First, you need to run WinRAR. Double-click or press Enter on the WinRAR icon. You can also start it from the Windows "Start menu": under "Programs" then "WinRAR" and then run the "WinRAR" item.
When WinRAR is running, it displays a list of files and folders in the current folder. You need to go to the folder, which contains files to archive. You may use Ctrl+D, the disks list below the toolbar or click on the small disk icon in the bottom left corner, to change the current disk. Press BS, Ctrl+PgUp, small "Up" button below the toolbar or double-click on the folder named ".." to go to the parent folder. Press Enter, Ctrl+PgDn or double-click on any other folder to enter that folder. Ctrl+ will set the root disk folder as the current folder.
When you have entered the folder with the desired files, select the files and folders, which you are going to archive. This may be achieved by using Shift + arrow keys or the mouse as in Windows Explorer and other Windows programs. It is also possible, in WinRAR, to select files using the Space or Ins keys. "Gray +" and "Gray -" keys on the numeric keypad allow the selection of groups of files using file masks.
Having selected one or more files, click on the Add button at the top of the WinRAR window, press Alt+A or select the "Add files to archive" command in the Commands menu. Enter the destination archive name in the dialog box which appears or simply accept the default name. You may select, in this dialog, the format of the new archive (RAR or ZIP), compression level, volume size and other archiving parameters. This dialog is described in detail in the Archive name and parameters dialog topic. Click on the OK button when you are ready to create the archive.
During the archiving process, a window will be displayed showing operation statistics. If you wish to break the archiving process, click on the Cancel button in the command window. You may press the "Background" button in this window to minimize WinRAR to the tray. When archiving is completed, the command window disappears and the newly created archive becomes the currently selected file.
It is also possible to add files, to an existing RAR archive, using drag-and-drop. Select the desired archive in the WinRAR window and press Enter (or double click) on its name. RAR will read the archive and display its contents. You may now add files to the archive by simply dragging them from another program and dropping them to WinRAR.
How do I archive files in Explorer or on the Desktop?
If you did not disable the "Integrate WinRAR into shell" option when installing WinRAR, it is possible to archive files directly in a Windows shell. Select the files you are going to compress, in Explorer or on the Desktop, press the right mouse button on the selected files and choose "Add to archive?". Enter the destination archive name in the dialog box which appears or accept the default name. You may also select the format of the new archive (RAR or ZIP), compression level, volume size and other archiving parameters. This dialog is described in detail in the Archive name and parameters dialog topic. Click on the OK button when done. An archive will be created in the same folder as the selected files.
You may also select the "Add to "name of file.rar"" command to add to the proposed archive without additional requests. In this case compression settings selected in the default compression profile will be used.
Note that if the option "Cascaded context menus" in Integration settings dialog is switched on, you need to open "WinRAR" submenu to access to described above commands. Otherwise they are located in the top level menu.
Another method is to drag file icons to an existing archive icon and drop them. Files will be added to this archive.
How do I extract files with WinRAR?
In order to extract a file using WinRAR in the shell mode you must first open the required archive in WinRAR. This may be achieved in one of several ways:
double-click or press Enter on the archive name in the Windows shell (Explorer or Desktop). If WinRAR was associated with archives during installation (the default installation option), an archive will be opened in WinRAR. You also may associate WinRAR with archives after installation using the Integration settings dialog;
double-click or press Enter on the archive name in the WinRAR window;
drag-and-drop an archive to the WinRAR icon or window. Before doing this ensure that WinRAR does not already display another archive, otherwise the dropped archive will be added to the currently displayed archive;
run WinRAR from the command line with a single parameter - the archive name.
When an archive is opened in WinRAR, its contents are displayed. Select files and folders, which should be extracted. You may do this by using the Shift + arrow keys or Shift + left mouse button as in Windows Explorer and other Windows programs. Also in WinRAR it is possible to select files using the Space or Ins keys. "Gray +" and "Gray -" keys on the numeric keypad allow the selection of groups of files using file masks.
Having selected one or more files, click the Extract To button at the top of the WinRAR window or press Alt+E , enter the destination folder in the dialog box and click OK. This dialog box also offers a few advanced options (see the Extraction path and options dialog for more information).
During the extraction process, a window will be displayed showing operation statistics. If you wish to break the extraction process, click on the Cancel button in the command window. You may press the "Background" button in this window to minimize WinRAR to the tray. If the extraction is completed without errors, WinRAR will return to the shell, in case of an error, a Diagnostic message window will be displayed.
What is the wizard interface?
The WinRAR Wizard interface is designed for novice users and allows them to perform basic compression and decompression operations using a simple step by step procedure.
You need to press the Wizard button on the WinRAR toolbar to display the wizard dialog. By default this button is visible both inside and outside of archives, but you may disable or enable it like other toolbar buttons with the "Select buttons?" option in the General settings dialog. Another option in the "General settings" dialog, called "Activate Wizard on start", allows you to run the Wizard every time WinRAR starts.
Every Wizard dialog contains a brief instruction at the top, describing dialog contents and possible user actions. You may also press the Help button to get more detailed instructions.
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