RAR, ZIP, ARC, ISO: they’re all different types of compressed files floating around the internet. LesterMorrow asks “what are ISO and RAR files and how do I use them?”

ISO and RAR files are archives. The most common type of archive files people run into are ZIP files, but there are other formats, including tar.gz, hqx, and 7z.

Most archived files compress the information they contain and make it easier to store and transfer over a network.

ISO files are disk images, in most cases CD or DVD, which contain an uncompressed image that you can burn with a burning program, such a Roxio Easy Media Creator.

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You can use several programs to decompress archived files.

WinRAR is the defacto standard for decompressing archived files:

WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format. You may try WinRAR before buy, its trial version is available in downloads.

IZArc is a great alternative to WinRAR with a good user interface and supports an insane number of archive formats:

IZArc is the ultimate freeware archive utility supporting many archive formats like: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO.

With a modern easy-to-use interface, IZArc provides support for most compressed and encoded files, as well as access to many powerful features and tools.

7-Zip is the standard in the open source community:

7-Zip is open source software. Most of the source code is under the GNU LGPL license. The AES code is under a BSD LICENSE. The unRAR code is under a mixed license: GNU LGPL + unRAR restrictions.

You can use 7-Zip on any computer, including a computer in a commercial organization. You don’t need to register or pay for 7-Zip.

What program do you use to view your archived files?

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[tags]ISO, RAR[/tags]