WinRAR 5.50 was released on August 14, 2017. The new version comes with important changes that users of the application need to be aware of.
Probably the two biggest changes of WinRAR 5.50 are that the program uses the RAR 5.0 archive format by default when it comes to the creation of archives, and the new master password option to protect saved password records by using encryption.
The RAR 5 archive format was introduced in WinRAR 5.0 which the company released back in 2013 to the public. It was not set as the default back in 2013, and users of the program had to change the program’s configuration to make it the default.
This changes with the release of WinRAR 5.50. RAR 5 is the default format of WinRAR 5.50 and newer versions of the program. Most third-party programs that can extract archives support the RAR 5.0 format, and this is likely the reason why it has been made the default in WinRAR 5.50.
WinRAR users who prefer the RAR4 format, for instance for compatibility reasons, can make it the default format again in the following way:
- Open WinRAR on the system.
- Select Options > Settings from the menu.
- Switch to the Compression tab.
- Select Create default…
- Select RAR4 under General to make it the default. You may make ZIP the default as well.
WinRAR 5.50 Master Password
The second new feature of WinRAR 5.50 is the option to set a master password.
- Select Options > Settings in WinRAR.
- Switch to the Compression tab.
- Select Create default..
- Select Set password.
- Open Organize passwords.
- Select Set master password when the organize passwords window opens.
- You are asked to enter and confirm a password. This password protects saved password records from unauthorized access.
Passwords stored in the password organizer of WinRAR 5.50 are not readable in older versions because of a new data format that is used.
A prompt to set the master password is displayed when you are storing a password in a compression profile.
WinRAR 5.50 other changes
Here is a short list of other changes that WinRAR 5.50 comes with:
- Support for the .lz archive format.
- LZ and ZIPX extensions added to integration list under Settings > Integration.
- WinRAR uses AES-256 encryption to encrypt ZIP archives. This may cause incompatibility with older unzip software, and if you want to avoid this, you may enable ZIP legacy compression in the password dialog to avoid this.
- WinRAR supports PAX headers and uses them when extracting TAR archives.
- High Precision Modification Time option is replaced by High Precision Time Format.
- Settings > General has a new “full paths in title bar” option.
- Settings > Compression has a new “file types to open as archives first” option to define what a double-click / Enter-key initiates on non-archive extensions and archive content.
- File menu has a new “copy full names to clipboard” option.
- WinRAR context menu has been optimized.
- WinRAR prompts to re-enter a password if the first entered password to extract an archive is invalid (it exited before).
- Plenty of bug fixes.
You find the full list of changes in WinRAR 5.50 on the official website. There you find downloads for all supported operating systems.
Now You: Which file extraction and archiving software do you use?
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