Compression Performance: 7-Zip, MagicRAR, WinRAR, WinZip

WinRAR 4.2

We’ve been using WinRAR as a benchmark program for a long time. Just like WinZip, it’s one of the most popular and best-known file archiving and compression tools out there. WinRAR scores points for its high compression speeds and full support for all RAR and ZIP compression formats. It can also extract 7z, ACE, ARJ, BZ2, tar.bz2, CAB, GZ, tar.gz, ISO, JAR, LZH, TAR, UUE, and Z. WinRAR has a wizard to guide users step-by-step though the compression process.

Just like 7-Zip and WinZip, WinRAR can be used via its own file manager, Windows Explorer context menus, or even the command line. It also offers optional 128-bit AES encryption. WinRAR can compress files and folders into self-extracting archives, and repair damaged or corrupted archive files. A stand-out feature is the size preview, which predicts the archived size for selected files and folders. This capability can come in very handy when you want to compress large amounts of data and want to know how large the archive file will be before going through the compression process.

WinRAR comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and while there is a shareware version available, the application costs $29 after the 40-day evaluation period ends.