Ever wanted to share a large file over the web but couldn’t due to the size limit set in place? It has happened to most of us. This is where compressing the files comes into the picture. You may have come across ZIP files on Windows 11 which can be easily extracted with the built-in tools but it’s not the same with RAR files.

But, before we walk you through the opening and extracting of RAR files in Windows 11, it’s imperative that you have a thorough understanding of the format.

What is a RAR File?

A RAR (Roshal ARchive) file is a compressed file that may hold other files and folders. It occupies lesser storage as compared to when it’s in normal form like any other file on the system. When you use the WinRAR software to compress a file or folder, the resulting files have the ‘RAR’ extension or are simply RAR files.

These files can be encrypted and password-protected if the particular setting is selected when creating the file. However, most RAR files you come across won’t have either of the two, thus we won’t delve deeper into the concept.

How do I Open a RAR File?

Windows 11 does not offer any built-in methods or tools to open or extract RAR files. You can use the WinRAR software that was initially used for creating the file to extract its contents. However, WinRAR requires a paid subscription after the initial trial period (40 days).

For those of you looking for free software that can be used to open and extract the contents of a RAR file, there are many available on the web. We recommend using the 7-Zip software. It’s a free and open-source file archiver that can easily read and extract multiple formats, including RAR.

To download the 7-Zip software, go to 7-zip.org, and download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version, depending on the version of Windows 11 installed on the system. After you have downloaded 7-Zip, locate the file and double-click on it to run the installer, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.

Once 7-Zip has been successfully installed, here’s how you can open and extract files using the software.

Open & Extract RAR Files using 7-Zip

To open and extract RAR files with 7-Zip, press WINDOWS + S to launch the ‘Search’ menu, enter ‘7-Zip File Manager’ in the text field, and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.

In the 7-Zip File Manager, either navigate to the location where the ‘RAR’ file is stored or paste its path in the ‘Address Bar’ at the top and press ENTER.

To open and view the contents of a RAR file, simply double-click on the file in the 7-Zip software.

The contents of the file will now be listed. The next step is to extract the content.

To extract the contents of the RAR file, select the ‘File’ and click on ‘Extract’ in the ‘Toolbar’ at the top.

Now, check the path where the file will be extracted under ‘Extract to’, and click on the ellipsis next to it to change the destination of the extracted file. Finally, click on ‘OK’ at the bottom to start the extraction.

Note: You can also extract individual files and folders in the RAR file by opening it, selecting the files that you want to extract, clicking on the ‘Extract’ icon at the top, and then clicking on ‘OK’ in the box that appears.

Once the file is extracted, navigate to the location you choose earlier to access the contents.

That’s all there’s to open and extracte a RAR file with the 7-Zip software on Windows 11.