If you’ve been using the internet for more than five minutes than you have probably come across a RAR file before. These are a common type of file used when transferring pictures and documents or other types of information.
A RAR file is simply a type of compressed file. It is similar to a Zip file but offers better compression. If you have a photo or a document that you want to send to someone, but it is too big, then you would use a program like Winrar to compress the file making it smaller. The resulting compressed file will have the “.rar” extension and thus is called a RAR file. It is also called a container file, since the RAR file acts like a container storing the original files inside. The person you send the RAR file to will have to have a copy of Winrar as well, so that they can uncompress the RAR file and see the picture or document that you have sent them.
So how do you open a RAR file?
As mentioned, you can open a RAR file with a program called “Winrar”. You can easily find this program by simply searching for it on Google. The program is available as shareware, meaning that you can download it for a trial period of forty days but after that, you need to pay for it if you want to keep using it.
Once you have installed Winrar, then all you need to do is double click on a RAR file and Winrar will automatically open, and show you what’s inside the file. You can also open a RAR file by opening Winrar, then just drag and drop the RAR file onto the Winrar interface. Winrar will take over and show you what’s inside the file once more. You could also open Winrar then, on the menu bar, select “File”>”Open Archive”, or simply use Winrar to browse to the RAR file on your hard drive and click on it.
To uncompress the contents of the file you can simply click on the “extract” button and Winrar will uncompress the file to the default location. You also have the option to choose a different path for the uncompressed file. For example the default path to uncompress files may be “My Documents”, but you can choose to extract a file to your desktop instead.
You can also choose to extract only part of the RAR file. For instance if some one has sent you a collection of family photos, you may not want to extract them all. Just highlight the ones you want from within Winrar by holding down the “control” button on your keyboard and clicking on the files you want to extract, then click on the “Extract” button. You can also simply drag and drop individual files from within the RAR file to the place where you want to extract them.
Another feature of RAR files is that they can compress a file into multiple parts. For instance, if a file is still too big after being compressed, then it can be split it into multiple parts. Each part will have an extension of “.r” followed by a number. For example, if there are three parts then they would have the following extensions: .r00, .r01, .r02.
Opening a multi-part RAR file is no different from opening a single RAR file. As long as you have all of the parts then you can just double click on any one of them and Winrar will take care of the rest.
Do I have to use Winrar?
There are quite a few programs that can open RAR files, Winrar is just the most well known. If you want a good free program for opening RAR files, try 7-Zip. This has been around for a while and has a good reputation. It also supports a variety of other compression formats, but doesn’t offer the same convenience or features as Winrar.
There are a number of other programs that you can use as well. With a quick Google search, you can find hundreds of them. Just be clear on whether you’re getting a freeware, shareware or paid program. Often freeware programs will come bundled with extra software, such as toolbars for your browser, which you may not want. During installation of such a program, you will be asked if you want to install the additional software, but it is easy to over look. If you’re not careful you can end up with a whole bunch of unwanted programs interfering with your PC.