WinRAR 6 Comes With Additional Switches And New Compression Parameters

WinRAR 6 stable has been released and is available for download on RARLAB website. This is a major release after a long time. Previously, we were using 5.xx versions for a long time, the last being version 5.91.

WinRAR 6 is not free but it comes with a 40-day free trial. After the trial, you will keep getting registration popups but you can keep using the program without any limitations.

Download WinRAR 6

To install or upgrade to WinRAR 6, simply download the installer from below and run the setup file.

Download WinRAR 6 for Windows 64-bit

Download WinRAR 6 for Windows 32-bit

Download WinRAR 6 for MacOS

For more download options, including languages and platforms, please check out WinRAR download page.

The installation steps are exactly the same as earlier versions. Here are the installation screenshots:

Please make sure that WinRAR is closed while installing or upgrading to version 6. Otherwise, you will get an error that some files could not be created. If you get this error, please close all instances of the program and run the installer again.

WinRAR 6 changelog

WinRAR version 6 introduces some new switches for performance and usability.

The biggest addition is the addition of Ignore and Ignore All options to the read error prompt. If WinRAR is unable to read a certain file within the archive, you will get an option to ignore that file and keep on processing the rest of the archive.

You can also use -y switch to ignore all errors by default.

If you work with multiple archives simultaneously, you could use Extract archives to subfolders option to process all the archives together. Version 6 adds more options to this option.

WinRAR 6 extraction options

To automate this, you can use the -ad2 switch which places extracted files directly into the archive’s own folder.

You can either read the complete changelog file here or read it directly below.

"Ignore" and "Ignore All" options are added to read error prompt.
      "Ignore" allows to continue processing with already read file part
      only and "Ignore All" does it for all future read errors.

      For example, if you archive a file, which portion is locked by another
      process, and if "Ignore" is selected in read error prompt,
      only a part of file preceding the unreadable region will be saved
      into archive.

      It can help to avoid interrupting lengthy archiving operations,
      though be aware that files archived with "Ignore" are incomplete.
      If switch -y is specified, "Ignore" is applied to all files by default.

      Previously available "Retry" and "Quit" options are still present
      in read error prompt as well.

   2. Exit code 12 is returned in the command line mode in case of read errors.
      This code is returned for all options in the read error prompt,
      including a newly introduced "Ignore" option.

      Previously more common fatal error code 2 was returned for read errors.

   3. If several archives are selected, "Extract archives to" option group
      in "Options" page of extraction dialog can be used to place extracted
      files to specified destination folder, to separate subfolders
      in destination folder, to separate subfolders in archive folders
      and directly to archive folders.
      It replaces "Extract archives to subfolders" option and available
      only if multiple archives are selected.

   4. New -ad2 switch places extracted files directly to archive's own folder.
      Unlike -ad1, it does not create a separate subfolder for each unpacked

   5. "Additional switches" option in "Options" page of archiving
      and extraction dialogs allows to specify WinRAR command line switches.
      It might be useful if there is no option in WinRAR graphical interface
      matching a switch.

      Use this feature only if you are familiar with WinRAR command line
      syntax and clearly understand what specified switches are intended for.

   6. Compression parameters in "Benchmark" command are changed to
      32 MB dictionary and "Normal" method. They match RAR5 default mode
      and more suitable to estimate the typical performance of recent
      WinRAR versions than former 4 MB "Best" intended for RAR4 format.

      Latest "Benchmark" results cannot be compared with previous versions
      directly. New parameters set produces different values, likely lower
      because of eight times larger dictionary size.
   7. When unpacking a part of files from solid volume set,
      WinRAR attempts to skip volumes in the beginning and start
      extraction from volume closest to specified file and with reset
      solid statistics.

      By default WinRAR resets the solid statistics in the beginning
      of large enough solid volumes where possible. For such volumes
      extracting a part of files from the middle of volume set can be
      faster now.

      It does not affect performance when all archived files are unpacked.

   8. Previously WinRAR automatically resorted to extracting from
      first volume, when user started extraction from non-first volume
      and first volume was available. Now WinRAR does so only if all volumes
      between first and specified are also available.

   9. Warning is issued when closing WinRAR if one or more archived files
      had been modified by external apps, but failed to be saved back to
      archive, because an external app still locks them. Such warning
      includes the list of modified files and proposes to quit immediately
      and lose changes or return to WinRAR and close an editor app.

      Previous versions issued a similar warning while editing a file,
      but did not remind it again when quitting.

  10. "Move to Recycle Bin" option in "Delete archive" options group
      of extraction dialog places deleted archives to Recycle Bin
      instead of deleting them permanently.

  11. New "Clear history..." command in "Options" menu allows to remove
      names of recently opened archives in "File" menu and clear drop down
      lists with previously entered values in dialogs. For example,
      these values include archive names in archiving dialog
      and destination paths in extraction dialog.
  12. "File time" options in "Advanced" part of extraction dialog are
      now available for 7z archives. Additionally to modification time,
      WinRAR can set creation and last access time when unpacking such

  13. ""New" submenu items" options group is added to
      "Settings/Integration/Context menu items..." dialog. You can use
      these options to remove "WinRAR archive" and "WinRAR ZIP archive"
      entries in "New" submenu of Windows context menu.

