After four months of intensive testing, WinRAR 4.00 finally gets to drop the "beta" tag, with its first full public release appearing today.
The new build benefits from significantly improved RAR decompression speeds, although this does depend on data type. Text unpacking is unchanged, but more complex file types will see decompression performance improve by up to 30%.
If you regularly work with password-protected archives then you might appreciate the password organiser, which helps you specify your frequently-used password for easier application later. And a range of smaller password-related tweaks include time-saving extras like the “use for all archives” option, which allows you to unpack several archives at once with the same password.
Elsewhere, a Windows 7-specific update sees the progress of your current archiving operation displayed in the WinRAR icon on the Windows taskbar.
New support for UDF 2.50 means you’ll now be able to unpack most Blu-ray ISO files.
And a host of Unicode support improvements will make WinRAR much more effective to a non-English audience, or just anyone working with non-English file names; these will be better displayed throughout the interface, and in the new HTML and Unicode text reports, while Explorer content menus should now always show the correct Unicode names for all WinRAR’s context menu items.
There is one piece of bad news, unfortunately (though maybe not: it depends on your point of view). WinRAR has finally dropped support for Windows 98, Me and NT, so if you’re running an ancient PC then you’ll have to make do with an earlier version of the program.
If you’re running Windows 2000 or later, though, should work just fine, so grab a copy of the new version and try it out for yourself.