Auto-installing Your WinRAR Key

This blog post describes a very quick and easy way to use my WinRAR registration Key installer program Install Key.rar which is designed to work with any RARreg.xxx key file you have received from your WinRAR distributor. I have made it available for download from the Members Download page as a service for all WinRAR registered users.

You’re probably asking why can’t it be emailed with your registration key? The answer is that the majority of email providers automatically detect such executable attachments as they consider them to be possible malware! Sure, you may be able to find it in your trash, spam or antivirus folders, but most likely you would find that the attachment been been deleted.

Of course there are more complex ways to get around this email limitation, but my objective here is to Keep It Simple method for you, as a WinRAR user.

Before you start you will need 3 items:

First you need to download and install the latest WinRAR version to make sure you are up to date. Go to: Download WinRAR and download the correct version for your computers’ processor type (64-bit or 32-bit), before you install your license on any version of Windows. If WinRAR has not been installed you will see an error message when you try to start the Install program.

The second item is the RARreg file you were emailed (or provided on a disk) when you purchased it. This file needs to be saved or copied to your Desktop folder. Its full name can have any suffix (.rar, .key, .xyz, or even no suffix)! If you do not have your own WinRAR registration key you can purchase it here: www.WinRAR.co.nz for just US$29.00 for a home  (non-commercial) license. Multiple business licences are also available there

The third item, the Install Key.rar program is downloadable from here: Install Key.rar. That won’t take long as the file is just 1108 bytes. Save it to your Desktop so that it is in the same folder as your RARreg.rar License file you received by email.

The auto-install process:

To briefly summarize this process, all we need to do is to double click on your Install Key.rar icon to extract and start the install process. Then a couple of seconds later, do a simple check that your registration key has been successfully installed.

Step by step details

Use Win + e to select your Desktop and double click on your Install Key.rar icon. It should look like this:

Install Key.rar

The WinRAR Key installer screen should then appear like this,

Congratulations, your WinRAR is now registered! Just press any key to close this install window.

Tip: WinRAR will then open so that you can check that your WinRAR program has been properly registered, so skip to the Registration Check details below.

Error Messages

If, instead of the above, you see the Confirm file replace window like this…

This means that a WinRAR registration Key has already been installed on that computer.

  • If both files have the same size & date they could be the same key, so click the X at the top to close, It will then proceed to the blue ” now installed!” as above, as there already is a registration key there. So go to the Registration Check section below.
  • Or click Yes to replace the existing Key file, and it will show the blue “now installed!” screen, after updating the existing key. So go to the Registration Check section below.
  • Or click No to cancel the installation and leave the existing Key file there. You can then confirm that key by is yours by going to the Registration Check section below

If you see this “No archives found” message,

It means that your  RARreg.rar file, is not in the Desktop folder for the installer program to find, so check that before trying again.

Tip: The Install program also tests to make sure that the WinRAR program has been properly installed. This could occur with multi license installations when the registration file has been copied to a computer before WinRAR was installed. In this case, a red error message will appear, advising that WinRAR must be downloaded and installed.

Registration Check

To check your registration has been successfully installed in Windows, open WinRAR (Start, All Programs, WinRAR).  Now click on the Help menu, and then on “About WinRAR…” at the bottom of this drop-down window.

It should now show ‘Registered to’, followed by your own Registration Key name.

Where is my registration key located?

At this point, you may be wondering, where was your registration file installed for it to work? The answer depends on which Windows version you are using.

  • From Windows Vista onwards, WinRAR follows the Microsoft recommendation that all program data be installed in your %APPDATA%\WinRAR folder, a hidden system folder, rather than in one of the Program Files folders (see XP below) as you cannot simply drag & drop such files into these folders as easily as was the case for previous operating systems. The reason for this is that later Windows operating systems have had to become much more security conscious, due to malware infestation methods that were unknown when XP was first released.
  • For Windows XP, your registration key is just installed in your c:\Program Files\WinRAR folder as it does not have that hidden system folder

Important Tip:

As your key is unique to you, right NOW is the very best time to save a backup copy of RARreg.rar. You do this by copying it to a secure place, such as to the cloud or to an external backup drive. This is so that you can reinstall it should disaster strike your computer and you lose access to your hard drive.

If you do ever require a replacement copy, then you will need to request it from the WinRAR authorized site where you purchased it. For full details see my post, Lost WinRAR Registration Key!