How to Open RAR files in Windows?

RAR (Roshal Archive) is an archive file format which allows you to compress files, span files, and recover data. It is one of the most popular compressing file formats after.ZIP which is the most common in Windows 10. Think of a RAR folder just like any other folder which may have many other folders inside it. However, unlike a normal folder, you need special software to open RAR files in order to extract out the contents.

RAR files
RAR files

There are several programs available for you to open RAR files and even make some. Some are paid and some are free but they all perform the same functions. We will list all the software below and you can choose which one is most suited to you.

Using 7-Zip:

7-Zip is a free open source software which allows you to open RAR and other compressing file formats. This is used by the majority of the users because it is free of cost and gets the work done easily. There are several other cool features as well such as compressing files with passwords etc.

Extracting using 7-ZIP on Windows 10
Extracting using 7-ZIP

You can navigate to the official site of 7-Zip and download the version according to your Windows type. After installing 7-Zip, restart your computer. Now right-click on the RAR file and you will see a context menu of 7-Zip. Hover over it and click Open archive.

Using WinRAR:

Another popular option for several users is using WinRAR for opening/decompressing RAR files. 7-Zip is mostly focused on creating .Zip files but WinRAR is more towards the RAR format. It is not free even though the ‘trial finished’ message never does anything so you can keep using it.

WinRAR utility on Windows 10
WinRAR utility

You can navigate to the official site of WinRAR and download the software according to your operating system and language. It has support for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. Since WinRAR is the default application for opening RAR files, it will probably take ownership of the file association. There will also be options in the context menu whenever you right-click on any compressed file.

Using PeaZip:

A new entry in compressing software business is PeaZip. This software is also free like 7-Zip and allows you open and extract RAR, TAR, and ZIP archives without any hassle. It has a high compression ratio and the full list of supported archive formats is over 180.

PeaZip application on Windows 10
PeaZip application

You can download the application directly from its official website and use it to open the RAR archives. The software is open source so you can use it for both private and professional use. The method of creating archives from simple formats is relatively easy too.


  • WinZip is (or was) the most popular compression utility used in Windows. It gets all the work done with minimal effort but it is paid.
  • B1 Free Archiver is also a new entry in the compressing world. Since it is new, it is free for all users.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.