While WinRar and WinZip are dominant apps for Windows, WinRar's support for Mac comes in the form of a command line only interface and WinZip wants you to purchase the app after the trial is over. Windows definitely has more free options like 7-Zip which can extract a variety of different formats. Mac users have been a lot more limited with OS X natively only supporting zip format.

Winrar isn't the best solution either because it only supports a command line interface. This means you'll be stuck using lines of text commands to complete the task you want. It's confusing for someone who has never really used Terminal. A great alternative is called The Unarchiver. This free app supports OS 10.6.0 and higher and supports zip, rar, 7-Zip, Gzip, and Bzip2 formats. It dives even deeper with support for older archive formats. The main formats you'll probably deal with are zip and rar and The Unarchiver handles these with no problems.

Using The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver is a very simple app to use. If you have different archived files on your computer and need to extract them, simply click on them. This will load either a one-click function where it will decompress the file in the same parent folder as the original. Or you can set The Unarchiver to ask each time it runs. If you choose for the program to ask each time it runs, it will open Finder and you can choose where to extract the file.

After you select the archive file you want to extract, The Unarchiver will extract the files into the location you chose.

Keep in mind that The Unarchiver is only an app that extract files. It won't create archive files. You can create zip files through OS X's Compress option though. If you deal with a lot of archived files, The Unarchiver is a great free option. There are other paid apps, but if all you're looking for is a quick and painless way to extract files then this is the app to use.

[Original article published June 2010] Add me on Google+


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    How to open corrupt RAR file? « file-open.info

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  • MM |

    I try to avoid CLI as much as possible, but as creating on a mac is hard, and the gui's for it are terrible, I wanted to make a gui myself. I did succeed in doing that, but my only problem is : I can't use the CLI, as I have no experience at all with it.

    I hoped to find a little more explanation about the commands here, instead of a basic list of steps on how to install winrar. At the moment, if I try to execute 'rar a foldername targetname' all I get is a rar file containing all the folders (from the full foldername path). So it works, but I don't want my rar file to unarchive to a users-home-desktop-... structure.

    I'll search a bit more in detail and will post all my future knowledge here.

  • MM |

    I'll just post an example here : --> Making a multipart rar : (parts of 1Gb) : rar a -v1G -m5 -ep1 -o- "$arc" "$f" a means you add the files, -v1G means the parts should be 1Gb big, -m5 means you use the highest compression level, -ep1 means you exlude file paths from the files in the archive (so that it doesn't extract in a whole complicated structure, see above), -o- means you don't overwrite existing files, "$arc" is the rar name of the future file (e.g. "/Users/Home/Desktop/Test 3.rar") and "$f" is the name of the folder you're rarring (e.g. "/Users/Home/Desktop/Test 3"). Everything starting with a '-' sign is a switch, the rest are commands (like 'a') or names. You should be able to figure everything out now. You can also use 1M or 1K instead of 1G to split the rars in mb's or kb's.

  • Gary Moore |
    Gary Moore

    Cant follow the instructions. Could you repeat but in English this time

  • Aella |

    Mac people should just go to the app store and download "the unarchiver." Much simpler.

  • kennard |

    Thanks Aella

  • kamikaze |

    how to open it with mine craft mods?????

  • naresh |

    know nothing about RAR, does there anyone to help me in simple way ?

  • aman |

    Thanks aella. much easier!!

  • dee |

    i can not find the unarchiver in appstore. how can i found it?

  • Nick Mead |
    Nick Mead

    @Dee you can download The Unarchiver here.

  • Ida tarbell |
    Ida tarbell

    I find these solutions to the rar problem too complex. You can watch it on vlc AS A RAR, because VLC will turn the rar into a video format and play it. But you can't extract the avi, mkv, mp4 or whatever file from the vlc player, to put it on a cd or dvd. It won't leave the player, probably because it only plays internally and becomes an unusable file outside the VLC. But you can play it out of an HDMI out with a cheap cord the Chinese sell for about $6 , from your mac, without paying $30 for the Cord's Mac version. I think you might get it as a mechanical capture video file with some hardware available fairly cheaply from Best Buy etc.

    Or, you can go back and download it with a pc, and use the free PC winrar to extract the video file, which is then transferable to a DVD or CD, depending on its size.

  • Help! |

    I am following step 4 perfectly, but I hit a brick wall when it comes to getting results after I type "cd rar2"???? I renamed my folder RAR2 in the desktop yet it still won't work when I type it in.

  • SoniyaSunny |

    Installation is simple as inserting the CD and click “Next”, “Next” or enters a number of executable files. I wanted to install and learn, Macintosh OSX on Windows in my PC so I searched the internet for ways to Macintosh to a Windows computer to visit http://www.winrar-mac.com



  • saranicolecopeland |

    I have the Unarchver, but for some reason it won't let me select the .zip file I have on my desktop in order to extract it. Any reason why this would happen??

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