Compressed files are the order of the day. When we download files from the Internet, or simply want to share a series of files with another person, and we want to do it in a simple way, packing them, or “compressing” them, is the best option. There are many programs to compress and decompress files. Even Windows is capable of working with ZIP, and very soon even with other file formats like RAR or 7Z. However, there is a program that, when we talk about this type of files, always stands out from the rest: WinRAR.
WinRAR It is one of the most widely used file compressors in the world. This stands out for being the creator of the well-known RAR format (and the latest RAR5), as well as for being the only one capable of compressing files to this format. The main problem with this program is that it is commercial software that, after the 40-day trial, we will have to buy if we want to continue using it.
Being a paid program, hand in hand with being proprietary software, leads many users (me, among them) to use other file compressors. And, without exaggeration, I’ve been close to 10 years without using this compressor, always using free and/or open source alternatives. And, after trying many, in the end, in 2023, I ended up going back to WinRAR. And part of the blame lies with Windows 11.
No compressor is up to the task
The first of the programs I switched to was to 7zip, the promising open source file compressor that offers compression ratios superior to RAR. But your problem is that the interface is horrible. After it, I tried another compressor that I was quite happy with: Bandizip. But there came a time when the developers made it paid and filled the free version with ads and bloatware, immediately disappearing from my PC.
PeaZip It was another of the file compressors that I have been with the longest, especially in Windows 10 and Windows 11. I was quite happy with it and with all the options it offered me. But its developers are not told to integrate (in conditions, not with the botch of the registry) the program within the context menu of Windows 11. And, for this reason, I have ended up eliminating it and migrating to another compressor called “NanaZip”. This compressor is very good, it is based on 7Zip, it integrates into the Windows 11 context menu without problems… but it lacks many functions that I find necessary (for example, compressing many folders at once, each one into archives different, and delete them all when finished).
My return to WinRAR
Desperate, I have no alternative but go back to WinRAR. And, despite being a defender of free software, and trying to use it whenever possible, when it comes to choosing a file compressor there is no rival. You can tell that Rarlab cares about his program, since it has everything we need. First, and most importantly, it’s seamlessly integrated into Windows 11.
For the rest, it is still the most complete file compressor that we can find. It is ready to work in native 64-bit, and its interface is full of functions and tools. We have many ways to encrypt and protect files with a password, the ability to choose the algorithms we want to use, the formats, and even the option we talked about before “compressing each file, or folder, into a different file.”
I still prefer free and free alternatives, but since the arrival of Windows 11, things get more and more complicated. And, in the end, WinRAR is like Windows, even if you look for other free alternatives, you will always end up coming back to it.
If you want to try it, I explain how to download WinRAR here. Now we just have to wait and see how is the compression/decompression of RAR files that will arrive with Windows 11 23H2. Although the first tests have shown that it is going to have serious performance problems.