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File formats of warez
A CD software release can contain up to 700 megabytes of data, which presented challenges when sending over the Internet, particularly in the late 1990s when broadband was unavailable to most home consumers. These challenges apply to an even greater extent for a single-layer DVD release, which can contain up to 4.7 GB of data. The warez scene made it standard practice to split releases up into many separate pieces, called disks, using several file compression formats: (historical TAR, LZH, ACE, UHA, ARJ), ZIP, and most commonly RAR. The original purpose of these "disks" was so that each .rar file could fit on a single 1.44 MB 3½ inch floppy disk. With the growing size of games, this is no longer feasible, as hundreds of disks would need to be used. The average size of disks released by groups today are 50 megabytes or 100 megabytes, however it is common to find disks up to 200 megabytes.
This method has many advantages over sending a single large file:
- The two-layer compression could sometimes achieve almost a tenfold improvement over the original DVD/CD image. The overall file size is cut down and lessens the transfer time and bandwidth required.
- If there is a problem during the file transfer and data was corrupted, it is only necessary to resend the few corrupted RAR files instead of resending the entire large file.
- This method also allows the possibility of downloading separate ‘disks’ from different sources, as an early attempt at modern segmented downloading.
Despite the fact that many modern ftp programs support segmented downloading, the compression via RAR, ZIP, and breaking up of files has not changed.
Releases of software titles often come in two forms. The full form is a full version of a game or application, generally released as CD or DVD-writable disk images (BIN or ISO files). A rip is a cut-down version of the title in which additions included on the legitimate DVD/CD (generally PDF manuals, help files, tutorials, and audio/video media) are omitted. In a game rip, generally all game video is removed, and the audio is compressed to MP3 or Vorbis, which must then be decoded to its original form before playing. These rips are very rare today, as most modern broadband connections can easily handle the full files, and the audio is usually already compressed by the original producer in some fashion.