What is the difference between ZIP and RAR formats

Creating a zipped file is a useful way to share different documents at once and take up little download space. To send or receive these files, two formats are very popular: ZIP and RAR. They perform the same function of compressing several data into a single file, but they have some differences in the way they work.

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Both formats have been around for a few decades. ZIP is the older of the two, with release records at 660. RAR was released in 1989, developed by Eugene Roshal — the name of the extension means “Roshal Archive”, or “Roshal Archive” , in free translation. The formats share the same purpose, but have some differences in usage. Want to know what they are? Check it out below!

ZIP and RAR: what’s the difference?

The main difference between ZIP and RAR is on file compatibility. The ZIP is an open format file, that is, it has standards and specifications made available in the public domain, with free use, without limitations or need for legal attributions and royalty charges. RAR, on the other hand, is a proprietary, copyright-protected format extension.

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Therefore, RAR needs a specific software to open it: for many years , was limited to WinRAR. The ZIP format, on the other hand, can be read and extracted by your computer’s own operating system. On Windows, for example, it is possible to create or extract ZIP files through Windows Explorer, without the need to download third-party software.

Example of compressed folder on Windows (Image: André Magalhães/Screencapture)

When comparing the advantages offered by each format, RAR stands out for presenting a higher compression rate and allowing compression in files with multiple volumes. However, the ZIP format has become a more popular option because it is more accessible: you can easily compress files from your computer, mobile phone or on sites like WeTransfer.

For a long time, ZIP files had a maximum size of only 4 GB, due to operating system limitations 32 bits. On 660 bit systems, on the other hand, there is no such limit and compressed files only depend on disk space available on your computer.

While software like 7Zip and The Unarchiver offer features to extract files in RAR, compression in this format and other specific functions are still only found in WinRAR. It is worth remembering that this software is not free: those who use it are already used to the constant warning window requesting the purchase of a license after the trial period.

Those, therefore, are the main differences between ZIP and RAR. Do you use these formats in your daily life? Comment!

Source: AllDifferences, File-extensions.org, GeeksforGeeks, RARLAB (1, 2), WinZIP

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