RAR support for Windows: the WinRAR publisher plays the irony card

Written by Guillaume
Publication date: {{ dayjs(1686153630*1000).local().format("L").toString()}}
This article is an automatic translation

Fortunately, ZIP file support has not made third-party software disappear. The same will undoubtedly apply to the RAR format.

Just a few days ago, we reported on Microsoft's "discovery" and its forthcoming integration into Windows 11. Indeed, while the RAR compression format was invented by Russian developer Eugene Roshal with a first version dating back to March 1993, Microsoft had until now completely ignored it. Support for Windows compression formats dates back several years now, but apart from a few more specific formats (CAB...), it mainly concerns the most widespread format, ZIP. Often held up as an example, notably for the level of compression it allows, RAR was not recognized by Windows, which was unable to process such files.

No date has yet been set for the implementation of the new feature, but Microsoft has confirmed that support for the RAR format should be available in the next few days via the Windows Insider channel, through a beta version of the operating system. Widespread deployment - via a Windows Update - will probably have to wait a few more weeks/months. This should allow us to see how Microsoft integrates support for RAR files, and what options it offers users.

In fact, this is where the publisher of WinRAR software is "waiting" for Microsoft. Thus, the Neowin site relays the ironic statement from win.rar GmbH: " It took Microsoft 30 years to implement support for RAR files in the Windows operating system [...] now we wonder if they also plan to provide the RAR engine in another 30 years". A little more seriously, but no doubt not without ulterior motive, Louise Cusworth from the company's marketing department adds: "We hope this will make RAR compression even more popular and accessible to users who are not familiar with WinRAR".

Needless to say, if you just want to open a few RAR files from time to time, the functionality built into Windows 11 will probably be more than enough. This is also the case for the ZIP format, which has reduced the number of people installing WinZIP or 7zip. Louise Cusworth readily acknowledges the risk to RAR software publishers that their programs may "become obsolete in the future". Although users will still need WinRAR to create RAR files, they will no longer need it to open .rar files".

It should be remembered, however, that Windows' support for ZIP archives is relatively simplistic. The archive creation phase offers no options (compression level, self-extracting, password protection) and even extraction is limited, to say the least. It is in this sense, of course, that third-party tools will still have a role to play: we can legitimately expect the same level of support for RAR archives. Finally, Louise Cusworth seems keen to strike a chord with users, hoping that "enough people will continue to support a small software company, so that we can continue to develop WinRAR for a long time to come".