Bit of a long discussion here, with a new conclusion for me. (You could just jump to that, rather than read the whole thing - the "thing" being my thinking.)
First of all, thanks for the Wikipedia links to:Comparison of file managersComparison of file archivers
These made for some interesting study.
Thanks also because you have got me thinking about changing the way I do things. (Always nice when that happens.)
"When given the choice between changing one's mind or proving one's point of view, most people get busy on the proof." (JK Galbraith)
When you say:
"...Winrar should better be better, since it is not free."
- I am not necessarily sure that is a true statement, nor am I sure that RAR is "better" than IZarc anyway. If it were a true statement, then (say) FARR would be inferior to some alternative and paid-for product, and I can't see that that is currently proven to be the case. Whether a tool is "better"
really all depends on what you want the tool for in the first place - what are the requirements? I realise now that my requirements for archiving are changing, or have been changed, due primarily to changes in disk technologies. This is why I am becoming interested in comparing alternative archiving proggies.This is how I use archiving:
I have a directory called "Clients", where I build, keep and later archive all my client project/assignment-related folders. A project folder can have 'n' sub-folders, some of which may already have been ZIPped or RAR'd. As a project finishes, I tidy up the project folder - e.g., weeding out any junk or duplication - and then copy the whole thing - i.e., including any already compressed sub-folders - into a compressed archive file (ZIP or RAR).The reasons I archive in this way are:
(a) to "freeze" the folder and protect it from easy change.
(b) to conserve disk space.
(c) to speed up the disk backup process (reduced discrete file-handling).My requirements are:
(a) to ensure that I can continue to access and browse archived material immediately and with ease (WinRAR does this.)
(b) to ensure that the archive contents can be searched and indexed by Google Desktop. (GD can search ZIP and RAR archives.)
(c) to use the systems/technology as efficiently and effectively as possible.Discussion:
After testing the archive, I delete the original source (uncompressed) folder.
I was biased towards RAR as it generally has a greater overall compression ratio (conserves more disk space) and it seems to have less (no) errors compared to ZIP, but a major disadvantage of RAR is that the native ZIP functionality of the OS cannot of course handle RAR format files in the generic file manager, so a RAR archiving and (preferably) browsing tool is a necessary prerequisite once you have created a RAR archive.
I was biased towards WinRAR because it meets the preference for a tool with directory browsing capability and RAR compression and minimal errors rather well.
The weight of my bias towards RAR has diminished now though, as disks have become much larger and cheaper ($ per GB), and ZIP seems no longer error-prone, so I tend to use ZIP now, when creating a new archive, in preference to RAR. ZIP is thus becoming more the standard for me.
In the "Clients" directory, there are currently 48 project folders:
- 3 uncompressed (open) project folders.
- 15 RAR archives
- 30 ZIP archives
In working on current projects, I may need to refer to similar work done for the same or a different client, and that is when I browse through the compressed archives. Though WinRAR can be a bit confusing in the way it does this, it is nevertheless where WinRAR can come in very handy. There is certainly no file manager that can do quite the same job quite so easily. I say this from the experience of having tried several file managers out, over the years, settling for what is arguably the "best" (certainly functionally it is the most powerful) Windows file manager on the planet - xplorer².
The largest compressed archive is a ZIP file of 180Mb, containing many documents, the majority of which are compressed between approx. 60% to 80%.
My old version of WinRAR is able to browse the whole "Clients" directory, whereas IZarc cannot (QED), but my old WinRAR's technology and features are probably not as up-to-date, nor as many, nor as efficient as the current IZarc's.Conclusion:
If I now did away with RAR altogether, converting all RAR files to ZIP, then I could consider ditching WinRAR and moving to using (say) IZarc - which, as I said earlier:
"...works as promised, and very well too."