How To Compress Large Files To Small Size With WinRAR [2023]

How to compress large files to small size with WinRAR? Definitely you’re at the right place to learn that. WinRAR is one of the most popular programs for archiving files and folders in RAR, RAR4, and ZIP formats. Data compression using this archiver can be implemented in several ways. Various useful archiving functions are also available in WinRAR.

Standard ways to compress files in WinRAR

When the archiver is installed on a computer, it is integrated into the context menu of the Windows operating system, which is displayed when you right-click on a file, folder, empty space on the desktop, etc. There are two ways how to compress large files to small size with WinRAR using the context menu. First:

  • Select the files/folders to be archived, right-click on them, and select “Add to archive ‘Archive_name.rar'” from the context menu. If there is no such item in the context menu, go directly to the next part of the article.
  • The archive will appear next to the files packed into it.

Second way:

  • Right-click on an empty area of ​​the “Explorer” (you can also on the desktop), then select the “Create …” item in the context menu and specify the type of archive to be created – “WinRAR Archive” or “ZIP Archive – WinRAR”. The second option creates a regular ZIP archive.
  • An archive will be created in the specified folder or on the desktop, name it something. Now, using the mouse, you can drag any files into this archive – they will automatically be packed into it (the files themselves will remain on the disk). You can drag and drop files from any other Explorer window.

Compressing files from the WinRAR interface

If there are no options in the context menu for adding files or creating WinRAR archives, you will need to launch the program itself from a shortcut on the desktop or from the Start menu. You can also compress files from the program interface in several ways.

The first way is to use a special wizard:

  • Click on the “Wizard” button at the top of the program window:
  • In the new window, set the radio button to “Create a new archive” and click the “Next” button:
  • Another window will open. Navigate to the folder in which the files to be compressed are located, select them, and click “OK”:
  • Enter a name for the newly created archive and click “Next” (if you want to save it in a specific location, select a folder by clicking on the “Browse …” button):
  • Next, the archiver will offer to enable additional archiving options. They are optional, so you can immediately click on the “Finish” button. The options themselves will be discussed below.

Archives created using the “Wizard” are saved on the desktop by default.

Second way:

  • Using the built-in file manager, go to the folder where the archived files are located. Select the required files/folders, then click on the “Add” button at the top of the program window.
  • A new options window will open. Click the “Browse …” button and specify the path to save the archive. In the “Archive format” section, select the desired format (by default – “RAR”). Click “OK” to start archiving the selected files.

Most requested file compression options and settings in WinRAR

WinRAR is a full-fledged archiver, so it provides many options for data compression. Among the most sought-after are:

  • Creating 3 types of archives – ZIP, RAR, and RAR We will not explain the difference, we will only say that archives of the RAR and RAR4 format can only be opened using WinRAR, and ZIP can be opened with almost everything by existing archivers and many file managers, including the standard “Explorer “. If the archive is being created for the purpose of sending to someone who does not have WinRAR available, use the ZIP format.
  • The ability to encrypt the archive with a password. If you want to protect the archive from viewing its contents by third parties, in the archiving options, click on the “Set password …” button, then enter the password twice in the window that opens. You can also check the box “Encrypt file names”, in this case, without entering a password, you will not even be able to view the names of the files packed in it.
  • Choice of compression method. WinRAR provides several compression methods – from archiving “No compression” to “Maximum” compression level. Use the Uncompressed mode when you need to quickly compress a large number of files – it will take the same amount of time as it would take them to copy from one folder to another. If you want to compress files to the maximum possible level, select the “Maximum” method. But this is a rather lengthy procedure (depending on the power of the computer, the amount and type of data being archived).
  • Dictionary size setting. The Dictionary Size value determines the amount of RAM that the archiver uses to compress files. It also affects the packing speed and data compression level. If the computer has a large amount of RAM (from 8 GB), the size of the dictionary can be increased to the maximum value.
  • Creation of continuous archives. The option “Create a continuous archive” will help to increase the degree of file compression even more. However, such compression has several disadvantages: it is impossible to extract one file from the archive without extracting all the others; at the slightest damage to the archive (for example, if it was not possible to completely download the archive from the Internet), recovery is impossible; slow archive unpacking speed. However, the recovery problem can be solved by enabling the “Add recovery data” option.
  • Ability to split the archive into several parts. In some cases, it may be necessary to split the archive into fragments of the same size. This may be necessary, for example, if you need to burn an archive to discs or send them by mail (mail services limit the number of files transferred in one letter). With WinRAR, this is very easy: select or enter the size of one archive fragment in the “Split into volumes by size” field, then set the unit for measuring the amount of information (bytes, KB, MB, or GB).
  • Creation of self-extracting archives. Using WinRAR, you can create an SFX archive that will have the “EXE” extension, i.e. be an executable file, like any program running on a computer. SFX archives can be unpacked on any Windows computer without WinRAR (or another) archiver installed on it, regardless of the format chosen when creating the archive.

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