How to Open .RAR Files in Windows 10

This brief guide will take you each step of the way through opening and accessing the contents of .rar files using Windows 10.

NOTE: the steps in this tutorial are idential if you’re trying to open a .DMG or .RPM file in Windows 10 as well – so this guide could just as easily be called “How to Open RAR, DMG and RPM Files in Windows 10” :) Those formats are typically found on Mac and Linux/Unix systems – so being able to open them on a Windows 10 laptop/desktop/tablet can be very handy.

  1. Going into almost no detail at all, a .rar file is a lot like a .zip file. It’s one or more files/folders all combined into one file – a RAR. Here’s how you open those files so you can get to the contents inside.
  2. Unlike ZIP files, RAR files require software that doesn’t come included with Windows itself. Fortunately there’s a fantastic, small and free app that does let you open .RAR files. Head over to the 7-Zip download page (link opens in a new window/tab) and download the 7-Zip for 64-bit Windows x64 (Intel 64 or AMD64) version of 7-Zip, unless you’re absolutely certain you don’t have a 64-bit version of Windows 10.
  3. Double-click the 7-Zip installer file to install the app. Make sure to install it to the default location – which is in C:\Program Files\. If you need to install it to another location you can, just make sure to remember exactly where, you’ll need to know in an upcoming step.
  4. After you’ve installed 7-Zip, double-click (or tap if you have a Windows 10 tablet) the .RAR file you want to open.
  5. Select More apps from the menu that appears.
  6. Now select Look for another app on this PC
  7. When the “Open With” dialog box appears, double-click your C: drive and then the Program Files folder (as illustrated in the screenshot below).
  8. Open the Z-Zip folder.
  9. Select the file 7zFM.exe and then click Open
  10. 7-Zip will launch and open the .RAR file. Now it’s time to extract (copy) the files and folders out from inside the RAR. Select all of the files/folders and then click the Extract button.
  11. By default, the files and folders will be extracted to the same location the RAR file is in – click OK to begin that process.
  12. Depending on the size and the number of files stored in the .RAR file, it may take anywhere from under a second to a few minutes to copy all of that data. Once the process has completed, all of data that was inside the RAR file is now accessible! Note: the next time you have to open a RAR file you won’t have to repeat this process – the RAR will simply open with 7-Zip.
  13. That’s it – you’re done!

  • My PC came with 7-Zip installed. WinZip will also open .rar files.

  • Wow! I’ve never heard of a PC having 7-Zip pre-installed, that’s pretty amazing. You’re totally right about Winzip working – as does WinRAR. Unfortunately, both still cost $, and I’ve never found a feature in either one that isn’t in 7-Zip as well…

  • Valerie Lowe-Williams

    Thanks for the 7-Zip file, but now I can’t run the program. My computer keep saying this App can’t run on your PC find a version from your publisher! Does this app work on windows 10? what app can I use?