.RAR File Extension
File TypeWinRAR Compressed Archive
What is a RAR file?
A RAR file is an archive that contains one or more files compressed with RAR compression. It uses a higher compression ratio than typical ZIP compression and incorporates a proprietary compression algorithm that is now used by other compressors, including 7-Zip for its .7Z files. RAR archives are used to compress files to reduce their size for transportation or storage purposes.
The RAR format was introduced in the 1990s with the release of the WinRAR compression program. Since its introduction, the format has become a common compression format along with ZIP and 7Z. While RAR files are typically created by WinRAR, they may also be compressed and extracted with a variety of utilities.
RAR files are often used to store a collection of files or files that are large in size, such as a camera raw or video file. You may encounter a RAR file via email from a coworker or friend looking to share files or you may download content in a RAR archive from a website.
The RAR compressor can also create spanned, or multi-volume, archives, which are split across several compressed files. These files typically have file extensions from .r00 to .r99, or they may all have the standard ".RAR" extension.
NOTE: The name "RAR" stands for "Roshal ARchive," which comes from Eugene Roshal, the developer of the RAR compression algorithm.
How do I open a RAR file?
You can extract the files contained within a RAR archive using a variety of decompression utilities, including:
- RARLAB WinRAR (Windows)
- Corel WinZip (Windows)
- Corel WinZip Mac (Mac)
- B1 Free Archiver (cross-platform)
If your RAR archive is split into a multi-volume archive (e.g. you possess a .rar file, an .r01 file, an .r02 file, and so on), you can extract all the files included within the multi-volume archive by opening the archive's primary RAR file in a decompression utility. Note that, for this to work, all the files contained within the multi-volume archive must be stored in the same folder. Also, you must possess every file included in the archive (e.g. if you have an .r03 file and an .r05 file, but not an .r04 file, you may have trouble extracting your files).
Some RAR archives may be password-protected. To open these archives, you must enter the password used to create the archive when prompted.