Thursday, June 21, 2007

Zip or Unzip your files with WinRAR

I always have a habit of assuming that everyone is using the same software that I'm using and not until recently did I realize that I'm usually wrong.

For example, I assume that everyone is using WinRAR to zip or unzip their files. When I did a Google search for "windows compression software", WinRAR is no where on the first page. Does it mean that it's a bad software? I don't think so. WinZip ranks number 1 on the search results page and I hate it. The reason? Simple, they were trying to force me to buy their software. If I didn't do it, I've to wait longer and longer to unzip a file. I just don't think anyone should pay for some software to zip/unzip their files.

Although WinRAR is commercial software, it still gives me all the features I need (and possibly all the features you need too) without forcing me to pay a dime.

(By the way, let me confess that I've not really used any other compression software before. The ones you're using may be just as good as or better than WinRAR. I just don't have to try other ones since WinRAR never gives me any problem)

To use WinRAR to unzip a ZIP file, just right click on it and select the action you want in the context menu:


Just select Extract Here or Extract to <folder_name>. Don't select Extract files..., since you probably don't need to bring up the application interface unless you need to do some advanced stuff. Note that <folder_name> is the name of your ZIP file with the extension ".zip" removed.

As soon as you select an action, it'll start unzipping:


To compress files to a zip file can also be easily done through Windows Explorer. Just highlight the files you want to compress and right click:



From the context menu, select Add to archive... and you will see the following window:



From this windows, you can choose the name of the zip file in Archive name and change the Archive format from RAR to ZIP (which is the format you'll use most likely). Note that the suggested archive name is the name of the folder containing the files you've selected, which is "temp" in this case. If you like, you can also change the Compressions method, but I usually just leave it as "Normal".

After hitting OK, you will see the ZIP that you want:


Of course, there're tons of other features of WinRAR. I just covered the two actions that you most likely will need to perform. Let me know if you discover any interesting use of WinRAR :)