Which WinRAR Compression Do You Need? [GUIDE]
Anyway, the post before the anniversary was already weeks ago. Thanks to the busy routines and tons of assignments in my lecture, I almost abandoned by beloved blog. Today, though... marks the day for my return.
Hit the break if you're interested about the meaning behind 'Store', 'Fast', 'Best', etc. :D
Alright, who doesn't know WinRAR? This compression software has become almost an obligation to all PC users. Macs get some love, too... although it's still using Command-Line Interface (or Terminal... something like Command Prompt in Windows, if you'd like to know). Totally different than the PC version.
Yes, WinRAR is a shareware, costing $29 for a single-user, and starting from $21 for multi-user license, and as low as $6 for a massive multi-user option. The final stable version for WinRAR is currently 4.20 which brings support to multi-core CPU in certain compression methods, faster speed, and better compression, although it costs more memory during the process. You can find the complete changelog here. I won't explain it completely since we're not discussing what's new here.
Creating an archive (or compress a few files and put it into one smaller file) is an easy process once WinRAR is installed, because it is integrated into the Windows Explorer. You can just right-click a folder or a file(s) that you want to compress, and click one of those "Add to Archive" thing. Afterwards, you should be shown a new window.
Just before I write this guide, I've never known what each choice in the 'Compression Method' section does, and I didn't care. However, when I was told to send some photos through the email (the photo was taken by a sub-DSLR camera, and the size was enormous), I can't help but try to figure out what each option does. Although it ends in failure, at least I got some knowledge :p
|Before all, I have this small project that I want to try out compressing using various methods|
|Store method doesn't compress anything at all|
Store is basically the same as putting your files into one folder. However, email clients and file-hosting websites most likely won't accept folders. Therefore, you'll need to put it all into an archive. It won't compress anything, so you don't have to worry about quality loss, etc.
The point is, if you want to upload some files at once, and don't want any quality loss, this might be your best choice. Be wary that it won't do anything to your files, though...
|This is suitable for punctual users|
Fastest, just like its name, is the fastest compression method around. It won't compress much, but it'll take the least time needed to compress all your files.
If you look at the screenshot on the right, you'll see a significant decrease of size from the Store method. That's because from the 'Fastest' choice, we'll start seeing compressions. This method is suitable for those who are being chased by time, and needed to compress some files, and upload and send them through the mail fast.
|More time, less size|
The same as fastest, but you'll get a better compression at a little bit slower time. If you compare the size, you'll notice that the size will be less. That's great, isn't it?
Nothing much to explain here. Although doesn't give much improvement to the compression, it's the default choice for WinRAR if you didn't change or tweak anything.
If you want quick and easy compression, just highlight the files you need to compress and put together, right-click and choose "Add to Archive" and immediately press enter. Wait, and it'll be served to you in a few seconds.
|Not much difference here...|
Depending on what type of file you're compressing, this won't do much improvement compared to the Normal method. Theoretically, it should give out smaller file size... and that's going to be proven in the 'Conclusion' section below. Stay tuned :D
This is the best option for you, if you're looking to achieve as much compressed size as possible. However, nothing is free. Depending on how many files you decide to combine, the process might take as long as hell. The result is worthy, though...
Again, if you're looking to achieve as small file size as possible for email, etc, you might want to try this option out.
Now that you know about your compression methods, you should know which one to use on each specific case... or at least have a bit of knowledge for each of them. Remember, compression is all about time. Indeed, there may be (free/shareware) tools that might offer much, much better compression, but it costs more memory and time. In the end, you should experiment with each of the methods yourself to get a hang of it.
Oh, and I've just forgot... You won't be able to compress images such as JPEG, PNG, etc and videos, as well as lossy audios. Why? Because those file formats are already compressed... and even if it can be compressed further, the result won't be significant. Keep that in mind before you whine about that, alright? ;)
Oh, and as a final gift, I think I'll let you see and compare it yourself: