RAR: A Complete Guide

Archive files collect multiple data into a single file for easier portability and storage. They not only store multiple files as one but keeps the relationship between them as it was initially— with the benefits of having to deal with only a single file.

According to online-convert.com, approximately 250 archive file formats are widely used. Among the most popular ones is RAR.


The RAR file format is short for Roshal Archive Compressed file, created by Eugene Roshal in 1993. It is a proprietary archive file format that supports data compression, error recovery, and file spanning.

Comparison With ZIP

RAR has always been compared with another archive file format known as ZIP. Both file formats have always been equally popular and used in computers universally in equal measure.

The main rivalry point is that all software accepts ZIP, and RAR is mainly used in Windows. So, if you are a MacBook user, you can always convert RAR to ZIP without losing file quality.

Advantages Of Using RAR

The main reason people use RAR is because of the compression rate. Overall, RAR files are smaller, meaning they don’t take as long to upload or download. Compiling a long list of files like images or audio files into a single downloadable RAR file also speeds up the transfer time. In addition, RAR’s compression algorithm generates files two times lighter than most archive file formats, even with HTML or WAV files.

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RAR files can be split up into multi-volume archives, and the compression lets multiple files condense down into a single small archive that’s easy to transfer. The files can also be encrypted with a password to ensure that only the person who needs to see it can access them, even if someone else has access to the whole device.

Moreover, RAR incorporates redundancy, which supports the creation of recovery files, which proves very handy in the event of a hard drive failure. For example, you need to create a .REV file when compressing. If something goes wrong, this will increase your chances of recovering your compressed information.

Although RAR has proprietary software, which means it is not free and requires a third-party tool called WinRAR Archiver to compress or decompress its files, its systematic AES-128 encryption method provides better security to its users.

How To Open RAR In Windows 10

You can open RAR files on Windows using various applications.

The most preferred way is through WinRAR, as it is the creation of the same developers who created the RAR file format. In addition, this connection provides complete support for RAR files, which means that WinRAR allows you to extract RAR files and create them as well.

To create a RAR file using WinRAR:

  1. Right-click on the file or folder you want to compress.
  2. Click on “Add to Archive.”
  3. Now name your archive and press “OK.”
  4. You have now created a .rar archive, and it will appear next to the file/folder you compressed.

To extract a RAR file in Windows 10:

  1. Open the WinRAR archive you want to extract files from.
  2. Select the files you want to extract.
  3. Click on “Extract to.”
  4. Choose the destination folder where you want your files extracted and click “OK.”
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The only disadvantage is that WinRAR is not a free application. But, the good news is that it is a shareware or try-before-you-buy product. So, you can try it for free and decide if you want to spend money on it.

How To Open RAR Files On Mac

You can use any file extractor that supports RAR files from the Apple App Store to open them on your Mac. One such application is “The Unarchiver,” which is exceptionally easy and closely matches the experience you are used to with ZIP files. For example, to open RAR files on a Mac with The Unarchiver:

  1. Download and install “The Unarchiver” on your Mac.
  2. Open the app, and click “File.”
  3. Then click “Unarchive to” and select your RAR file.
  4. Click “Unarchive” and select a location to place the extracted files.
  5. Click “Extract” to complete the command.
  6. Your files will appear in the location you selected.
  7. If you want to extract all your RAR files to a default location, you can drag any RAR file onto The Unarchiver’s icon on your Mac’s Dock to extract the files using your default settings.

You can also set this app as your default RAR app. You can double-click any RAR file to extract it without any further hassle when you do that. To do so:

  1. Locate your RAR file using “Finder.”
  2. “Control+Click” the RAR file and select “Get Info.”
  3. Next, click “Open With.”
  4. Select “The Unarchiver” and click “Change All.”
  5. Click “Continue” to complete.
  6. After this, when you double-click a RAR file, it will be extracted using “The Unarchiver.”
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Choosing which archive file format to use is up to you as the user. This article is a complete guide to everything there is to know and learn about RAR files hoping that you make an informed choice.