WinRAR 6.1 drops Windows XP support, adds Windows 11 context menu support

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 25, 2022
Windows software

RARLAB, the developer of the archiving software WinRAR, released WinRAR 6.1 in January 2022. The new version of WinRAR changes the system requirements, as support for Microsoft's Windows XP operating system has been dropped in the version.

Many developers have ended support for Windows XP for their programs already. Programs such as Firefox, Chrome, Audacity, Sumatra or Dropbox do not support the operating system anymore.

The minimum required operating system for WinRAR 6.1 is Windows Vista, which is not supported by Microsoft anymore. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are supported until January 2023.

WinRAR 6.1 is the first version of the application that supports Windows 11's new context menus. Microsoft changed the File Explorer right-click context menu in its Windows 11 operating system. It added a newly designed context menu to File Explorer but kept the classic context menu as one of the options so that users can open it if required. Many third-party application entries are not displayed in the new context menu right now as companies need to publish updates to support it.

One of the limitations of the context menu is that programs are allowed a single top level entry or menu item only.  The new WinRAR context menu on Windows 11 lists all WinRAR commands when selected.

WinRAR users may change the functionality in the preferences. The option "Cascaded context menus" determines whether a submenu with all WinRAR commands is displayed. Disabling the option changes the context menu items to a single extraction or archiving command, which users may select under Context Menu Items.

Select Options > Settings > Integration to access the settings. You may toggle "Cascaded context menus" there, and find the "context menu items" button as well to select the items that you want to display. The configuration dialog is displayed after installation as well.

The new "Legacy context menus" option may be used by WinRAR users if menu items are missing from the legacy context menu of Windows 11 or in the context menus of third-party file managers. The setting is only available on Windows 11 devices.

WinRAR 6.1 introduces several other changes and improvements. The archiver supports the extraction of .zst and .zipx archives now.

The option to create RAR5 recovery records has a new maximum limit; it is now 1000%, which means that the recovery volumes size can be up to 10 times larger than the actual size of the RAR volumes. A recovery file size larger than 99% of the archive is only supported by WinRAR 6.1 or newer. The same is true if the number of recovery volumes is greater than the number of protected RAR volumes. Older versions of WinRAR can't be used in this case to repair archives. See my MultiPAR review for additional details.

The full changelog is available here. Downloads are available on the official download page.

Now You: do you use a file archiving software?

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5 based on 3 votes
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WinRAR 6.1
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File Management
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  1. hamburgler said on January 25, 2022 at 8:29 pm

    7zip & peazip

  2. Service Pack said on January 25, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    Free support of Windows 7 ended on January 2020 while ESU [paid support] will end on January 2023

    1. SergeyMusk said on January 26, 2022 at 1:38 am

      Windows 7 is the last version of Windows with common sense.

  3. Blobbo said on January 25, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    You need winaero tweaker to get rid of the built-in “extract all” option in the context menu on Windows 11.

  4. Anonymous said on January 25, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    Microsoft completely ruin the context menu in 11.

    1. John G. said on January 25, 2022 at 9:06 pm

      Even Microsoft Security (Defender) icons are not at new menu, that’s the level. :[

  5. Akina said on January 25, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    7-Zip. It’s got better compression. Not to mention being a libre software.

  6. Anonymous said on January 25, 2022 at 11:31 am

    Ah Windows XP my first love.
    I will never forget you.

    And the question; 7 Zip

    1. aaa said on January 25, 2022 at 12:34 pm

      Windows XP still would be used in offline production till the machines die or are upgraded.

  7. jake said on January 25, 2022 at 8:17 am

    I much prefer 7zip it works great and its open source.

    If its free and not open source mostly you are the product.

    1. Corky said on January 25, 2022 at 2:16 pm

      My biggest gripe with 7zip is how it sorts different types of achieves in separate groups. I always sort by type in file explorer and having .zip .rar. ace. lza, etc, etc all in different places is really annoying.

    2. Mike Williams said on January 25, 2022 at 1:10 pm

      WinRAR has never been free. Just because you can use it after the trial period expires doesn’t mean it is free.

      1. Free said on January 26, 2022 at 12:43 am

        @Mike Williams
        Yes it does. WinRAR is free. You can pay if you like, but it’s free. Doesn’t matter if there’s a trial period, since the trial period does absolutely nothing. It’s free.
        As a businessmodel, it’s dumb. As a free present, it’s nice. Everybody likes free stuff. Like free WinRAR that you don’t have to pay for. Which is free.

      2. Dumbledalf said on January 25, 2022 at 2:26 pm

        @Mike Williams

        Then what does it means if people can still use it without paying for it. That’s basically free.

      3. Anonymous said on January 26, 2022 at 12:50 am

        It’s not a popular term today, but it’s called nagware/shareware back in the day.

        Nowadays people are using .zip, in my work environment I have never seen any .rar file or people using Winrar in years.

  8. Chris Laarman said on January 25, 2022 at 7:58 am

    I have been a WinRAR user since my Fidonet host made me use the UnRAR utility, probably at version 1.0 (in 1995?). I did find WinRAR a great tool for archiving.

    However, I have been defaulting to iPads for nearly ten years now.

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