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RAR File

RAR is an archive file format introduced by Russian developer Eugene Roshal in March 1993. RAR name is short from Roshal Archive. Eugene developed RAR archive format single-handedly. Initial version of RAR archive which was released to the public was 1.3. RAR initially was developed as an application for MS-DOS but starting with version 2.0 WinRAR application for Windows was introduced. Multiple new features were introduced in later versions of RAR and WinRAR including multi-volume archives, multiple CPU support, encryption and more. RAR is still actively developed and supported by win.rar GmbH.

RAR format is a closed infrastructure. It means that specification of the compression algorithm and structure of the file is not open to the public. Only software produced by win.rar GmbH (official owner of RAR and WinRAR) can create RAR file. It is possible to use decompression code in a third-party software with UnRAR library. But decompression code could only be embedded in a software and not used to reverse engineer the algorithm.

With bare installation of Windows or Mac OS, you will not be able to open RAR files. You will need to install special utilities to decompress RAR files. For Windows you can use WinRAR or RAR.exe and for Mac OS you can use WinZip for Mac OS. Same is true for creation of RAR archives. You will need to have WinRAR or RAR.exe to create RAR files on Windows. For Mac OS only command line utility is available. To install it you will need to download an archive with rar and unrar utilities from WinRAR download page.

RAR supports multiple advanced features including:

  • Multiple volumes archives
  • Archive recovery
  • Unicode file names
  • Compression and decompression using all CPU cores
  • Compression depending on information type (audio, video, text, etc.)
  • Creation of self-extracting archives
  • Setting password for an archive and 128/256 bit AES encryption

Most of the features of RAR are available free of charge.

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