WinRAR is a compression and archiving program released first time in 1995. Is associated with .rar extension, one of the most popular archiving extensions along with .zip. Almost all archiving programs can extract .rar archives, but only a few can create .rar archives because the license for this file format is paid.
WinRAR is a fast extractor, but is a pretty low speed compressor (time to create an archive). It doesn't supports many compression formats, but can extract all popular ones.
Is very good at speed of extraction. You can drag and drop an archive over a folder keeping pressed the right click and WinRAR will know what do you want to do prompting you extraction menu.
It can create just a few types of archives: rar, rar5 and zip. Indeed, these are the most used ones, but is missing the .7z archive (is the best archiving format to reduce file size - see our test).
The program it has many features and interface is very intuitive. You can create different profiles with different settings, choose between different compression methods, split an archive in multiple parts based on size (B, KB, MB, GB), create SFX self extracting archives (archive as .exe) and test archived files against errors.
You can set it to shut down computer when archive is completed (useful for huge archives), set password, lock archives (to prevent accidental modifications of their content).
It displays the properties of an archive (number of files, size, packed size, compression ratio) and is able to repair corrupted archives.
Includes a Wizard mode with step by step instructions - useful for beginners, to create or extract archives.
Is a full featured program, very intuitive to use, ideal to create .rar (and .zip) archives, it has a very good extraction speed, but lacks at compression formats and compression speed.