• Windows 11 version 23H2 allows users to open and extract RAR files natively, eliminating the need for additional software.
  • To open a RAR file, double-click it in File Explorer. To extract files, right-click the RAR file and select "Extract All..." then choose your destination folder.
  • For more advanced features, third-party programs like WinRAR and 7-Zip are still available, but the built-in functionality suits most basic needs.

Windows 11 has introduced a much-awaited feature that simplifies the process of handling compressed files. With the latest 23H2 update, Windows 11 now offers native support for opening and extracting RAR archives without the need for third-party software. This means you can bid farewell to the hassle of installing additional programs like WinRAR or 7-Zip.

In this article, we'll guide you through the simple steps to open and extract RAR files using the built-in functionality of Windows 11 (as well as 7-zip, just in case you need it).

Opening RAR Files

  1. Open File Explorer and locate the RAR file you want to open.
  2. Double-click the RAR file to open it and view its contents, just like a regular folder.

Extracting Files from a RAR Archive

  1. In File Explorer, find the RAR file you want to extract files from.
  2. Right-click the RAR file and select "Extract All..."
  1. Click 'Extract' on the 'Extract Archive' window that opens. By default, it'll extract the contents into a new folder by the same name as the RAR file and inside the same directory where the file is located.
  1. If you wish to extract the contents into a particular folder on your PC, click the 'Browse' button instead and choose the destination folder where you want to extract the files.
  1. Click 'Select Folder' to confirm the destination.
  2. Click 'Extract' to begin extracting the files from the RAR archive.

Using 7-Zip

This native support for RAR files in Windows 11 provides a more convenient and streamlined experience for users who frequently work with this file format. However, it's worth noting that while the built-in functionality is sufficient for basic RAR file handling, third-party tools like 7-Zip still offer additional features and customization options that some users may find beneficial.

  1. Install 7-Zip from the official website (https://www.7-zip.org/). Download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version, depending on the version of Windows 11 installed on the system
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. To open and view the contents of any RAR file, simply double-click on the file in the 7-Zip software.
  1. The contents of the file will now be listed. The next step is to extract the content.
  1. To extract the contents of the RAR file, select the ‘File’ and click on ‘Extract’ in the ‘Toolbar’ at the top.
  1. 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.
  1. Once the file is extracted, navigate to the location you chose earlier to access the contents.

While Windows 11 now offers native RAR support, some users may still prefer using third-party programs like 7-Zip for more advanced features and customization options. Regardless of your choice, both methods provide an easy way to open and extract RAR files on your Windows 11 system.