"On the web it has always been a joke among certain groups the dubious existence of real people who have ever paid for WinRAR"My colleague Gabriela González commented two weeks ago when she addressed the news about the user who, in the middle of 2021, acquired an official WinRAR CD" because of the laughs. "
So imagine the situation when, after the article was published, I commented on Genbeta's internal forum that I myself was one of those few real people (either that, or I have successfully passed the Turing Test) that they had paid for a license to use WinRAR (Although not for a CD, yes, one has its limits).
So we decided that it would be interesting to offer a brief reflection on why would anyone pay for a program like this. But first, let's make the relevant presentations.
WinRAR, a history of the Windows ecosystem
WinRAR is a software, released in 1995, in the early days of 32-bit Windows, capable of compressing and decompressing multiple compressed file formats, such as ZIP (standard already at that time in Windows systems), TAR or Gzip (more typical of Unix) or its own proprietary format, the RAR.
But if there is something for which WinRAR stands out, it is for its perennial little warning window encouraging you to acquire a user license after the first 40 days of trial. Well, for that ... and for being able to throw you years watching that ad without you stop being able to use the program nor any of its functions.
In case you were wondering: the WinRAR business model it is sustainable because its main source of income lies in the corporate environmentBecause it is companies that can get into trouble with continuing to use software outside of its trial period, and those that can most frequently call on the developer's technical support.
In addition, putting few impediments to the home user to use their program without going through the box, helps keep it one of the most widely used compression programs on the market and it does not encourage the dissemination of 'pirated' copies, many times used as a method of disseminating malware.
I know there are alternatives, but they don't convince me
Returning to my particular case: I have been a regular WinRAR user, if I remember correctly, approximately since 2003 (Before that, it had been from the historic WinZIP). That is For almost two decades I have been clicking 'Close' in the "Please buy your WinRAR license" window. every time I opened or pretended to create a compressed file.
"But don't you know that there are alternatives?" And yes, I know: in total I have spent a year forcing myself to use 7Zip and PeaZip… and I didn't get used to doing it. Not because using any of them entailed any added complexity, it was just an 'I don't know what what what do I know' in its usability that did not quite convince me.
In my view, the WinRAR interface is the most successful of the three programs. And, above, it is the only one that offers internal file viewer, damaged file repair function and executable file creation option. Not that I use any of them on a daily basis, precisely, but it is nice to have them on hand.
That's why I bought a copy of WinRAR
So I decided to buy it at the end of 2018. I should have taken advantage of a promotion, because the invoice I have reflects a discount of almost 50%. In total, VAT included, it cost me 20 euros: just over one euro per year of use, if you think about it.
At this point, many of you will keep asking yourselves "Very well, all that you are telling me, okay, but why did you buy it when you could have it for FREE?". Well, I think it was a mix of thanks to its developers for all their years of service (seasoned with a few drops of nostalgia) ... and fed up.
Fed up, yes: I was tired of all the lost seconds of life in closing the 40-day notice. I increasingly appreciate the luxury of being able to save a few clicks when using my PC, and the notice of yore was starting to stress me a bit. I almost thought I was going to have to give up and go back to using 7Zip.
So when I saw that promotion I didn't think much about it. It went something like this:
And so, after a brief online shopping process, I became - without being very aware of it then - to be part of a group of people that is only talked about in whispers (and many memes) on Internet forums: WinRAR paying users.
There is a video that records how that moment (or a very similar one) was lived in the company offices. It's called 'The Sale of the Century':
P.S: If WinRAR's eternal 40-day trial was a cause for scorn, let me tell you that your 'single PC license' is installable on multiple PCs without major problem. LOL.