[Contest] 10 licenses for WinRAR 5.2
UPDATE: Winners have been picked, scroll below to see them announced in the widget. All winners have been emailed, if you haven’t received an email use the contact form to get in touch.
Easter is here (or coming soon depending on your religion) and what better way to celebrate it than with an amazing contest. 10 licenses for WinRAR 5.2 are available for some lucky participants and since each license is valued at $30 you do the math on the value of the total prize. All you have to do is scroll down to the RaffleCopter widget below and mark your entry. Here’s an overview of the prize and its rules:
- Everyone can participate, but you must include your full name when participating. The details for the winners will be sent to the WinRAR team and they will deliver the licenses after the contest is over (please be patient for 2 business days since it’s the Easter week-end.
- The contest lasts between Friday 3-April-2015 (12 a.m. GMT+2) and Wednesday 8-Apr-2015 (11:59 p.m. GMT+2)
- To participate login with your email/Facebook account in the Rafflecopter widget below. You are not allowed to participate with multiple accounts, but you can increase your chances by doing additional actions.
- The prize, as mentioned above, consists of 10 licenses for WinRAR.
- Each of the licenses is valid for life for the version you receive.
As far as proof, here’s a screenshot of the email that each winner will receive:
Back to the contest, below is the widget you can login and participate via:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
RAR is a proprietary archiving format which supports, among others, data compression, recovery and file spanning (if you’ve ever seen .r00, .r01 file formats you know what I talk about). The file format was developed by a Russian software engineer, Eugene Roshal and here’s one thing you didn’t know for sure: RAR stands for Roshal ARchive. Obviously since the format was created, a program to open it was needed as well and that’s how WinRAR was born a lifetime ago in terms of Internet years (around 20 years ago). WinRAR is available not only for Windows but also for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Android.
RAR or ZIP?
The most popular archiving formats are RAR and ZIP. So which one should you choose when creating your archives? Here’s a little comparison to help you decide:
ZIP format is more popular. That’s the main reason most archives on the Internet are ZIPs, so if you want to send the archive to someone that doesn’t have WinRAR installed then this is your choice. However you could always send a self-extracting RAR archive instead, but that gets a bit larger so you can choose. ZIP files are also slightly faster during creation than RAR files are.
On the other hand, RAR files are better compressed than ZIP ones. It’s also more reliable and offer recovery records to allow reconstructing damaged data. So if you want security/better compression than RAR is your pick. Both archive formats allow practically unlimited size (up to 8,589,934,591 GB).
WinRAR will always remain a standard in the archiving industry. When you say WinRAR you basically say reliability, so that might be a reason why it’s popular in the business/enterprise area where reliable is preferred. Their main website receives over 140,000 visitors daily plus the Android version alone has between 10-50 million downloads so that should say something about its popularity.
Here are some of the features that consolidate its position as a leader in this industry:
- Create Archives. WinRAR will archive files by default in .RAR format. It is a proprietary format that has quite some advantages over others, but this doesn’t mean you cannot create other formats as well. Au contraire, with WinRAR you are able to create archives in ZIP format as well, aside the old RAR format and the new RAR5 one. The new archiving format launched by WinRAR comes with great improvements over the previous version. It handles better big file compression (faster and with higher compression ratio), it can encrypt it with AES-256 (vs 128 as it was previously), it has faster and more reliable recovery (in case your archive has failures), faster access to open the archive and many more advantages (for instance complete Unicode awareness, UTC time format for more straightforward time zone transfer and so on). You can create archives by using the integrated Explorer options, just select the files you want compressed, right-click and choose Add to archive. WinRAR’s quick archive wizard will let you either create an archive with the default options or delve into its advanced settings. You can choose a compression type if you don’t want the Normal default (i.e. choose the Best compression method if you want to save storage but have more time to wait for the archive to be done), choose to split the archive in volumes (for sure you’ve seen .r00, .r01 parts), set a password for the archive and even create it as a self-extracting one. That’s only one of the 7 tabs of options for creating an archive. I’ll just mention that you can choose to add recovery records, in case the archive gets corrupted to be able to recover it, archive the files in background and even turn off the computer when it’s done, send the resulting archive by email, use it for backup purposes (i.e. you can keep file versions in case you want to restore a different version) and lastly add a comment for those that try to open the archive (just don’t store the password in the comments!). I also love the fact that it supports profiles, so if you have a favorite set of options for the compression, you can save it as a profile and later just re-use it instead of re-checking all the options.
