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RAR (file format) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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RAR (file format) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


RAR is a proprietary[3] archive file format that supports data compression, error recovery and file spanning. It was developed by a Russian software engineer, Eugene Roshal (the name RAR stands for Roshal ARchive) and the RAR software is licensed by win.rar GmbH.[3]

The filename extensions used by RAR are for the data volume set and for the recovery volume set. Previous versions of RAR split large archives into several smaller files, creating a "multi-volume archive". Numbers were used in the file extensions of the smaller files to keep them in the proper sequence. The first file used the extension , then for the second, and then , , etc.

RAR compression applications and libraries (including GUI based WinRAR application for Windows, console rar utility for different OSes and others) are proprietary software, to which Alexander L. Roshal,[3] the elder brother of Eugene Roshal, owns the copyright. Version 3 of RAR is based on Lempel-Ziv (LZSS) and prediction by partial matching (PPM) compression, specifically the PPMd implementation of PPMII by Dmitry Shkarin.[4]

The minimum size of a RAR file is 20 bytes. The maximum size of a RAR file is 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 (263-1) bytes, which is 8 exbibytes minus 1 byte.[5]

1 WinRAR 5.0 and RAR for Android refer to this format as RAR4.

Software is available for Microsoft Windows (named WinRAR), Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Android; archive extraction is supported natively in Chrome OS. WinRAR supports the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI); other versions named RAR run as console commands. Later versions are not compatible with some older operating systems previously supported:

RAR files can be created only with commercial software WinRAR, RAR, and other software that has written permission from Alexander Roshal or shares copyrighted code under license from Alexander Roshal. The software license agreements forbid reverse engineering.[3] However, the fully open source program The Unarchiver, with support for uncompressing RAR archives, is distributed under the LGPL without any such restriction against reverse-engineering; it is possible that it could be a starting point for writing software capable of creating RAR archives. Graphical WinRAR is available for Windows. Console RAR application is available for Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD. Only WinRAR for Windows and Rar for Linux are available as native 64-bit applications. There is a native fully functional Android application called "RAR for Android".[8]

Several programs can unpack the file format. RARLAB distributes the source code and binaries for a freeware command-line "unrar" program,[9] although this code is not under a free software license. This program can decompress/extract, but not create, RAR files. As of November 2014 some 3rd-party programs documented as "supporting the RAR format" did not recognise RAR5 files.


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En staff, “RAR (file format) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,” Continuing Education on New Data Standards & Technologies, accessed April 15, 2021,