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