Did you find a RAR file on your computer and wonder what program should open it? Maybe someone emailed you a RAR file but you're not sure how to use it. Perhaps you tried to open the RAR file but Windows told you that it could not open it.
Before you can open a RAR file (assuming it's even a file format that's intended to be viewed or edited), you'll need to determine what kind of file the .RAR file extension refers to.
Most file extensions are pronounced as their individual letters but RAR is usually treated as a word and pronounced as "rahr."
Other types of files may also use the RAR file extension. If you know of any additional file formats that use the .RAR extension, please let me know so I can update this information.
How To Open a RAR File:
The easiest way to open a RAR file is to double-click on it and let your PC decide which default application should open the file. If no program opens the RAR file then you probably don't have an application installed that can view and/or edit RAR files.
Warning: Take great care when opening executable file formats received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with. See my List of Executable File Extensions for a listing of file extensions to avoid and why.
RAR files can be opened with any popular compression/decompression program, the free 7-Zip tool being one example. Any of these types of programs will decompress (extract) the contents of a RAR file and some may also have the ability to create RAR compressed files.
If you know anything else useful about RAR files, please let me know so I can update this page.
Tip: Use Notepad or another text editor to open the RAR file. Many files are text-only files meaning no matter the file extension, a text editor may be able to properly display the file's contents. This may or may not be the case with RAR files but it's worth a try.
If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the RAR file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open RAR files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.
How To Convert a RAR File:
There are two main ways to attempt to convert a RAR file to another file type:
- Open the RAR file in its default program and choose to save the open file as another file format.
- Use a File Conversion Online Service or Software Program to convert the RAR file to another file format.
The first option involving opening the RAR file in its native program is preferable because it's both easier and will probably result in a more accurate file conversion. Of course if you don't have a program that opens RAR files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.
Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the RAR file extension) to one that your computer recognizes and expect the newly renamed file to be usable. An actual file format conversion using one of the methods described above must take place in most cases.
Still Having Problems Opening or Using a RAR File?
Let a community of computer support enthusiasts help out! Post in the PC Support Forum about what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the RAR file and we'll see what we can do to help.