      New state of these option is applied only after you press "OK"
      both in "Context menu items" and its parent "Settings" dialog.

  14. <Max>, <Min> and <Hide> commands can be inserted before the program
      name in SFX "Setup" command to run a program in maximized,
      minimized or hidden window. For example:


  15. It is possible to specify an additional high resolution logo
      for SFX module. If such logo is present, SFX module scales
      and displays it in high DPI Windows mode, providing the better visible
      quality compared to resizing the standard logo.
      Use "High resolution SFX logo" in "Advanced SFX options" dialog
      to define such logo. In command line mode add second -iimg switch
      to set the high resolution logo.

      Recommended size of high resolution logo PNG file is 186x604 pixels.

  16. If archive currently opened in WinRAR shell was deleted or moved
      by another program, WinRAR displays "Inaccessible" before archive name
      in the window title. Also it flashes the window caption and taskbar

  17. "Total information" option in "Report" dialog is renamed to
      "Headers and totals". Now it also adds headers of report columns
      additionally to total information about listed files and archives.
  18. If archive processing is started from <a href="">Windows context menu</a>
      in multiple monitor system, WinRAR operation progress and dialogs
      use the monitor with context menu.

      While basic <a href="">multiple monitor</a> support was present in previous versions
      shell extension for mouse driven commands, now it is extended to
      operations initiated from keyboard and to dropping files to archives.

  19. New -imon<number> switch allows to select a monitor to display
      WinRAR operation progress and dialogs in the command line mode.

      Use -imon1 for primary and -imon2 for secondary monitor.
      For example, "WinRAR x -imon2 arcname" will start extraction
      on secondary monitor.

      It works only in the command line mode and does not affect
      interactive WinRAR graphical inteface also as console RAR.

  20. Switch -idn hides archived names output in archiving, extraction
      and some other commands in console RAR. Other messages and total
      percentage are not affected.

      You can use this switch to reduce visual clutter and console output
      overhead when archiving or extracting a lot of small files.

      Minor visual artifacts, such as percentage indicator overwriting
      few last characters of error messages, are possible with -idn.
  21. Former "-im - show more information" switch is changed to
      "-idv - display verbose output" for consistency with console RAR
      -id[c,d,p,q] message control options and avoid a potential name
      conflict with newer -imon switch.

      While WinRAR still recognizes both -im and -idv, in the future
      -im support can be dropped.

  22. It is allowed to add an optional %arcname% variable to compression
      profile name. Such variable will be replaced with actual archive name.
      It might be convenient when using with "Add to context menu" profile
      option. For example, you can create ZIP compression profile
      and set its name to "Add to %arcname%", to display it with actual
      ZIP archive name in context menu.

  23. Ctrl+C and Ctrl+Ins keyboard shortcuts can be used
      in <a href="">"Diagnostic messages"</a> window to copy contents to clipboard.
  24. More text is allowed in tray icon hint before a lengthy text
      is truncated. Also such text is now truncated in the middle of string,
      so both command type and completion percentage are still visible.

  25. In case of clean install, if previous version compression profiles
      are not present, "Files to store without compression" field
      in newly created predefined compression profiles is set to:

        *.rar *.zip *.cab *.7z *.ace *.arj *.bz2 *.gz *.lha *.lzh
        *.taz *.tgz *.xz *.txz

      You can change this field and save a modified value to compression
      profile later.
      Previous versions set this field to blank for clean install.

  26. Destination path history in extraction dialog treats paths like
      'folder' and 'folder\' as the same path and displays only 'folder'
      entry. Previously they occupied two entries in the history.

  27. "Enable Itanium executable compression" GUI option and -mci command
      line switch are removed. Optimized compression of Itanium executables
      is not supported anymore. WinRAR still can decompress already existing
      archives utilizing Itanium executable compression.

  28. Bugs fixed:

      a) "Lock", "Comment" and "Protect" commands could not be applied
         to several archives selected in WinRAR file list at once;

      b) SFX archive process did not terminate after completing
         extraction in Windows 10 if archive comment included "Setup"
         and "SetupCode" commands, did not include "TempMode" command
         and setup program was running for more than 8 minutes;

      c) compression profiles with quote character in profile name
         could not be invoked from Explorer context menu.


Other than some improvements to version 5, I don’t feel like WinRAR 6 comes with the performance improvements or feature enhancements that it deserves. I was hoping that a new compression format would be released with the new version but RARLAB is still sticking with the old RAR5 format.

There are still some very good additions to command-line switches and compression parameters like the default 32 MB dictionary instead of the old 4 MB which may improve performance on modern systems.

What do you think of WinRAR 6? It remains my favorite compression utility as no other tool can come near the feature set, performance and ease of use of WinRAR.

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Usman Khurshid
Usman Khurshid is a seasoned IT Pro with over 15 years of experience in the IT industry. He has experience in everything from IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. He is also certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.

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