How to Open, Extract and Create RAR Files on Linux

RAR Files on Linux

RAR files are a widely used archive format that enables users to compress and package multiple files into a single, space-saving package. As a Linux user, understanding how to efficiently extract and create RAR files is essential for managing your data effectively. In this guide, we will delve into the world of RAR files on Linux, exploring extraction and creation processes while providing practical examples along the way.

Understanding RAR Files

RAR files, born from the innovative mind of Eugene Roshal, have soared in popularity due to their superior compression algorithms. As opposed to commonplace formats like ZIP and TAR, RAR files offer exceptional compression ratios and advanced features such as password protection and error recovery. Embracing RAR files can streamline storage and transmission, making them a crucial asset in your Linux arsenal.

Installing Unrar on Linux

  • Using APT (Debian/Ubuntu):

To install Unrar using APT, you can follow these steps:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install unrar
  • Using Yum (CentOS/RHEL):

For CentOS and RHEL, the EPEL repository is required. Install Unrar as follows:

sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install unrar
  • Using Zypper (openSUSE):

To install Unrar on openSUSE, use Zypper package manager:

sudo zypper ar -cfp 90 packman
sudo zypper install unrar

Extracting RAR Files on Linux

Unleashing the contents of a RAR archive is a fundamental skill for every Linux user. Our chosen tool for this task is ‘unrar,’ a reliable utility that gracefully handles RAR extraction. Begin by ensuring that ‘unrar’ is installed on your system. If it’s not present, you can swiftly procure it through your package manager.

  1. Navigate to the Target Directory: Open your terminal and use the ‘cd’ command to navigate to the directory where the RAR file is located.

  2. Unleash the Power of ‘unrar’: Execute the ‘unrar’ command followed by the ‘x’ flag and the name of the RAR file to start the extraction process. For instance:

unrar x archive.rar
  1. Extract Specific Files: Sometimes, you might only need a subset of files from the archive. You can achieve this by providing the names of the desired files after the RAR file name:
unrar e archive.rar file1.txt file2.jpg
  1. Handle Password-Protected RAR Files: If the RAR file is password-protected, ‘unrar’ will prompt you to enter the password securely.

Creating RAR Files on Linux

When you have a collection of files that need bundling into a tidy package, the ‘rar’ command is your ally. As with extraction, ensure that the ‘rar’ tool is accessible on your system before proceeding.

  1. Navigate to the Files’ Location: Utilize the terminal to navigate to the folder containing the files you intend to archive.
  2. Crafting a RAR Archive: Initiate the RAR creation process by using the ‘rar’ command, followed by the ‘a’ flag, the desired archive name, and the names of the files to be included:

rar a archive.rar file1.txt file2.jpg
  1. Fine-Tune Compression and Security: Elevate your RAR game by experimenting with compression levels and methods. Secure your archive with a password using the ‘-hp‘ flag:
rar a -hpMyPassword archive.rar files_folder/

Advanced Techniques and Tips

  1. Breaking It Down: Splitting Archives: Handling large files? Utilize the ‘rar’ command’s splitting capability to divide your archive into manageable portions:
rar a -v10M split_archive.rar large_files_folder/
  1. Optimizing Compression Ratios: A variety of compression methods are at your disposal. Experiment with these to find the balance between file size and extraction speed.
  2. Navigating Symbolic Links and Special Files: Take care when dealing with symbolic links and unique file types. Ensure that their integrity remains intact after extraction.
  3. Automation with Shell Scripts: Elevate your efficiency by creating shell scripts that automate routine RAR tasks, such as archiving and extracting specific folders.

Best Practices for Managing RAR Files on Linux

  1. Organizational Brilliance: Develop a structured approach to organizing your RAR archives. Implement a consistent naming convention for easy retrieval.
  2. Mastering Passwords and Encryption Keys: Safeguard your data by storing passwords and encryption keys in a secure location. Never embed them within the archive name.
  3. Vigilance for Data Integrity: Regularly scan your archives for errors and corruption using tools like ‘unrar’ or ‘rar’ with the ‘t’ flag.
  4. Backing Up Your RAR Treasures: Embrace a robust backup strategy to prevent data loss. Incorporate your RAR files into your larger backup routine.


In conclusion, the skillful manipulation of RAR files is a prized asset for Linux enthusiasts. Through meticulous extraction and artful creation, you can harness the potential of these archives to organize, compress, and transmit data with unparalleled efficiency. By mastering the ‘unrar’ and ‘rar’ commands, you’re poised to embark on a journey of streamlined file management, bolstered security, and heightened productivity. Dive into the world of RAR files on Linux with confidence, knowing that you’re equipped with the tools and knowledge to conquer the challenges of modern data management.


r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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