HowTo: WinRar? WinZip? WinWhat? - Honey I shrunk the files

I don't only want to explain things that are highly complicated. I think it is also important to explain things that are now somehow part of basic computer knowledge.
Probably everyone born after 1980 will already have this basic knowledge.
But my parents' generation, for example, did not.
And I think that's nothing to be ashamed of.

When you were under 30, you grew up with this technology. You grew up with it. You had a lot more opportunities and time to get to grips with it and learn how to use it.
The over-30 generation hasn't always had it quite so easy in that respect.
Therefore, I would like to give back a little knowledge with these "basic" blog articles.
Return? Why return?

That's because my parents also taught me a lot of basics. For example, how a spoon works. Or how to cross the street without being run over by a truck. Or that you shouldn't eat dough even if it looks terribly tasty.
All this (and much more) are things without which I probably wouldn't be where I am in life today.
That's why I don't think you should roll your eyes when you have to explain to someone for the fifth time how to send an email. After all, we(Nerdyis) also did not know immediately after the first time how to swing the spoon perfectly.
I can imagine that as a parent it was sometimes quite annoying when you had to redecorate the kitchen for the fifth time because the son has again distributed the potato soup by spoon everywhere but not in his mouth. And this despite the fact that he has already been shown four times how to use the spoon.

But now to the actual topic:
If you stumble a little longer through the Internet, you inevitably come across terms like "zip files", "zip archive", "rar archive" or "rar files" over time.
In principle, there is nothing complicated behind this. .zip and .rar files are files that anyone can create with the programs "WinRar" and "WinZip". There are many other programs that can process and create these files but these two are the original programs.
Like many things in life, the function can be explained most easily with an example:

Let's say you want to send an email to a friend including 20 photos of your last summer vacation. You will probably encounter two "problems". Firstly, this email must not use too much disk space and secondly, the single upload (Upload? What that is you can read here: Downloads/Uploads - How the files come from the Internet and also disappear there again) of 20 photos a little annoying.
This is where the advantages of WinZip or WinRar come to light. With the help of these programs, these 20 photos can be combined into one file (that is why the files are also called zip or rar archives) and the required storage space of these 20 photos is also reduced (that is actually the main function). The 20 photos will be compressed with WinZip or WinRar. In principle you can also say that you have packed the photos in a package and now you can send the whole package instead of 20 single photos.
The files "packaged" in this way can be added to your e-mail in one go and then also take up less space in the e-mail.
The only "disadvantage": Your friend who receives the e-mail now also needs WinZip or WinRar.
He has to unzip the received file in order to get the photos contained in it.

So before we can work with zip or rar archives we need to download the appropriate program. I recommend using WinRar, because it supports both zip and rar files.

WinRar Download

To download WinRar we visit the link of the manufacturer's page:
If you are not yet familiar with downloads, I recommend this blog article: Downloads/Uploads - How the files come from the Internet and also disappear there again
There, many basics are explained in detail once again.

Install WinRar

After you have downloaded the installation package for WinRar, this must of course also be installed.
If you are not familiar with installing a program, I recommend this blog article: Install programs
There, many basics are explained in detail once again.

Pack" files

Now that the preparations are finished, it's time to pack our first files. So that we have something to pack we need of course first of all something that can be packed. For this I have created a folder and inserted 20 photos in it.

You don't know exactly how to create folders and insert files into them? Then I recommend this blog article:
There, many basics are explained in detail once again.

The photos in this case act only as an example. You can package any kind of file in a zip. or rar. archive.

For me, this folder with the 20 photos looks like this.
So that we can now make a before/after comparison, let's take a look at how much storage space these 20 photos consume before we pack them. To do this, we switch to the next higher folder level and click with the right mouse button on our photo folder and then on "Properties".

You still don't know exactly what is meant by "folder level"? Then I recommend this blog article:
There, many basics are explained in detail once again.

