What are .zip and .rar files ?
You'll notice that many of the downloads available on this site are stored in ZIP or RAR files. Both of these
are what can be referred to as "archive files". The ZIP or RAR files contain other files -- be it a single file, multiple files, or even whole folders full of files
-- in a convenient package.
- Ease: It's easier to download ONE file than a dozen files. This makes it easier for you as a downloader, and easier for me as an uploader.
- Size and Speed: Archive files compress what's inside of them, and decompress when "unzipped". This compression makes a ZIP or RAR file take less space on a server. It downloads (and uploads) faster, too!
Opening these files is easy...
use an older method of archiving. Of all the archives available -- and there are quite a few!
-- this is the one most people are familiar with. In fact, most operating systems, such as Windows and Mac OS X, have included native support for ZIP files for a few years now. Historically, ZIP files can be harder to recover once damaged, which also happens more often (as observed during my 15+ years of experience with ZIPs).
are newer than ZIP, and the compression tends to be superior both in size and in stability of the compression. RAR files also have more features for the person doing the compression.
To open an archive
you need the free-to-use software WinRAR for Windows, 7-Zip with the k7z GUI for Linux, or unRarX for Mac OS X, available at
OS X and Linux users can also use WinRAR; there's a command-line version available. But I personally prefer the GUI-based tools. I left DOS style computer use in the 20th century, thanks! I want to click it, not type it.
If you for some reason simply hate WinRAR on Windows, then you can use 7-zip instead, for unRARing the files. There is a Windows version available, also.
Multiple Parts? --- part1.rar, part2.rar, etc?
Some files are uploaded in multiple parts to avoid file size restrictions on the forum (99mb max file upload) -- for example, file.part1.rar
. To unRAR the multi-part files, simply save all of the file parts in the same folder on your computer (or save all to the desktop), and then extract part1 only
. The other parts will be uncompressed, and the whole set of RAR files will be re-merged into the original large file (now uncompressed).
Hope that helps.