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Window 11 can now extract RAR and 7-Zip archival formats

  • Windows 11 build 23493 includes support for RAR and 7-Zip files.
  • The integration allows opening and extracting several archival formats, including “.rar” and “.7z” files.
  • The first preview allows you to open and extract; the option to create will arrive later.

Microsoft brings native support for RAR and 7-Zip file formats to Windows 11. Starting on build 23493, you can now open and extract “.tar,” .tar.gz,” “.tar.bz2,” “.tar.zst,” “.tar.xz,” “.tgz,” .tbz2,” “.tzst,” .txz,” .rar,” and “.7z” archival file formats using File Explorer. 

Currently, whether you use File Explorer, Command Prompt, or PowerShell, it’s only possible to compress or uncompress Zipped folders, and if you have to open other archival formats, you have to use third-party tools, such as 7-zip or WinRAR. However, starting on build 23493, the development team is integrating the libarchive open-source project to bring support to Windows 11

The new support integrates seamlessly with File Explorer, and the files will appear with the same zipped folder icon as the icon for “.zip” files. 

If you have to open any of the supported formats, you can double-click the icon as they were a regular folder. In the case you have to extract (for example, a “.rar” or “.7z”), you can open the container and drag the files out to another folder, or you can select the archival container, click the “Extract all” button from the command bar, and follow the on-screen directions to complete the process. (If you’re dealing with a large file, the container will take some time to open.)

File Explorer extract RAR and 7-Zip
File Explorer extract RAR and 7-Zip

The only caveat is that it seems that the support only works for archival formats that don’t use encryption. If, for example, the “.7z” file uses a password, the experience doesn’t include an interface to authenticate and unlock the contents. Also, if you use the “Extract all” wizard, you won’t see an option to enter the password and the extraction will fail with an error.

File Explorer 7z password error
File Explorer 7z password error

While native support for some of the archival formats is on the way, Windows 11 had the ability to extract TAR and GZ files (in addition to Zip files) for some time.

Microsoft says that the support to open these archival formats will roll out to users sometime in September 2023, while the support to create RAR, 7-Zip, TAR, GZ, and many other formats will be available sometime in 2024.

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