Linux tip: How to open RAR files in Ubuntu

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It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while you’ll need to open a RAR file in Ubuntu.

What’s a RAR file, you ask? Well, essentially it’s a slightly more obscure zip file format. Windows handles ZIP file formats nicely, Linux is comfortable with TAR.GZ archives. Neither operating system loves RAR files.

Solution – install unrar! It really is that simple. Fire up a terminal session and type sudo apt-get install unrar. Now you’ve got the tools for the job, let’s crack open that RAR file.

Sticking with the terminal session, navigate to where your RAR file is stored (let’s imagine it’s called myrararchive.rar) and then type the following command:

unrar x myrararchive.rar

…and your archive will be automagically extracted for you. You’ll notice we used an “x” switch there – that’s just to tell the programme to extract files.

For more info on what unrar can do for you, simply type man unrar into a terminal window, or browse this guide to become a RAR ninja. You’d have to be a total masochist, of course, but hey-ho.

3 thoughts on “Linux tip: How to open RAR files in Ubuntu

  1. mike harkin

    I am a complete newbie at anything more than my my inbox, google &
    amazon. Plus just learned to download music for listening. I have
    an rar file I can’t open as it’s not supported by U/L. With your
    kind help, I’d like try installing unrar….

    Is a terminal session different from work/play as above?

    Where do I type in the commands?

    Thanks for your help.

    Mike Harkin

    1. Isaa

      Hi Mike,

      Click Cntl+Alt+T to fire up the terminal and input the said commands therein. Notice that you will have to navigate to the folder where the .RAR file is stored by typing “cd Downloads” assuming the file is in the Downloads folder and also assuming that you do actually have “unrar” installed in your machine.

  2. Nostromov

    Just reinstalled Xubuntu (13.10 Saucy, AMD64), this time in Oracle VM, but I’m never sure which version of RAR is *the best* to use.
    There are “RAR” and “unrar” that come up automagically, when opening an archive. Screenshot @
    My only gripe w/this is, many times something is installed in (X)Ubuntu – there is NO going back. Several .config. (and other!) files will be created, often in various locations, and if something is installed *wrong* that’s the end of that. :-f
    I know / am guessing that it has very little to do with rar, however, it can still be a dilemma, hehe. :-$
    Aanyway, thanks for the post!

    Rar is -still- my format of choice, for the most part; && (among other awesome features, like encrypting file names) mostly because it can handle UTF-8 and other, similar, formats with (total) ease. Much unlike other formats, that can more-often-than-not go wrong.

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