How to open .rar, .arj, .gz, .tar and .rpm files in Windows

by Ross McKillop on June 22, 2007


This brief tutorial will show you how to open compressed files in Windows, using a terrific open source (free) program called 7-zip.

What: 7-Zip is a file archiver/decompresser with a high compression ratio.
Why: 7-Zip is open source software – you don’t need to register or pay for it. In fact, you can use it in a commercial organization. It allows you to extract the contents of many different types of compressed files, including .rar, .arj, .gz, .tar and .rpm. Unlike WinZIP and WinRAR, 7-zip is open source (free) – and works in 63 languages.
Where: 7-Zip works in Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP and can be downloaded from

  1. After you’ve installed 7-zip (which is as simple as clicking Next a couple of times) launch it by selecting Start -> Programs -> 7-Zip -> 7-Zip File Manager.
  2. 7zip setup
    click to enlarge

  3. Once it opens, select Tools from the top menu, and then Options from the drop-down list.
  4. 7zip setup

  5. On the System tab, select the type of files you wish to use 7-Zip to open by placing checks in the appropriate boxes. Click OK when you’re done.
  6. 7zip setup
    click to enlarge

  7. Locate a compressed file that you’ve now associated with 7-Zip and double-click it.
  8. 7zip setup

  9. 7-Zip will open that file, and display its contents in the main window. Select each (or all) of the files that you wish to extract, and then click the Extract button from the top menu.
  10. 7zip setup
    click to enlarge

  11. You’ll be prompted to save the files to a location on your hard drive. You can use the button to navigate to a folder, or just type the location in the space provided. Click OK when you’ve selected a folder.
  12. 7zip setup
    click to enlarge

  13. The files will be extracted from the compressed file to the location you specified.
  14. 7zip setup

  15. And there they are!
  16. 7zip setup
    click to enlarge

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  • StarofDaytona

    TY very much for posting this…it saved me from disappointment after having tried 2 days to download music in a tar format

  • pavan

    I don’t know how open to .7z file.

  • http://none Kim-Tae-Hong

    It’s so COOOOOOL.
    Thank you. * 500000

  • Tony Laz

    Ross, thanks for posting this, it was extremely helpful.

  • Julian

    THNK U SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • d4nY

    amazing help!!

  • neha

    an html.rar file is demanding for a

  • Selso

    MAny thanks for the tip
    I was searching somthing to handle rpm archive.

  • joey


  • Pi

    Thanks for the step by step tutorial.

  • may zaw shin

    Thank you very much indeed!

  • Odjit

    neham – Most ask for the password. You may need to ask the creator for the pass.

  • evergreen

    sometimes the extracted files are stored inside a folder and that folder too is inside a folder with a name more or less the same. how can i get all the files by double clicking the folder which is an extracted one.

  • Prasant

    Thanks for this. i was searching to archive rpm file.

  • silverfx

    Thanks very much I dont really understand the zip or rar files this helped tremendusly

  • shawn

    windows will not let me open all files when i download the hole rar files for a movie

  • scs

    Thanks a lot

  • Monica

    Olá meu pc era linux mandriva, resolvi formatar e colocar o 7, antes salvei um manual que uso mto em um pen drive que agora nao consigo abrir… ja tentei varias vezes e preciso mto dele…. teria como me ajudar? nao sei o que fazer tentei acrobat, wod pad, word, bloco de notas e varios outros e nada… como faço para abrir isso???

    Por favor me ajudem!

  • Zoe

    That’s so helpful! Thanks!

  • Shayari

    I was always facing problem to open a .rar file . It was showing error “window cannot open this file ” Now after this my problem has been solved .Thank’s for this tip

  • Pankaj

    Thanks a lot!!!
    Much Appriciated

  • geeky_penguin182

    THANK YOU! I needed so much help. Ive never worked with an rar file type before. thank you so much for helping me opening my file.

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  • Code

    Good help. Thanks so mush

  • Megha

    thanks a lot!!!!

  • Providence Ndhlovu

    thanks for your support guys

  • Robert

    This does not happen…
    The error message reads “Cannot open output file” all files listed.

  • Christine

    how to get the password?!!