What is a RAR file? I am sure you have heard several definitions. We’ll do our best to explain the term as it relates to Usenet newsgroup downloads.
A RAR file is a compressed file archive. Meaning it contains a file whose original size has been reduced by data compression. A RAR file can contain either a single file or several files that have been compressed. Because the data has been compressed, it is smaller in size than the original file.
A RAR file is also used to help break up larger binary files or binary file archives into several smaller parts. Each of the smaller parts of a multi-part binary file is called volumes. This makes it a very effective format for Usenet because the parts, or volumes, are smaller and can be more easily uploaded to Usenet. You usually see these multi-part binaries volumes labeled as .rar, part01.rar, part02.rar, .r00, .r01, etc. In order to put a multi-part binary file back to the original file, you must download all the parts of the sequence. In order to manipulate or use the file, you must extract or unRAR the file onto your computer before it can be used. There are several utilities that can be used to UnRAR or extract the files.
Yet another benefit of RAR files is redundancy. They are capable of being repaired with the help of PAR2 files. This format also supports long file names and international character sets. This helps folks from all over the world use the format because it allows for non English file names to be used. In addition it also support AES-128 bit encryption. You can lock volume archives with a 128 bit key.
Other compressed file formats include .Zip, .ace and 7z (7 zip). Some consider the .Zip format to be more popular however it isn’t as effective for rate of data compression. The RAR format is able to produce a better rate of compression at the expense of a slower compression process. It uses advanced compression algorithms that can create more compressed archives- at least 10 to 30% smaller than Zip or other archive formats.
The RAR format was originally created by Eugene Roshal, a brilliant Russian software engineer. His last name actually contributed to the naming of the archive format – RAR stands for Roshal ARchive. He also created WinRAR which is a very powerful extraction tool.