After opening the window that shows us the properties of the photo folder, we can see, among a few other details, the "size", that is, the space used by the photo folder. In this case it is 169 MB. We note this value because we want to compare it with the size of the rar archive we will create later.
To make a rar archive out of the photo folder we first close the properties window. Then we right-click on the photo folder again and click on "Add to archive".
In the window that opens, we can set everything we need to create a rar or zip archive. In the "Archive name" section, for example, you can set the name of the archive. Under "Archive format" you can set whether you want to create a zip or rar archive. Rar archives have a slightly lower compression rate (they use less disk space), so I recommend using a Rar archive for this purpose. The advantage of zip files is that they are a bit more "robust". For example, if a part of a zip file gets damaged, it is often possible to restore a part of it. Rar files, on the other hand, are unreadable as soon as only a small part of the file is damaged. In addition to the archive name and archive type, a password can also be set here, so that it is only possible to unpack the resulting rar file with this password. How this works with the password protection I explain a little further down in this article.
For simple archives you don't need to change any settings for the time being to combine and compress the files. To create the rar file now just click on "OK".
A small dialog window opens that shows us the compression process. There you can see which file is currently being processed, how far the process has progressed and how long it is expected to take.
After the compression process is complete, a new file named Photos.rar has been created. This is the rar archive you just created. To send your packed vacation photos you just have to send this single rar file (I explained how to send emails with attachments in this article): Send e-mails with attachments via
If you now open the properties of the file "Fotos.rar" you can see that the required disk space has decreased by 1MB from 169MB to 168MB compared to the uncompressed state. This is not much in this case, but it also varies depending on what files you pack.

So now you know how to create rar archives.

Unpack archives

But who now knows how to pack files into rar files must of course also know how to get his files out of them again.
There are several ways to do this. I explain here again, the easiest or fastest Möglickeit in my opinion.

To unpack your Rar archive again, right-click on the file and then on "Unpack to photos". "Photos" stands for the name of your archive and causes all files in your archive to be unpacked into a subfolder with the name "Photos" (i.e. your archive name).
A window opens again, as it did before during the compression process. Here you can see which file is currently being unpacked and how far the unpacking of this file has progressed. It also shows how far the unpacking process of the entire archive has progressed. Under "Time remaining" you can see how long the unpacking process is expected to take.
Once the unpacking process is complete, the dialog box will close automatically and you can see that a folder named "Photos" has now been created.
...which now also contains all previously packed photos.

So now you know how to compress and unpack files.
In the next optional steps I will show you how to password protect an archive and how to create a self-extracting archive. A self-extracting archive has the advantage that WinRar does not have to be installed on the computer on which you want to extract the rar archive.

Protect an archive with a password

To protect an archive with a password you must first click on "Set password..." in the dialog box in which you also set the archive parameters (i.e. archive name, archive type, etc.).
Another dialog window will open where you can enter your password. You have two options. Either you don't check "Show password" and have to enter your password twice (at "Enter password" and "Enter password again") or you check the box and have to enter the password only once.

This is a precautionary measure. If you make a mistake when entering the password hidden (the characters you entered are not displayed in the text field), it could happen that you enter an unknown password into an archive and thus exclude yourself from your archive. That's why you have to enter the password twice if the password is hidden (the checkbox "Show password" is not set). WinRar then checks if the same password has been entered twice in both text fields and continues only then.

I also recommend to set the checkmark "Encrypt file names". It causes the files contained in the archive to be displayed only after you have entered the password.

After you have entered your password, click "OK".
This will take you back to the previous dialog box. If you confirm this with "OK", the compression process will start as described above.

To unpack a password protected archive you will be asked for the password of this rar archive before the unpacking process. After you have entered this password, the unpacking process will run in the same way as it would without password protection.

Create a self-extracting archive

To create a self-extracting archive you only have to check "Create self-extracting archive" in the dialog window where you also set the archive parameters (i.e. archive name, archive type, etc.). With a click on "OK" you start the compression process again.
This will not create a "Photos.rar" file but a "Photos.exe" file. The file extension now shows that an executable file was created. So your archive became a mini-WinRar+archive files, so you can unpack your archive everywhere. And this regardless of whether WinRar is installed on this computer or not. But the required disk space of this file will be a bit bigger.

You now know what rar and zip archives are, how to create them, unpack them and also how to password protect them or create them as self-extracting archives.

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described for you. If not or you have questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments. I will then add this to the article if necessary.
Ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

PS Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you think it's cool that I share the information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee fund. 🙂

Buy Me a Coffee at       

Kommentar hinterlassen

Your email address will not be published. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.