, however.
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Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at