Windows 10 comes fully equipped to deal with files compressed using the ZIP archiving format. You can easily preview and extract the contents inside them using File Explorer. But occasionally, you may come across RAR archives, and that’s where things get complicated.
You must’ve wondered how files with RAR extensions differ from ZIP files. Though both are file archivers, RAR is a proprietary compression technology developed and maintained by RARLAB. Hence, Windows 10 has no native support for the format.
So if you download a RAR file, it’s impossible to open let alone extract its contents without a compatible third-party program. Below, you will find four free tools that can help you with that. Let’s get started.
WinRAR is a file compression and extraction tool developed by none other than RARLAB itself. In addition to the RAR format (which is kind of obvious), it also supports several other compression formats such as ZIP, 7Z, CAB, ISO, JAR, etc.
After downloading and installing WinRAR, you can extract RAR archives in many different ways. The easiest is to right-click a RAR file and select the Extract Here contextual menu option. That should extract the contents into the same location immediately. Alternatively, you can use the Extract Files option, which prompts you to pick a directory to extract the files.
Aside from that, WinRAR also allows you to preview and extract select files from RAR archives with the Open With WinRAR option. On the WinRAR window that shows up, you can navigate throughout the RAR archive and extract select files using the Extract To menu button. You can also open files in their default programs without extracting should you want—just double-click a file to do that.