HowTo: WinRar? WinZip? WinWhat? – Darling I shrunk the files

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

As a 30-year-old one you grew up with it. You had much more opportunities and time to deal with it and to learn how to deal with it.
The over-30 generation did not always have it that easy in that respect.
That's why, I'd like to return some knowledge with these "Basic" blog articles.
hands back? Why return?

That's because my parents taught me a lot of basics. For example, how a spoon works. Or how to cross the street without getting hit by a truck. Or that you should not eat dough even if it looks terribly delicious.
All of this (and much more) is stuff without which I would probably not be in the world today where I am today.
That's why I think you shouldn't roll your eyes when you tell someone for the fifth time how to send an e-mail. After all, we (Nerds) did not know right after the first time how to perfectly swing the spoon.
I can imagine that as a parent it was sometimes quite annoying when you had to clean the kitchen for the fifth time, because the child has again spread the potato soup by spoon everywhere but just not in his mouth. And although he has been shown four times already how it goes with the spoon.

But now to the actual topic:
If you stumble through the Internet for a bit longer, you will inevitably come across terms such as "zip files", "zip archive", "rar archive" or "rar files".
Behind this, in principle, is nothing is complicated. .zip and .rar files are files that anyone can create with the programs "WinRar" and "WinZip". There are many more programs that can handle and create these files, but these two are the original programs.
The most simple way to explain this function, like many things in life, is an example:

Let's say you want to send a friend to email including 20 photos of your last summer vacation. You will probably come across two "problems". First, this e-mail should not consume too much disk space and second, the single upload (What an upload is can you read here: Downloads/Uploads – How the files come from the Internet and disappear again) of 20 photos is a little annoying.
Here are the advantages of WinZip or WinRar to light. Using these programs, these 20 images can be summarized in one file (which is why the files are also called zip or rar archives) and the required storage space of these 20 photos is getting even smaller (this is actually the main function). The 20 photos are therefore combined and compressed using WinZip or WinRar. In principle, you can also say you have packed the photos in a package and can now send the whole package instead of 20 individual photos.
The "packaged" files can be added to your e-mail in one go and then consume 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 unpack the received file namely to get back to the photos contained therein.

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 files and rar files.

Hints for our lovely english readers: Basically, many of the articles on are translations from the original german articles. Therefore, it may happen here and there that some illustrations are not available in english and that some translations are weird/strange/full of mistakes or generally totaly wrong. So if you find some obvious (or also not obvious) mistakes don't hesitate to leave us a hint about that in the comment section. 
Also please don't get confused, that instead of a "dot" often a "comma" is used as decimal separator. 🙂

Download WinRar

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

Install WinRar

Of course, after you have downloaded the installation package for WinRar, you also need to install it.
If you are not familiar with installing a program yet, I recommend you this blog article: Installing programs
There are many basics explained in detail again.

"Pack" files

Now that the preparations are done, it's time to pack our first files. Of course we also need something that you can pack first. For this I have created a folder and inserted 20 photos in it.

You do not know exactly how to create folders and insert files into them? Then I recommend you this blog article: Basics of navigation in Windows Explorer There are many basics explained in detail again.

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

For me, this folder looks like this with the 20 photos.
So that we can now make a before/after comparison, let's take a look at how much space these 20 photos consume before packaging. 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".
After we have opened the window that shows us the properties of the photo folder, we can read in addition to a few other details, the "size" so the space used by the photo folder. In this case, it is 169MB. We note this value, because we want to compare it with the size of the rare archive that was created afterwards.
In order to make a rare archive from the photo folder, we first close the properties window. Then we click again with the right mouse button on the photo folder and then click on "Add to archive".
Everything that we need to create a rar or zip archive can be set in the window that opens up. In the "Archive name" area, for example, the name of the archive can be set. Under "archive format" can be set whether you want to create a zip or rar archive. Rar archives have a slightly lower compression rate (so they consume less storage space), so I recommend using a rar archive for this purpose. The advantage of Zip files is that they are a bit more "robust". If, for example, a part of a zip file is damaged, it can often be used to restore a part of it. Rar files are unreadable if only a small portion of the file has been corrupted. In addition to the archive name and archive type, a password can also be set here, so that it is only possible with this password to unpack the resulting rar file. How to do that with the password protection I'll explain later in this article.
In order to summarize and compress the files you do not need to change any settings for simple archives. In order to create the Rar file, just click on “OK”.
This opens a small dialog box that shows us the compression process. There you can read which file is currently being processed, how far the process has progressed and how long it will probably take.
After completing the compression process, a new file named Fotos.rar was created. This is your newly created Rar archive. In order to send your packaged holiday photos, you only have to send this single Rar file (How to send emails with attachments is explained in this article a bit more detailed: Sending emails with attachments via
Now, if you call up the properties of the file "Photos.rar" you can see that the required storage space has decreased by 1MB from 169MB to 168MB compared to the uncompressed state. Although this does not vary much in this case but also depending on what files you pack.

You now know how to create rare archives.

Unpack archives

But who now knows how to pack files in Rar files, of course, must also know how he gets his files out of these again.
There are several possibilities for this. I explain here again, in my opinion the easiest or quickest possibility.

To unpack your Rar archive, click on the file again with the right mouse button and then on "Unzip to Fotos \". "... Fotos \" stands for the name of your archive and causes all files in your archive to be unpacked into a subfolder named "Fotoen" (ie your archive name).
As a result, a window opens again as 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 indicates how far the unpacking process of the entire archive has progressed. Under "Remaining time" can be read off how long the unpacking is expected to take.
Once the unpacking process is complete, the dialog closes automatically and you can see that a folder named "Photos" has been created.
… in which all previously packaged photos are now.

You now know how to compress files or pack them and unpack them again.
In the next optional steps, I'll show you how to protect an archive with a password and how to create a self-extracting archive. A self-extracting archive has the advantage that you do not need to have WinRar installed on the computer where you want to unpack the rar archive.

Protecting an archive with a password

In order to protect an archive with a password, you must first click on "Set password ..." in the dialog window where you also set the archive parameters (ie archive name, archive type, etc.).
This opens another dialog box in which you can enter your password. You have two options. Either you do not check "Show password" and you have to enter your password twice (for "Enter password" and "Enter password again") or you check the box and only have to enter the password once

Behind it hides a precautionary measure. Because if you mistype your password (the characters of the password you entered are not displayed in the text field), it could happen that you provide an archive with an unknown password and thus exclude yourself from your archive. Therefore you have to enter the password twice if the entry is hidden (the check mark "Show password" is not set). WinRar then checks whether the same password has been entered twice in both text fields and only then continues.

The hook "Encrypt filename" I recommend to set as well. It also causes the files contained in the archive to be displayed after the password has been entered.

After you have entered your password click on "OK".
Then you come back to the previous dialog box. If you also confirm this with "OK", the compression process starts exactly as described above.

To unpack a password-protected archive you will be asked for the password for this rar archive before the unpacking process. After you have entered this, the unpacking process runs just as it runs without password protection.

Create a self-extracting archive

In order to create a self-extracting archive, you have to set a checkmark next to "Create self-extracting archive" in the dialog window where you also set the archive parameters (ie archive name, archive type, etc.). With a click on "OK" you start here again the compression process.
Thereupon no "fotos.rar" file is created but a "fotos.exe" file. The file extension now shows that an executable file has been created. Your archive has become 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 storage space of this file will be slightly larger.

You now know what rar and zip archives are, how to create them, how to unpack them, how to provide them with a password or how to create a self-extracting archive.

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described. If not or you have any other questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. Also, ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

P.S. 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 appreciate that I share this information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee box. 🙂

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