XDA Basics: How to open and extract RAR files on your PC

XDA Basics: How to open and extract RAR files on your PC

At some point, everyone runs into a situation where they receive a file they’re not sure how to open. Windows doesn’t natively support all file formats, so sometimes, you need special software. The RAR format is one of the most common file types to have this problem, but we’re here to help. We’ll show you how to open RAR files on your Windows PC.

First off, let’s explain what RAR is. It’s a type of compressed archive file, similar to the ZIP files you can create with Windows. A RAR file can contain numerous other files, much like a folder, but those files are compressed to take up less space on a disk. This can make it easier to share folders with other people, since you only have to transfer a single file and it’s smaller in size overall.


XDA Basics: How to open and extract RAR files on your PC

RAR was developed in 1993 by Eugene Roshal, and it’s a proprietary file format. To open it, you’ll need a program called WinRAR, which was also developed by Roshal. This program can open RAR files as well as various kinds of archives, including ZIP and others. It’s technically paid software, but you can use it for free if you don’t mind seeing some messages about how you should pay for it.

How to open RAR files with WinRAR

There are various programs that support opening or extracting RAR files, but for this guide, we’ll stick with the original one. WinRAR was designed specifically to work with RAR files, and it’s still one of the best ways to open them. Here’s what you need to do:

And that’s all you need to know about how to open RAR files on your Windows PC. If you want to extract entire files without opening them, you can also right-click a RAR file in File Explorer, move your mouse over WinRAR in the context menu, and select one of the extraction options available. WinRAR already integrates with the new Windows 11 context menus, so it all works seamlessly.

You can also easily create RAR archives yourself with WinRAR. You can select the files or folders you want to compress, mouse over WinRAR and choose one of the options to add the files to an archive.

Looking for other kinds of help with your PC? We have guides on how to download YouTube videos, how to block websites, or even how to create fillable PDFs. Check them out if those are things you’re interested in.

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