- Extract files from archives. If it compresses, then obviously it also de-compresses. WinRAR is able to extract from more than 15 different archiving formats: RAR, ZIP, 7Z, ACE, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, GZ, ISO, JAR, LZH, TAR, UUE, Z. I’ll honestly say that I only used over time only half of these formats, so I’m sure you have support for creating any type you need. Extraction is very simple too, my favorite method is to right-click an archive and select from the context menu the option to extract to the same named folder. It’s basically a 2-click operation. However, if you want advanced extraction options you can go through their wizard as well. It will allow you to choose what to do if same-named files exist (replace/update/overwrite/skip/rename automatically), choose a different path than the original one, extract full or relative paths, do the extraction in background, delete the archive once extracted, clear the “Archive” attribute and so on.
- Test archived files. I had to learn this the hard way but the least you could do when creating archives is to be prepared in case an error occurs and limit the damages. You can do this by always (ALWAYS) at least test the resulting archive. It’s very simple, just an extra-checkbox to thick when creating the archive and WinRAR will verify the archive after it’s created. Trust me, nothing is more frustrating than sending a very important archive to someone just to find out that it was corrupted and unusable. So test, actually create a profile that has the test option checked then you don’t need to do anything extra.
- Repair Archives. Now in case the dreadful thing happens and your archive is corrupted, WinRAR has the option to recover it (partially or entirely, depending on how much information it has). Repair success depends very much on how well you protect it. WinRAR offers an option to protect an archive from damage by specifying a particular size for the recovery record. Basically a percentage of the total archive size will be allotted to store recovery information – obviously the higher that percentage, the better your recovery chances will be so you can choose anything between 0 and 100%. An optimal value is 3 – 5%.
- Internal Viewer. WinRAR also comes with an internal viewer that supports opening various normal files from (or outside) an archive without exiting the application. When you open an archive from WinRAR’s GUI you can click on View to start the internal viewer for any file you select but you can also call an external program to open that file. WinRAR will then unpack that file to a temporary folder, passes that to the external program and then waits for the program to be done with it. If the file is modified, WinRAR will offer you the option to update it within the archive and will also delete the temporary file no matter what your choice will be. The internal viewer has other options such as changing the default font, though WinRAR’s main purpose is creating/extracting archives so I don’t see why you’d use the internal viewer thoroughly.
- Benchmarking. Want to test how your computers perform? WinRAR has an option that lets you benchmark your computer by creating archives. During benchmarks, random data will be generated with a specially induced redundancy to stress out your processor and memory. Once that’s done the data will go through the compression/decompression algorithms and the result compared with the original. If differences are found it means you have a hardware error (for instance unreliable memory) which means your archives could be compromised. This way you can use the benchmark option either to compare the performance of the program in different conditions, or to check for hardware problems. Aside benchmarking, I also find it useful how WinRAR will estimate the result of the archiving operation (i.e. how much compressed the resulting file will be).
- Security. Each archive can be protected with AES-256 which is practically unbreakable in normal systems (sure, maybe Watson, world’s most powerful computer, might have a chance at cracking it, but otherwise impossible). You can also lock the archive and protect it from damage if you’re very focused on security. A locked archive cannot be modified by WinRAR and it’s meant to prevent accidental changes. Also, if you have an antivirus program installed you can configure WinRAR to call it everytime you create or extract from an archive.
- Miscellaneous options. If the recipient of your archive doesn’t have WinRAR you can create a self-extractable one that doesn’t require to have a de-compression program installed. You can also set and organize favorites, choose a theme for WinRAR (there are plenty available if you like to have a non-default one), import/export its preferences and more other settings than I could cover in 10 more pages (though you’re more than welcome to read their help file).
I know many of you have heard about WinRAR so what’s your opinion about it? Feel free to leave a comment and share your experience/feedback about WinRAR.