WinRAR is a well-known commercial software for the management of compressed archives. It supports ZIP, 7Z and all other main types of compressed files but its most important feature is the creation of archives in RAR format, an operation that alas is impossible with free alternative applications.
Why? The answer is simple. The RAR format (acronym for Roshal Archive) is a type of file created by Eugene Roshal and its compression algorithm is available exclusively for programs from RARLab, the manufacturer of WinRAR. Different destiny was instead chosen for the decompression algorithm, which was released under an open source license and subsequently integrated into numerous free software.
At this point, you are surely wondering if it is possible to download WinRAR free and use it to create / extract archives in RAR format. Well, the answer is yes… but with limitations. WinRAR is a shareware type program, therefore substantially paid, but unlike other applications of this type it does not "expire". Officially it presents a trial period of 40 days at the end of which, however, it continues to work by displaying nag screens that continually invite the user to purchase a license and deactivating some advanced functions, such as the creation of password-protected archives. For more info read on.
How to Download WinRAR for Free
If you are interested in trying WinRAR despite all the limitations, connect to the program's website and click on the button Pick up placed next to the wording WinRAR per Windows Xp/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10 a 32 bit or next to the wording WinRAR per Windows Xp/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10 a 64 bit, depending on the operating system installed on your PC. If you don't know what to choose, download the 32-bit version.
When the download is complete, open the WinRAR installation package (eg. WinRAR-x64-540it.exe) and first click on Yes and then Install, OK e Close to conclude the setup.
It's done! You have just installed WinRAR and it has automatically set itself as the default software for managing compressed archives on your PC. This means that RAR, ZIP, etc. they are automatically opened by the latter by double clicking on their icons and that you can create a RAR archive "on the fly" simply by right clicking on the items to add to the archive and selecting the item Add to an archive give the menu to compare.
In the window that opens, type the name you want to assign to the RAR file, click on the button Shop by Department to select the destination folder and choose the compression method to be used for the archive from the appropriate drop-down menu. To finish, click on the button OK and wait for the data compression to complete.
Please note: the trial period of 40 days assumes that after using WinRAR free for this period of time you purchase a regular license (29,95 euros) even if, in fact, the application continues to work.
Alternative Gratuite a WinRAR
If you don't need to create archives in RAR format but only to extract them, listen to my advice and install one of the many free alternatives to WinRAR available on the Internet.
If you are using a Windows PC, I highly recommend installing 7-Zip. It is a free and open source utility for the management of compressed archives that allows you to open all major compressed file formats (RAR, ZIP, 7Z etc.) and to create ZIP and 7Z archives with extreme ease.
To download 7-Zip on your computer, connect to the program's website and click on the item Download located next to the item 32-bit x86 or next to the item 64-bit x64, depending on the operating system you use. When the download is complete, open the 7-Zip installation package (eg. 7z1602-x64.exe) and first click on Yes and then install e Close to finish the setup. You may be asked to restart your PC.
At this point, start 7-Zip File Manager as administrator (you have to right-click on its icon in the Start menu and select the item Run as administrator from the menu that appears), go to the menu Tools> Options and click on first + / Select all and then Apply e OK.
In this way you have set 7-Zip as the default application for managing compressed archives on your computer and then you can open all the archives with it simply by double clicking on their icons.
The Unarchiver (Mac)
If you are using a Mac, don't think twice and install The Unarchiver. If you have never heard of it, The Unarchiver is a free application for macOS that allows you to decompress all major compressed archive formats: RAR, Zip, 7-zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2 and more. To install it on your Mac, connected to the page I just linked to and, if the Mac App Store does not open automatically, click on the button View in the Mac App Store.
Next, click on the button Get / Install the app located on the left and, if necessary, type your Apple ID password to complete the software download. At the end of the download (and installation of The Unarchiver), you should be able to extract all major compressed archive formats by simply double clicking on them.
If, following the installation of The Unarchiver, you are unable to extract a compressed archive simply by double clicking on its icon, solve the problem in this way.
Click on the archive you want to open with The Unarchiver and press cmd+i on the Mac keyboard. A window will open with all the file details. Then expand the section Open with located at the bottom, select The Unarchiver from the drop-down menu that appears and click on Edit All / Continue to apply the changes.