re: needing to know differences between .zip and .rar

Posted on 2003-03-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
Hi Everyone:

     Recently, I have tried out a program called WinRAR which is similiar in terms application to WinZip.  With respect to .rar and .zip files, what are the differences between these two compressed file formats?  Does compression using .rar store more files than .zip or are they equivalent?

      Any thoughts on this posted question will greatly be appreciated.

      Thank you.

Question by:GMartin
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

ID: 8086640
ZIP format Pros: Almost everyone has the ability to open a ZIP file, and free programs to open ZIP files are all over the Internet for those who do not yet have that ability.  ZIP format Cons:  Of all the compression schemes I have tried, it makes the largest files.

RAR format Pros: It makes smaller compressed files (maybe not much smaller, but this also depends on what types of files you are compressing).  RAR format Cons: WinRAR is a relatively unknown program compared to those that work in exclusively ZIP format, and costs money (though there is a free version that will only uncompress RAR files).  



Expert Comment

ID: 8087085
winzip - most popular. started from pkzip.exe way way back 1990's  i think. anyway, this is most widely used program. no create/make self extrating exe -on old version. New version??? u have to download it yet. Anyway, if you want to use winzip - this is ok ig your not create a zip file to multiple diskkettes.

winrar - what i like about winrar is that, you can specify the file size you want. sample, you have a compress file 3mb size. you can let winrar compress it is 6different files with 500kb each. (i think winzip will use the free space on floppy-which i really hate). Plus, you can easily make a self extracting exe in winrar.

I use winzip very much often, i also used it in programming, especially wzcline.exe a command line support for winzip8 and above which is really usefull and easy with shell programming. i only use winrar if i want to specify the filesize i want or make a selfextracting exe. New winzip has this already but i still prefer winrar because i ussually use (filesize + convert to exe). i dont want file to use 1.44mb cause floppy esily get dammage.

Expert Comment

ID: 8087135
so many type mistakes. sowy.

anyway, One big advantage of winrar is creating a multiple files for diskkettes with the FILESIZE you want. I hate winzip when doing this job. You can even specify the size you want without the diskettes. In winrar you can specify the file size directly to your HDD.

In Winzip you cannot do this, you cannot specify the size. and when spanning to multiple floppy, you need floppy before you could do spanning.

So if you want to zip a 100mb files. In winrar you can zip it to 1mb each, then save it to HDD then copy it later on floppy.
In winzip, you need a floppy to start the zipping plus ou cant specify the size.

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Expert Comment

ID: 8095727
To expand on the first comment:

WinRAR is better, as far as compression. The winRAR application does support zip as well.

Zip support is built into windows XP.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 8096521

I've used a product called "Ultimate Zip"

which supports:

Built-in compression support for: Zip, Blak Hole, Cabinet, Jar, Lha , GZip, Tar, Tar-BZip2, and Tar-GZip archives.

Built-in decompression support for: Ace, Arc, Arj , Rar, Zoo, Zip, Blak Hole, Cabinet, Jar , Lha, GZip, Tar, Tar-BZip2, and Tar-GZip archives.

Built-in support for UUE and XXE encoded files.
Zip and Mail feature.
Self extracting Ace, Arj, Bh, Jar, Lha, Rar, and

Works great and is 100% free

Hope this helps

Author Comment

ID: 8098041
Hi Everyone:

       Thanks so much for the great feedback.  With respect to specifying the file sizes within WinRAR, what are the steps for accomplishing this?  Additionally, what would the steps be in creating a self-extracting file using WinZip or WinRAR?

        Any further thoughts on this posted question will greatly be appreciated.  Responses to this portion of the posted question will help provide closure and the reward of points to the appropriate person.  




Accepted Solution

Jerry_Pang earned 500 total points
ID: 8099869
When you zip a file or add a file to archive,
A form will pop up with a form caption of

Archive name and parameters
on "General" - tab

Compresion Method _ is the type of compresion. fast as the fastest compression and best as best compresssion file
Fastest - fast - normal - good - best

split to volumes, bytes ( this is the spanning to multiple files)
1,000,000 (for bytes) or 1m (for 1mb) or 1,000kb

Archiving Options ( on this option see the create SFX)
CreateSFX archive - will create exe file for winrar


Click on Action menu. then click on "Make exe..."

right click on a zip file. then click on Create Self-Extractor.
if you want multiple spanning. create the file on diskkete. check the multiple spanning option when creating the file.


Author Comment

ID: 8149281
Hi Everyone:

      Before I begin, I want to thank everyone for their sharing their insights.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's responses.  With respect to putting it all together and putting it to use, I found Jerry's answer most helpful in getting me started with the actual use of WinZip and WinRAR.  However, everyone's feedback was found very useful in solidifying the actual pros and cons of the zip and rar compression schemes.

      Thanks again everyone.  I learned a lot from this posted question.


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