How to Use a RAR File

Level of difficulty: Easy

A RAR file is an archived and compressed file. It is one of the more popular formats used for archives. The pieces of data stored here are also encrypted. This format is often used to send one or more files via the Internet. This is because it allows data to be transferred easily while minimizing loss. The file can also use a recover or configuration file so that any errors can be repaired.

Materials Needed:
- Computer
- file compressor program
Step 1
Choose a file archiver. The RAR file format is the default format used by the WinRAR compression program. Due to the popularity of the format, several archivers and compressors are able to read compressed files in this format. Other applications can also edit, open, and extract data from the RAR file. Users can choose from proprietary or free software to create and open RAR files.
Step 2
Download the archive. These archives can be downloaded from websites or email accounts. Some RAR archives are sent in multiple files so that they can be easily transmitted. In this case, make sure that all the files of the specific archive are already downloaded in the computer. These are commonly saved with numbers in the file name to indicate that there are parts of the same archive. A configuration file is also included to instruct the program how to rearrange the data.
Step 3
Scan the downloaded archive for viruses. Malware program authors may use compressed files to distribute harmful code. Some archivers do come with integrated malware scanners. It is best to also use a standalone security application to check the downloaded file.
Step 4
Open the archive. All parts of the archive can be highlighted and right clicked. Users can then choose the program to open the files. The archiver can also be launched and the files opened from the software. Some RAR archives are password-protected while others are restricted. Users should check if they have full access to the archive before they attempt to make changes to it.
Step 5
Open files in the archive. Users can choose to open specific files in the archive. The archiver program will typically show the contents of the archive similar to a folder in a directory. Double clicking on a file name or highlighting a file and pressing Enter will open a file. One or more files can be opened so they can be viewed instantly.
Step 6
Update the archive. Any changes made to the opened files can be saved to the RAR archive. If the user edits a file and closes it, most archivers will automatically ask the user if the changes should be added to the archive. Files within the archive can also be renamed. The archive itself will not change; it will only register the changes made to the compressed files.
Step 7
Delete files in the archive. Users may also delete files found in the archive. Highlight a file and pressing delete will complete the task. Right clicking on the file and choosing 'Delete' will do the same.
Step 8
Extract the archive. The entire contents or selected files can be extracted. Simply highlight the folders or files to be extracted. Click on the 'Extract' or 'Extract to' button on the program interface. Users can also right click on the files to be extracted and choose 'Extract'. The archiver program will prompt users to choose the location where the files will be placed. Clicking 'Yes' or 'OK' will launch the process.