How to Use WinRAR: A Complete Guide

winrar how to use

In many ways, your computer is a lot like your kitchen junk drawer. There are lots of things in there that you aren't using right now, but you might need them in the future, so you don't want to get rid of them. However, they take up a lot of space.

From videos and family photos to old school papers and signed contracts, there are many files on your computer that you don't use a lot, but you don't want to give up either. Fortunately, you can compress the files into smaller data packages and archive them. When you need them again or want to view them, you open them up.

Software, such as WinRAR, can help you compress and archive these treasured memories and essential paperwork. Here's your guide to WinRAR:

What is WinRAR?

WinRAR is a software program and a trialware file archive utility that's designed to work with your Windows and Mac computer. It was developed by Eugene Roshal of win.rar GmbH and had an initial release in April 1995.

The software uses RAR and ZIP formats to help you achieve the information that you aren't currently using on your computer to free up space on your hard drive. The files become depressed, so they aren't as large as they once were, giving you more storage space.

In February 2019, the software was released with upgrades after a major security issue was discovered. This utility software is available for you to try for 40 days before you decide to buy it, giving you a chance to try it out and see if it meets your personal needs.

You may find that you need a bigger software to handle your zipping and achieving needs, and you won't need to make a financial investment when you try it for 40 days for free.

How to use WinRAR

You can use WinRAR to both open archives and create new ones. The software is easy to use and can be done in a few minutes. However, if you're in the process of archiving files, you'll need to repeat the steps for each one.

There are a few steps to creating a WinRAR file, including:

  1. In the WinRAR program, select File
  2. Select New Zip File
  3. Place the file that you want to convert into a .rar file into the program
  4. From the left-hand panel, select Zip
  5. Press Okay
  6. From the right-hand file, you can choose to encrypt, reduce photo size, convert to PDF, or add a watermark
  7. Choose Share or Save

This is an easy process that you can use to archive many files. Opening a WinRAR file is even easier. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the WinRAR archive from which you want to open a file
  2. Highlight the file you want to extract
  3. Click Extract to
  4. Select the location where you want the extracted files to appear
  5. Click Ok

Even if you aren't computer savvy, you can use this software to start archiving files.

Why you may want something better

With WinRAR, the software is only creating .rar files. You may want software that offers you more flexibility and can achieve more types of files. Another software, such as WinZip, offers you more flexibility, so you can archive more files and file types.

Most of these software programs, including WinZip, will also open .rar files, so you won't need to convert files that you've already archived.


When you're ready to start archiving files on your computer to make room by compressing files you rarely use, WinRAR is an option to get the job. However, if you need more versatility, you might opt for a different software, such as WinZip.

Need to Download WinZip?

TRY NOW Learn More