There are plenty of solid compression utilities to choose from, but this shareware powerhouse offers the features and ease of use that place it at the top of the compression category. WinRAR is easy to use, lightweight, and flexible.
An intuitive interface lets you mouse over icons to see their functions, and if you don’t like their candy-coated appearance, you can always choose from several themes at the developer’s site. The Folder Tree Panel makes sifting through your directories to find files easier than ever. But once you see the size savings of a RAR archive, with a compression ratio of 8 percent to 15 percent better than the ZIP format, you’ll understand why so many users and developers are making the switch from other apps. With virus scans now integrated and minor interface tweaks for Vista, only the slightly slower decompression speed holds the app back.
Beyond its good looks and right-click readiness for basic compression and unzipping, WinRAR offers unpacking support for a large number of archive formats, including TAR, ACE, BZ2, JAR, ISO, and ZIP. WinRAR’s advanced features are icing on the cake, with Unicode support for international formatting, embedded file comments, damaged archive repair, archive locking, self-extracting archives, and easy encryption. There’s also the option to automatically delete temporary files and just-archived files. Anyone seeking an all-in-one archiving solution would be remiss to not check out WinRAR