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

To open RAR files, download and install 7-Zip and proceed to right-click on the RAR file you wish to open. Hover over 7-Zip and select Extract to (named folder). The files will be extracted from the RAR file and stored in the folder 7-Zip you selected.

There are many various types of compressed files, 7-Zip does an outstanding job of dealing with most of them.

Let’s begin by going through each step.

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.

Steps to open a RAR file

how to install 7-zip
Install 7 Zip
Finish 7 Zip Installation
  1. Download and install 7-Zip. It is free, lightweight and well coded. It will also install the extra contextual menu item that you need for quick and convenient extraction.
  2. After you have installed 7-Zip, open Windows File Explorer.
  3. Navigate to the RAR file you want to open.
  4. Right-click on the RAR file.
  5. Hover your mouse pointer over 7-Zip and select Extract to Folder Name in the slide out menu.
  6. The extracted contents of the RAR file will now be in the folder that was selected from the menu.
how to extract rar files using 7-zip
the new folder containing the rar file's extracted contents

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.

Do I need an application 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 for 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, RARs might be for you.