How to Open a RAR File on Windows 10

So you have come across a RAR file and you need what’s inside. This is how to open a RAR file on Windows 10, the easy way.

There are many various types of compressed files, one program does an outstanding job of dealing with most of them.

Let’s begin by going through each step.

Steps to open a RAR file

  1. Download and install 7-Zip. It is free, lightweight and well coded. It will also install the extra contextual menu item.
  2. Open Windows File Explorer.
  3. Use the left pane of File Explorer to navigate to the file’s drive and location.
  4. Hover your mouse pointer over the file and press the right mouse button.
  5. Move your mouse pointer over the item in the contextual menu called ‘7 Zip’ and then ‘Extract to ‘Folder Name’.
  6. Press the left mouse button to extract the files to a new subfolder.
extract rar to folder
newly extracted folder

This way, you have a copy of all the extracted files in a new folder, instead of working with the files directly in the compressed state.

What is a RAR file?

It’s a type of compression for files that is not an open format. It was developed by a Russian software engineer by the name of Eugene Roshal. (Roshal Archive). It was released in March 1993.

Do I need an application installed in order to use RAR files?

Yes, third-party software is needed to work with them.

Unfortunately, this type of compression isn’t free. There is no native support within Windows to handle them.

What other software is recommended to open RAR files?

Generally, there is only one other piece of software we will recommend. And that is WinRAR.

The only downside is that it’s not free.

However, if you need to create them, then this would be the program of choice.

Note: 7-Zip is not able to create RAR archives.

What are the advantages of using RAR files?

Using RAR compression allows or slightly better compression ratios compared to Zip files. There are other features like being able to store file attributes in the NTFS file system.


With so many compression types out there, your safest format will be a Zip file. However, RAR files are only about 4 years younger than Zip files.

If you need every bit of critical space on the media you are storing your compressed file on, RAR’s might be for you.