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Windows to Finally Support 30 Year Old Archive Format

Laptop running Windows
Hannah Stryker / Review Geek

It’s been 30 years since Russian software engineer Eugene Roshal created the RAR archive format. RAR allows users to compress files so they take up less room on your hard drive. However, you needed a special program like WinRAR to open RAR files on Windows for the better part of three decades.

That’s all changing soon. This week Microsoft quietly announced that Windows 11 will finally support RAR files natively. In a long-winded blog post about the future of AI, the company slipped in RAR support in the “In addition…” section. If you were just casually scrolling through, you may have missed it.

“We have added native support for additional archive formats, including tar, 7-zip, rar, gz and many others using the libarchive open-source project. You now can get improved performance of archive functionality during compression on Windows,” the blog post states.

Granted, this move may not matter much to people who have never heard of a RAR file. But, those who work with archive formats know the sheer annoyance of not being able to open a somewhat common file format without special software like WinRAR—a file extraction program that people can pay for but generally don’t.

WinRAR’s “try before you buy” business model gives users 40 days of usage before politely asking them to pay before disabling enterprise-level functionality. And paying for the service never made much sense for those who only need to extract archive formats occasionally. And now that Windows 11 will son support RAR natively, the few people who did pay for the service no longer have a good reason to.

Source: Windows Blog


Danny Chadwick Danny Chadwick
Danny has been a technology journalist since 2008. He served as senior writer, as well as multimedia and home improvement editor at Top Ten Reviews until 2019. Since then, he has been a freelance contributor to Lifewire and ghostwriter for Fit Small Business. His work has also appeared on Laptop Mag, Tom’s Guide, and business.com. Read Full Bio »