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How to open RAR files

RAR format is an archive format natively offered by WinRAR. First introduced in 1993 by Eugene Roshal, the developer of WinRAR, RAR format has been developed for a long time since when DOS was widely used instead of Windows. The format still uses “.rar” filename extension to this day, but it has gone through a number of internal modifications and the latest version is called RAR5.

Features of RAR format

  • Higher compression ratio than ZIP format’s
  • AES-128 and AES-256 encryption algorithms
  • Data recovery (The format itself stores recovery information for possible data corruption.)
  • Mass archiving (Up to 8 Exabytes, about 8 billion Gigabytes)
  • Solid compression and split archiving
  • Support for symbolic-linked and hard-linked files
  • Unicode (UTF-8) filename


UnRAR source is open to the public for decompression of RAR files, but its readme file has declared as below that the source cannot be used to create a new RAR file. Therefore, any archiving software other than WinRAR cannot support creating a RAR file.

4. Legal stuff
Unrar source may be used in any software to handle RAR archives
without limitations free of charge, but cannot be used to re-create
the RAR compression algorithm,
which is proprietary. Distribution
of modified Unrar source in separate form or as a part of other
software is permitted, provided that it is clearly stated in
the documentation and source comments that the code may not be used
to develop a RAR (WinRAR) compatible archiver.

Bandizip, free software to open RAR files

Bandizip supports proper decompression of RAR files, and both individual users and enterprise users may use Bandizip without purchasing its license.

   Download Bandizip   

For more information about RAR format, visit the links below.

  • RAR 5.0 archive format
  • UnRAR source code
  • Wikipedia