RAR file icon

RAR File Extension

WinRAR Compressed Archive

What is RAR file?

Files with the .RAR extension contain data archives compressed with a proprietary algorithm. This format was developed in its initial version in the year 1993, by a Russian programmer – Eugene Roshal, and currently it is being developed along with the WinRAR software.

It provides a high level compression and supports many additional functionalities, such as:

  • Retrieving data after an error, using the REV backup files,
  • Dividing large archives into several smaller ones – using a complex extension,
  • AES encryption of an archive,
  • CRC32 checksums and 256-bit BLAKE2 hash files.

Restrictions regarding RAR archives

RAR archives are created only with the graphic interface WinRAR software for Microsoft Windows system, and in a RAR console program in other platforms. There are also applications which have an agreement of the owner of the rights toward the proprietary format. It is different in case of unpacking the files – the source code is available for use, but with a restriction regarding back-engineering its source code. Not all versions of RAR format are backward compatible, therefore, sometimes the program will not be able to unpack some of the files with this extension.

Programs which support RAR file extension

The following list contains programs grouped by 3 operating systems that support RAR files. Files with RAR suffix can be copied to any mobile device or system platform, but it may not be possible to open them properly on target system.

Updated: 07/08/2019

How to open file with RAR extension?

Being unable to open files with RAR extension can be have various origins. What is important, all common issues related to files with RAR extension can be resolved by the users themselves. The process is quick and doesn’t involve an IT expert. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Get the WinRAR

Install software to open RAR file The main and most frequent cause precluding users form opening RAR files is that no program that can handle RAR files is installed on user’s system. This issue can be addressed by downloading and installing WinRAR or different compatible program, such as WinZip, 7-Zip, StuffIt Deluxe. Above you will find a complete listing of programs that support RAR files, classified according to system platforms for which they are available. If you want to download WinRAR installer in the most secured manner, we suggest you visit win.rar GmbH website and download from their official repositories.

Step 2. Verify the you have the latest version of WinRAR

Update software that support file extension RARYou still cannot access RAR files although WinRAR is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. Sometimes software developers introduce new formats in place of that already supports along with newer versions of their applications. The reason that WinRAR cannot handle files with RAR may be that the software is outdated. The most recent version of WinRAR is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.

Step 3. Associate WinRAR Compressed Archive files with WinRAR

After installing WinRAR (the most recent version) make sure that it is set as the default application to open RAR files. The next step should pose no problems. The procedure is straightforward and largely system-independent

Associate software with RAR file on Windows

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Clicking the RAR with right mouse button will bring a menu from which you should select the Open with option
  • Click Choose another app and then select More apps option
  • The last step is to select Look for another app on this PC option supply the directory path to the folder where WinRAR is installed. Now all that is left is to confirm your choice by selecting Always use this app to open RAR files and clicking OK.
Associate software with RAR file on Mac

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • Right-click the RAR file and select Information
  • Open the Open with section by clicking its name
  • Select the appropriate software and save your settings by clicking Change all
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with RAR extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Ensure that the RAR file is complete and free of errors

Should the problem still occur after following steps 1-3, check if the RAR file is valid. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.

Check RAR file for viruses
1. The RAR may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

If the file is infected, the malware that resides in the RAR file hinders attempts to open it. It is advised to scan the system for viruses and malware as soon as possible or use an online antivirus scanner. If the RAR file is indeed infected follow the instructions below.

2. Verify that the RAR file’s structure is intact

If the RAR file was sent to you by someone else, ask this person to resend the file to you. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. If the RAR file has been downloaded from the internet only partially, try to redownload it.

3. Verify whether your account has administrative rights

Sometimes in order to access files user need to have administrative privileges. Log in using an administrative account and see If this solves the problem.

4. Make sure that the system has sufficient resources to run WinRAR

If the systems has insufficient resources to open RAR files, try closing all currently running applications and try again.

5. Verify that your operating system and drivers are up to date

Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with WinRAR Compressed Archive file. It may be the case that the RAR files work properly with updated software that addresses some system bugs.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the RAR file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on RAR file.

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