Typically, proper pirated releases are always compressed; and therefore require an external program to open and extract the files. Here are some tips for extracting, [fixing](index.html#par “Using PAR files to fix damaged RAR archives”), opening [multiple ZIP](index.html#multi-zip “How to open multiple ZIP files at the same time”)/RAR files and [renaming groups](index.html#rename “How to rename groups of files at the same time (batch editing)”) of files at the same time.
Opening Compressed files
Many files sent over the Internet are compressed as *.ZIP or *.RAR files. This is done for two reasons: One; A ZIP/RAR file essentially has a “shell” around it to protect it from data corruption during transmission. Two; It makes the package smaller, or breaks a larger package (like a movie) into multi-parts to be reconstructed by the downloader. The second reason is particularly important to those popular websites that offer [free file hosting](../../../12/20/free-file-hosting-websites/ “Article - Free File Hosting”), where the allowable file size is usually limited to somewhere between 100MB and 500MB - far too small to support a regular extracted DVD ‘ripped’ movie.
We endorse WinRAR because we can open almost every type of extension with it, plus it handles multi-part well. WinRAR is second to none - download it here. However; there are also freeware alternatives that will do the same thing.
If you opt to install WinRAR, you will be prompted to tell WinRAR which programs you’d like it to open. Select the default settings. You can always come back to these settings under the menu OPTIONS > SETTINGS > ‘Integration’ tab - (see Fig.5 - bottom).
Working with WinRAR
Many large files are normally split into multi-part volumes for easier transfer along P2P networks. This is certainly the case for movies, games and applications throughout the BitTorrent community, Usenet and IRC. This collection of numerical files is called a “RAR set” and the data inside is called archived data or archived files. To open multiple files with WinRAR, simply open the *.RAR file as seen in Fig.1 below and this will launch the ‘Extraction’ window (Fig.3). This is generally the most common set of multiple files. But there is sometimes an uncommon exception, see Fig.2 below. To open this series without a header file, you’ll need to open the first numerical file with WinRAR. So highlight the first one (in this case “example.001″) and right-click it and select “Open” or “Open With…” now choose ‘Select the program from a list’ and select “WinRAR archiver” from the list of installed programs. If these were valid files (that WinRAR is capable of extracting) then this should now launch the WinRAR ‘Extraction’ window (Fig.3).
NOTE: If one (or more) files are missing, incomplete or corrupt in a series of numerical *.RAR files, an error message will ensue and the entire extraction process will be halted. If you find the missing piece and place it in the folder with the rest (or replace a damaged one) then you’ll be able to extract successfully, now that the archive is complete. If you cannot find the replacement file(s), essentially all the files become useless, but this rarely happens - aside from Usenet. (however, there is one exception to this - PAR files that are included in the folder can repair damaged or missing RAR files - see below).
With WinRAR, you do not need to open each separate file of a RAR set. WinRAR will piece together all the parts of the archive and show you the data that all of them contain collectively. (Technically you do not even need to open just the *.RAR file, you can open ANY of those files and the same contents will be displayed). However, if the multiple files are in ZIP format, each must be extracted one by one*.
*Multiple ZIP files are most common in smaller software releases (not movies, music files, etc) and are usually labeled alphabetically - mirc638a.zip, mirc638b.zip. These need to be extracted one by one into the same folder (or, the use of a ‘batch’ file extracting program is effective as well). Also note that these ZIP files often also contain RAR files - which will need to be extracted after doing all the ZIPs.
Once the RAR file is open, the contents are displayed within WinRAR (see Fig.3 - below-left). In the example demonstrated, this window contains the contents of ALL 5 files in the same window (shown pieced together), ready to be extracted. Click the “Extract To” button and a new window pops open (see Fig.4 - below-right).
Click “OK” to extract all the files to the default path (recommended) and this should now create a new folder (with the extracted files in it) located where the source RAR files are. (Or, if you are more knowledgeable about directory paths you can browse the right pane window to extract to an exact location). After all files are extracted, it is now safe to delete all the *.RAR, .r00, .r01 etc. files if desired.
WinRAR supports “drag and drop” so if you prefer, highlight all the files (and folders) in the WinRAR window and drag them to your desired destination. The “Extract To” method is recommended because it extracts ALL the files and preserves the integrity of the original folder structure (paths), and it creates a new folder in the same directory as the source *.RAR files.
Extraction time varies on size of archive and how many files are in it. Typically it takes about 1-2 minutes on a Pentium 4 -1500 to extract one CD file of 700Mb and upwards of 8 minutes to extract a Full DVD worth of data (4.35GB). This process is considerably faster on a newer computer system. With an Intel Core 2 Duo, it takes about 40 seconds and 3 minutes, respectively.
You can add/remove file types that you want WinRAR to open. In WinRAR, go to OPTIONS > SETTINGS > ‘Integration’ tab (Fig.5 - below).
The PAR and PAR2 concept was designed for Usenet users who want to repair missing or damaged *.RAR files in the collection of posts. The most common program associated with PAR files is QuickPar. As exclusive as PAR files are to the newsgroups, they’ve begun to trickle into BitTorrent as well, especially with large torrents such as Blu-Ray and HD-DVD releases. Here’s an example of where they’re seen on BitTorrent:
Trying to open ALL of your ZIP files at the same time? Try UnzipThemAll from Snapfiles - it’s freeware! You’ll be able to extract all of the ZIPs to the same folder. UnzipThemAll supports ZIP, RAR and ACE formats. Additional features include support for password protected files, favorite folders, deletion of archives after unzipping and more.
Looking to rename a bunch of files at the same time? Try Bulk Rename from Snapfiles - it’s freeware! Bulk Rename Utility allows you to easily rename multiple files and directories, based upon flexible criteria. For example, if you have a whole load of files prefixed with “2006″, you can quickly rename all these to “2007″. Similarly, if you have lots of “html” files then you can quickly rename them all to “htm” or other. In addition, you can also add incrementing numbers to the file name, add a suffix or prefix, change case, replace characters
The ‘replacing characters’ feature is particularly handy when downloading music by the album (from proper releases). Often in the name of the song is a year and release group 3-character name, such as XXL or KLT - and thankfully they’re usually all the same for the entire album of tracks. These are very annoying when playing on an portable music player as these letters all show up in the titles of the tracks. And who wants to edit each one by hand? You’ll be able to replace (remove) those characters easily.
Another program that does a similar job is NameFix. Aimed at cleaning up media files downloaded from P2P networks, it has many features to automate the normally tedious job of filename tidying.