WinRAR – File Archive Tutorial

TAR, stands for tape archive, from when archives were initially backed up on magnetic tape. The .TAR format can archive files (combine many files into one file) but not compress, unlike .ZIP, or .RAR.


A .ZIP or .RAR file compresses each file as it is included in a zip file. A .TAR file just includes files together with file information such as owner, date, size, etc.. Commonly, a .TAR file is compressed after the archive is created using WinRAR.


Compared to the ZIP file format, RAR provides a number of advanced features: more convenient multipart (multivolume) archives, tight compression including special solid, multimedia and text modes, strong AES-128 encryption, recovery records helping to repair an archive even in case of physical data damage(WinRAR Repair).


The most common way people encounter these types of files of course is when downloading data from P2P networks. As such, I will gear the tutorial to just such a feat.


NOTE: TAR files are handled in the same manner, example shows RAR archive manipulation 

First of all, locate the folder in question and open.


The are a number of ways to open the RAR archives, either by double-clicking the first one to open the console window, and then selecting the extract to button, or by right-clicking on the first RAR archive and select extract here. I find the latter to be the easiest, and so will use it to demonstrate the process.


This will bring up the WinRAR monitor window, which will decompress the files and leave you with an image file, in either .ISO or .BIN/.CUE format.


Notice the resulting file, it’s a disc image that can now be burned with whatever program you desire, my favorite being DVD Decrypter .


In this case, as you notice, it created an .ISO, or image file, but can oftentimes result in .BIN/.CUE files as well. If that’s the case a tutorial can be foud here telling you what to do with them. Additionally, further description is available on video formats and authoring.

QUICK TIP: If you right-click the NFO file, listed above as the MSInfo document, and open up with Notepad, you will find it contains information and data related to what you downloaded. This often includes passwords, if the archive is password encrypted, notes on who created the archive, and any additional info they think may be relevant to archive.