Posted by: glasskeys | 12/05/2011

How to use RAR to copy large files to an iPad or iPhone using only a cell data connection. (Windows users)

One of the most frustrating experiences in the world of tablet and mobile computing are the brick walls erected by cell carriers imposing “ad-hoc” limitations on the maximum file sizes permitted for download. This tutorial will not only show you how to bypass these limitations regardless of file size, but also on how to get around restrictions on maximum file sizes imposed by cloud storage providers.

This tutorial has been made with Windows users in mind, as I usually present Mac specific information first, I decided to mix it up a bit. Directions from a Mac perspective will be presented in the near future, and Linux users (hopefully Slackware linux) most likely will be able to figure out what to do once presented this page.

Keeping in mind that the directions in this tutorial are specific to Windows, as with every large tutorial on Glasskeys, there are a few prerequisite steps that needed taken before you “dive right in”:

  • An account with a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox or SugarSync will be needed.
  • Install either the Dropbox for Windows application, or the SugarSync for Windows client. Both are free and useful on Windows.
  • For your iPad or iPhone you must have the GoodReader app installed.
  • The cloud service selected above must be “visible” to GoodReader, so if needed you may wish to check out the Dropbox instructions, or the SugarSync instructions on how to do this.

The final prerequisite oddly enough is where this tutorial actually begins – determining if your Windows system is of the 32-bit or 64-bit variety, and using this helpful bit of info to select the appropriate RAR client to match. So click the Start button, Settings, then – you guessed it – Control Panel:

Click the System option found in Control Panel:

Under the System grouping, you will see System type, which kindly informs us if our system is a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system, as indicated in the red underlined portion of the screen shot:

Now that we have come to terms with our Windows system type, you may close the Control Panel windows, and open your browser to pull the appropriate client from the Rarlab download page. Note that I clicked on the 64-bit link which matches my system type:

Once the download is finished, right-click and select the Run as administrator option in the shortcut menu:

After installation, open WinRar, with a click on the Start button and a brave attempt to find it in the horrendous menu:

For purposes of demonstration, I have on my system a video file, appropriately named video_file.avi, residing in a folder called rarspot on my C:\ drive:

Return once again to the WinRAR app, and select the location of your huge file. I saved time and simply entered C:\rarspot in the box, instead of using the dropdown feature. The app will then show the contents of the directory selected. Note the video_file.avi file in the bottom directory listing:

Now the fun begins, select your uber-file in the directory list, and on the menu bar click Commands, and Add files to archive option. This tells WinRAR we will be creating RAR files, based on the large file selected. Each file created will be smaller than the maximum file size limit imposed by your mobile carrier, cloud storage provider, or both.

This collection of smaller, legal, and “download friendly” sized files can then be placed on “cloud-based” file storage, then downloaded at your leisure one at a time to your iPad or iPhone. At the point when all of the files have been downloaded to your iOS device, they can be recombined and restored back to the original full-sized file — completely bypassing the arbitrary size limit imposed by your mobile carrier, the same one that is too cheap & greedy to pay for proper mobile data infrastructure in the first place.

The Archive name and parameters dialog is now shown, change all settings to match the ones shown below on the General tab, doubly-ensuring to change the Archive format to RAR, Compression method to Store, and typing 16777216 (which equals 16 MB) into the Split to volumes, bytes box. When finished changing options, click the Files tab:

Be sure to enter the name of your “large file” in the Files to store without compression text box, and change the File paths setting to Do not store paths. Click the OK button when done with changes on the Files tab.

WinRAR now begins generating the RAR files:

The directory section refreshes, listing the new RAR files. Do not be concerned if the last file is a smaller size than the others. This is normal and due to the fact that it is very rare for the input file to be a perfect multiple of 16MB:

I now am going to create a folder on Dropbox specifically to hold this collection of RAR files. I start by clicking the Dropbox icon in the taskbar tray, and selecting the Open Dropbox folder menu item:

Windows Explorer will open to the Dropbox folder, right-click and select New, and Folder like the example screen shot, or you can simply click the New Folder button near the top of the folder if using Windows 7:

I chose to rename this folder rarfiles:

Return to the original C:\rarspot folder, ensuring to select only the RAR files, with a quick right-click to copy them…

…then paste them in the new Dropbox folder we just renamed to rarfiles:

Depending on your bandwidth speed, and other factors, Dropbox will need some time to copy all of the RAR files to their new home. So in other words, do not paste the files into the Dropbox rarfiles folder, immediately shut down your Windows box, and expect the files to all be found on Dropbox. The quickest way to ensure that they have all been transferred is to click the Dropbox system tray icon and look for the All files up to date caption. You can also tell by looking at the rarfiles folder icon in Explorer, as there will be a green tick mark next to it when Dropbox has fully synced all the contents:

At this point, we now turn to our iPad or iPhone, and open GoodReader:

Tap the Connect to Servers category at right, then select your Dropbox account, the rarfiles folder, and tap the Download button:

I selected the My Documents folder for the download location, then tapped the Download folder here button:

GoodReader immediately begins copying the entire folder and displays the progress:

It took around 8 to 10 minutes to copy the entire folder:

A new rarfiles folder has been copied, with 22 files residing in the folder. Tap the rarfiles folder…

…then the video_file.part01.rar file. When presented with the RAR archive dialog, tap the Unrar button:

GoodReader starts unarchiving:

When done archiving, the video_file.avi has been created and is visible in the file list. Tap the Manage Files category on the right side of the GoodReader screen:

Tap all of the RAR files in the file list at left:

When done selecting all the RAR files, tap the Delete button:

Tap a Delete button once more for confirmation:

Whilst still in Manage Files mode, select the remaining file in the file list, then tap the Open In… button:

Because .AVI files are video, I chose the Azul video player:

I am now watching the full sized video, split with WinRAR, downloaded from Dropbox via a 3G data connection, and recombined back into the original video file with GoodReader on the iPad. The final two screen shots illustrate how to download each RAR file individually. Please enjoy and take advantage of all of the flexibility that RAR files provide!

Downloading a single RAR file

Instead of selecting the entire folder to download, I opened the folder, then selected one file, then tapped the Download file here button.

For purposes of illustration, I downloaded the single RAR file to the My Documents folder:

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  1. this winrar tutorial is very usefull for me, thank you very much

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