Windows 11 adds support for WinRAR. Why now and what will happen next?
In fairness, it should be noted that Microsoft already has experience in adding support for archives to their operating systems. For example, the Windows operating system has been working with the same ZIP format since 1998. But support for archives cannot be called complete, and the OS worked with RAR only if additional software was installed.
How Windows developers solve the problem
Simple enough – the company will add support for archives using the libarchive project, which is distributed open source. By the way, in this library not once and not two discovered vulnerabilities. But most of them are dangerous for Linux systems, not for Windows.
But, unfortunately, the library is not a panacea. It does not provide full native support for all popular archive formats. So, for example, there are no problems with ZIP, TAR or 7-Zip. The libarchive library allows you to extract files and compress them. With WinRAR, things are somewhat more complicated. Unpacking will work, but packing will not. The description of libarchive says support for RAR and RAR 5.0 “with some restrictions due to the proprietary status of RAR”. All this is because WinRAR is proprietary software with copyrights that Microsoft has no desire to violate. In addition to RAR, some other formats are not fully supported.
By the way, WinRAR, according to the developers, has a fairly large audience, which exceeds 500 million people. True, most of them use a pirated version of the program. This software is bought mainly by organizations. But if users, both ordinary and corporate, do not need to pack something in RAR, then, most likely, many will refuse to buy software. Now a lifetime license for WinRAR is about 2000 rubles. Now the archiver has reached version 6.1, it works with Vista, Windows 7 and later OS versions. By the way, the developers of the archiver refused to support Windows XP only recently.
But back to Windows and libarchive. In total, it is now planned to add support for 16 formats, but for most of them there are restrictions.
At the same time, only Windows 11 will receive support for working with archives, and, probably, Windows 12. Previous versions of the OS will not receive new functions. At the same time, the situation is relevant not only for Windows 8 and earlier versions, but also for Windows 10. It will receive updates until the fall of 2025, but most of these updates are not aimed at adding new features, but at solving old problems.
When will archive support be available?
According to company representatives – in the coming weeks. But initially it will not be available to everyone, but only to beta testers – Windows Insider members. The fact is that at the initial stage, Microsoft integrates the new feature only into the test assembly of its system.
As for the stable version, it is most likely that it will not receive archive support soon – probably in the fall of 2023. On the other hand, there is another possibility. It is likely that Microsoft will release an additional update specifically designed to implement the operation of the OS with archives.
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