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Unfortunately, in the recent past many viruses have appeared, that are embedded in standard ZIP files. As a result, many virus scanners filter those out, for example from emails. The alternative is to use some other compression file format, such as RAR. However, this will not open directly from Windows...

Rar software

Of course, need and solution always go hand in hand. There are indeed many programs that can open and work with RAR file formats.

Most of them are shareware like Winrar (it can be downloaded from Win-rar.com, or Rarlab.com). This utility will also allow you for creating RAR files, and to add / remove files from a RAR container. Upon proper installation, context menus are also provided with the right mouse click, so that an "Add to rar..." option is available from the Windows Explorer. Winrar for mac is also available.

Alternatively, there are some freeware solutions, such as 7-ZIP (it can be obtained from 7-zip.org). These solutions may not offer full functionality (i.e. you may not be able to create rar files from scrap), but anyway you will be able to open files, add or remove contents from them.

HowTo...

OK, so, how to unzip a rar file? You just need to look for it in your file browser and open it with the selected utility. The first time, you may need to associate the file extension to the program, by selecting the command "Open with..." from the context menu that appears upon right-clicking on the file.

Once you have assigned a valid program to open the file, the container will be opened as a 'normal' explorer window, showing the files inside. Common listing options are available, ordering by type, name, date, size...

What you will see new is a set of icons that will allow you to work with the file: you may extract the selected item or folder (even sub-folder), add files to the rar container, copy them directly to some specific location...

You can also 'test' a rar file (or some other format: tar, gz, z...) for conformity, to see if it was properly packed. This will help you in detecting if the downloaded file was corrupt, for example. Or if this is a fake file (not a rar at all)...

Screen capture of 7-zip utility
Tag(s) : #Computers