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By: Danette Mckay
Although WinZip is still the most popular compression utility WinRAR is gaining ground and is becoming the archive utility of choice for many users. Which one is better WinZip or WinRAR?

We are going to disappoint you by not providing any clear and definite answer. There is just no answer to which one is better as it really depends on what you are looking for in an archive software utility and which archive file type you are using more often and using as the basis for your comparison.

As their name suggests WinZip is focused on the very popular Zip archive file format while WinRAR is focused on the also very popular RAR archive file format. It is probably a true statement that if you mostly use Zip files you are better off using WinZip while if you are mostly using RAR format you are better off using WinRAR. The exception is that Zip is supported by many other software utilities other than WinZip so if you are using Zip files you have much more choice of choosing the software to use. RAR on the other hand is a closed standard and creating RAR files is only possible using the WinRAR utility. So if you use RAR files and need to create RAR files you have no other choice but to use WinRAR.

WinRAR was created by Eugene Roshal and is distributed on the market by RarLab. WinZip is distributed by WinZip Computing. Both software utilities are commercial in nature and both are not available for free use. You can download and install an evaluation version of each of those software utilities but after that evaluation period expires you have to either uninstall the software or pay for it.

Although WinRAR was developed around its proprietary RAR archive file format it also supports many other formats including the popular Zip format. If you are solely comparing WinRAR and WinZip in their ability to support different popular file formats then WinRAR is a winner. While WinZip can open and create Zip files but only open RAR files WinRAR can open and create both Zip and RAR files.

So it really boils down to the question which is better Zip or RAR archives and which one do you mostly used. Zip is an old and famous format. RAR is a newer archive format and still less popular than Zip but it is gaining ground and very fast. The reason is that the RAR archive file format has many advantages. It is very efficient compression format and in many cases performs better than Zip. It supports unicode and is especially efficient and useful when in need to handle huge archive files over multiple partial volumes.

Although WinRAR is a commercial utility and creating RAR files is not available to anyone else but the WinRAR owners opening RAR files is a commodity and any software vendor can use a freely available software library from RarLab that can open read and extract files from RAR archives.
Danette Mckay writes about this and many other subjects. Read more about winrar, rar files, rar archives
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