How do I play or open rar files?

Well .rar is an extension like many others including .zip which is the most commonly known extension. It is used to compress large files into smaller file sizes and to place a bunch of files into the same folder and compress the file size of the whole folder.

To open a rar file you need a extraction tool that can extract the .rar archives and place the original uncompressed files in a specified folder. The process is fairly simple and if you know what you are doing, can be done for free and quick.

There are plenty of paid programs out there that can effectively play or open a .rar file but why not stick to the free ones when you can. Below is a list of free versions that I have used and work rather well.

Free .rar Opening Programs


7-Zip - www.7-zip.org/

The main features of 7-Zip:

  • High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
  • Supported formats:
    • Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
    • Unpacking only: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, DEB, DMG, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MSI, NSIS, RAR, RPM, UDF, WIM, XAR and Z.
  • For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
  • Strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats
  • Self-extracting capability for 7z format
  • Integration with Windows Shell
  • Powerful File Manager
  • Powerful command line version
  • Plugin for FAR Manager
  • Localizations for 74 languages
J Zip - www.jZip.com

With Jzip you can:
  • Create Zip compatible files
  • Unzip any Zip file archives
  • Supports other archive formats like TAR, GZip and RAR
  • Improved compression ratio
  • Fast compression engine
WinRar - www.rarlab.com/download.htm

  • Using WinRAR puts you ahead of the crowd when it comes to compression by consistently making smaller archives than the competition, saving disk space and transmission costs.
  • WinRAR provides complete support for RAR and ZIP archives and is able to unpack CAB, ARJ, LZH, TAR, GZ, ACE, UUE, BZ2, JAR, ISO, 7Z, Z archives.
  • WinRAR offers a graphic interactive interface utilizing mouse and menus as well as the command line interface.
  • When you purchase WinRAR license you are buying a license to the complete technology, no need to purchase add-ons to create self-extracting files, it's all included. One price, one payment, once.
  • You also receive the benefit of a life-time use of the WinRAR archiver. No upgrade fee to pay. When a new release is made, simply download and install, your license is valid for life.
  • WinRAR is easier to use than many other archivers with the inclusion of a special "Wizard" mode which allows instant access to the basic archiving functions through a simple question and answer procedure. This avoids confusion in the early stages of use.
  • WinRAR offers you the benefit of industry strength archive encryption using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with a key of 128 bits.
  • WinRAR supports files and archives up to 8,589 billion gigabytes in size. The number of archived files is, for all practical purposes, unlimited.
  • WinRAR offers the ability to create selfextracting and multivolume archives.
  • Recovery record and recovery volumes allow to reconstruct even physically damaged archives.
  • WinRAR features are constantly being developed to keep WinRAR ahead of the pack.
Now next time you ask yourself "how do I play .rar files?" you will know the answer and be able to quickly extract those all important .rar files you need.

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