Although you are more likely to encounter a ZIP file than an .RAR file in your daily activities, both are useful for compressing files. However, RAR has many advantages over ZIP files, offering everything from a higher level of compression to comprehensive error recovery. But it's not good if you do not know how to open RAR files. Fortunately, the process is simple.
Windows users can always purchase the premium WinRAR software to open files – the file archive originally built with the proprietary format – but we have some alternative favorites that we consider to be superior.
Step 1: Navigate to the 7-Zip download page and select download link corresponding to your desired version of the software. If you run the latest version of Windows 10, chances are you want the 64-bit version, but it's a good idea to confirm which version of Windows you are running first.
When selecting the installer, select the desired destination folder for the tool and click the button [Install] in the lower right corner of the window. Click the Finish button when you are done and start the program.
Step 2: Find the .RAR file you want to open in the main 7-Zip interface. To do so, review the resulting folder directly and double-click the .RAR file to access the contents of the file. Alternatively, right-click the file and select the option Open near the top of the resulting drop-down menu.
Step 3: Double-click the RAR file to launch it in the appropriate application, or if you want to save the file somewhere else on your computer, select the current file and click on button Copy below the navigation bar. Then select a save location for the file in the popup window and click the gray OK button at the bottom right.
Now that your files are open, 7Zip can help you protect them as well.
Other Windows Options
Who Does not Like Having Options? While 7-Zip is still an excellent tool for opening RAR files, there are other solutions for those who want to streamline the process. RAR Opener, a free download available on the Microsoft Store, is the perfect example. The app is a very basic, plug-in-like tool with some big blue buttons for packing and unpacking RAR files. It is also directly integrated with Windows 10 and is a good choice if you need to handle RAR, ZIP, TAR, LZH and other file formats.
MacOS: The Unarchiver
Installing files on MacOS is an important feature of the operating system, but you must be able to unpack them as well. An oldie but a candy, Unarchiver easily trumps the embedded archive package that comes with MacOS – aka the appropriate title "File Tools". The program supports a larger number of file formats and offers additional functionality that is more akin to 7-Zip than other available offers on the web. Although Unarchiver lacks the ability to create RAR files, you can still open RAR files in a few steps.
Step 1: Navigate to the Unarchiver download page and click the option Download at the center of the page or switch to the App Store to download the application. Afterwards, extract the file and start the program.
Step 2: When you open, make sure the box next to RAR Archive is selected – along with other archive types you want to open with Unarchiver – and click the tab Extraction located at the top of the application window. Then select your save location for the resulting file from the drop-down menu at the top of the window, check the RAR file you want to open and select Unarchiver from the drop-down menu next to Open with options.
Step 3: The tool automatically creates and saves a file with the same name as the .RAR file in the previously specified location. Then double-click the .RAR file to launch it in the appropriate application.
MacOS Options: iZip
If you are looking for an option, try iZip instead. It's a Mac-focused archive manager that makes it particularly easy to secure files and share your results without worrying about theft. This could be a better choice for professional RAR management.