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rar files

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What is RAR file format (WinRar archives)



rar extension



RAR extension designates a popular archive format introduced by RarLab's program WinRAR (shareware file archiving utility, free for 40 days) for Microsoft Windows platform; the software was ported to Linux (only as extractor) by the same Author, Eugene Roshal. Initial application release dates back to 1995, last RAR5 standard revision is from 2013.

RAR format is well known for the high compression ratio - superior compared to zip, comparable with 7z format and zipx format - being the compressor based on Lempel-Ziv (LZSS) algorithm and prediction by partial matching (PPMd, Dmitry Shkarin).

RAR standard also features strong file encryption by design
  • encrypted RAR4 archives rely on AES-128 based encryption

  • encrypted RAR5 archives rely on AES-256 in CBC mode, with improved key scheduling

Notably, .rar format features advanced error correction / data recovery capabilities setting optional recovery records during archive creation (from WinRar).
Please note RAR4 and RAR5 standard revisions both have same .rar extension, the format revision level being declared in file header area.
Spanned multi-volume rar archives are designed by R01 extension - with file extension numerator incremented for following volumes of the set.

Maximum size of a RAR archive

RAR file can be large up to 2^63 bytes in size (8 exabytes of total size of the archive, signed 64 bit integer of filesize field), far exceeding current needs and capabilities of most filesystems.
To work with input files, or output archives, larger than 4 GB, FAT32 filesystem should be avoided (limited to files smaller than 2^32 bytes).
Both NTFS and exFAT filesystems allows maximum file size up to 2^64 byte (16 exabyte), large enough to accomodate largest possible rar format file size - theoretically, as current implementations are limited to smaller max file sizes.

Maximum number of files in a RAR archive

RAR file can contain up to 2^31 files (max 2 billion files, signed 32 bit integer for file number filed), which makes rar format suitable for archiving large number of files and directories, especially if compared to competing early ZIP standard limited to 64K maximum files (2^16).

PeaZip free archiver features read-only support to open and extract RAR files through Open Source unrar components from 7z/p7zip, and can convert existing .rar archives into any write supported archive format, providing an Open Source alternative to WinRar for extraction of rar archives.
Optionally, the program allows managing RAR5 file type with separate UNRAR / UNRAR5 Plugin based on RarLab's unrar code - not mandatory, PeaZip can natively handle RAR5 standard out of the box.

rar file format limitations


Online resources about rar file type: WinRarwinrar file type official domain, RAR formatrar file format Wikipedia entry, what is error correctionRAR recovery records, 7-Zipopen source rar

rar file format specifications

RAR file type is proprietary, even if the format specifications are well documented and unrar (extraction) code is available for free, it is encumbered by no reverse engineering clause about using sources to create a rar compressor.

rar file format features

No Open Source RAR implementation (with full read / write support) is consequently known to be able to fully replace WinRar. Anyway PeaZip can create RAR files using WinRar executable (if installed) without leaving the application - this works simply setting rar.exe as custom compressor utility in PeaZip.

  



  

.RAR

Author Eugene Roshal, 1995
max 2 billion files per rar archive (2^31), 8 EB maximum size of rar archive (2^63 bytes)

SPEED rar format specs

Rar format speed is good: even employing powerful advanced comperssion techniques, handling the format is remarkably efficient in terms of speed.







COMPRESSION RATIO what is rar format

Rar format features high compression ratio, comparable to WinZip's zipx but slightly inferior to 7-Zip's 7z with most common real-world data sets.

ADVANCED OPTIONS what are rar files

Excellent, Rar standard provides a wide array of advanced features. Most notable feature is native support for recovery records, that allows to recover archives from moderate corruption states.








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FAQ > Archive file types > What are RAR files

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