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How to use Winrar effectively – 7 tips

WinRAR is one of the most popular compressing tools which is used to reduce the size of files which allows you to send large file over email or popular file sharing service. Winrar is similar to winzip but with additional functionality. So in this post I am putting down my hands on experience which will help you to know how to use winrar in a productive way.

Enable Explorer-like view

Single pane view is the default view, using that you will have to keep changing folders one by one to reach your file. But there is an easy way. One the winrar interface, goto “Options > Folder Tree > Show Disk Folder”. This will give you an explorer like window and selecting a file is easy now.

Winrar Tree view

Enable Detail View

By default, you will get to see list but we need to see the details from time to time. “Goto “Options > File List > Details”

Check how much will be the compression and how long will it take to compress

This a very unique feature of  Winrar.  In case you have a huge folder structure to zip, how do you know how much it can be compressed and how much Winrar will take it to compress. Winrar has an inbuilt functionality which can help you find that.

  • Select one or multiple file which you want to compress, then on the winrar look for an “Info” Tab.
  • Click that and you will get another window with 4 tabs.
  • The first tab contains an “Estimate Button” . Clicking in this , the tool will tell you how much your data can be compressed in percentage and how much time will it take to compress.
  • This is extremely useful as it will save a lot of time of yours instead of sitting and waiting it to finish.

Preview Compression

Split Files using Winrar

What would you do if the compression measurement tells you that size can not be compressed more than 90% and size is too big either to fit on cd or mail. Winrar acts more than a compression tool. Here is how you can use it to split.

  • Choose a file or folder you want to split.
  • Right clicking on it and click “Add files to archives”
  • It opens a tab, now you need to find “Split to file, bytes” drop down menu which is present at the lower part.
  • Either you can enter tha value in bytes or select a predefined format like, 1.44 Mb floppy, CD Rom, DVD or even auto detect. The auto detect feature can check the destination space and split files according to that.
  • Now archive it. You will see a list of files generated which are according to your need.

Split Winrar

Make a Self Extracting archive:

Its a general problem that if I send you a winrar compressed archive you might not have the same software to open it or the worst you don’t have any compression tool.

So what can you do? Easy, You can create a self extracting archive which will act like the softwares which get installed in one step.

  • Click on Existing file you want to compress and make a normal archive.
  • Now select the archive you just made, “Go to Tools > Convert archive to SFX”
  • One more way is while creating an archive, you can just ask it to make an SFX.


Compress and Mail

Winrar also allows you to send any file on mail by automatically compressing and then attach to mail. There is a Compress and email  feature which has to be enabled if its not.

  • Go to Options > Settings .
  • It opens up another screen with lot of tabs. Click on the tab named Integration
  • On the tab look for a button with label Context Menus. Click that
  • This will open another window, which shows the list of features which pops up when you right click a file.
  • Enable the Compress and email by checking it.
  • Now right click on any file and you will see the menu enabled.

compress and email

Change The Temporary Folder

Winrar requires to use a temporary place when it tries to compress a file. By default its located somewhere in C drive. If you don’t have much space there, you can always change the location.

  • Goto Options > Settings .
  • This opens up another scree with tabs, Now go to Paths Tab.
  • Click on “Choose folder for temporary files” and select a path which suits you.

Create Windows Installer :

Winrar also helps you create installer program i.e. similar to setup files to install anything. This can be used to create simple program using your files and folder to install it on your friends computer and make it look professional. Check out “How to create professional installer using winrar”

Test an Archive before extracting it :

You can right click on any archive and select  Test Archived Files. This will make initial check like header corrupt etc and tell you if the un archiving operation will be successful or not. This is useful when you have a big archive file. In case you find a corrupt archive, you can right click and select Repair Archive to fix.

Resources :

  • Download Winrar
  • Windows and Mac OS X, Dos, Linux, Free BSD supported
  • Available in trial or buy packages

So what is the archiving tool you are using, I find winrar very useful, does your archiving tool give more features? Share with us in comments and we will get to know more.

About Ashish Mohta

A Professional Tech blogger, Editor and Writer who talks about solving day to day problems of people who use computer. His expertise are in Windows 7, Microsoft Office, Software, Mobile Apps and Video Posts.