RAR is a compressed file format that dates back to the early 1990s. It’s one of the numerous formats users can compress multiple files into single archives with. Although RAR is a file format, it’s more like a compressed folder that you can group a collection of files in. As the files within a RAR archive have been compressed, their combined total file size is reduced.
Compressing files with archive formats can come in handy for users who need to share lots of images or videos via email. Most webmail clients, such as Gmail, have maximum file attachment limits for emails. If a group of files you need to attach to an email eclipses your webmail provider’s maximum attachment size limit, compressing them within a smaller RAR archive might enable you to send them within a single email.
Aside from file distribution, RAR archives can also be utilized for file protection. Users can encrypt groups of files by compressing them within password-protected RAR archives. Anybody who tries to open the encrypted RAR will need to enter the password for the archive to extract its files. So, compressing files within archives can also be an encryption method.
Method 1: How to Create Password to a RAR File with WinRAR
To password protect a RAR file, you’ll need to install a third-party file compression utility. WinRAR is one of the better file compression software packages with which you can set up an extract RAR archives. Note, however, that WinRAR isn’t freeware. Nevertheless, you can still try out WinRAR for 40 days without stumping up for it. This is how to set a password on a RAR file with WinRAR.
Step 1: First, click “Download WinRAR” on the WinRAr webpage to save the installer for that software.
Step 2: Open File Explorer by pressing the Windows and E keys at the same time.
Step 3: Open the folder you downloaded WinRAR to within File Explorer.
Step 4: Click the downloaded setup file for WinRAR to install the software.
Step 5: Then open the WinRAR software shown directly below.
Step 6: Next, type the folder path that includes the files you’re going to include within the RAR in WinRAR’s path bar. Then press the Enter key.
Step 7: Press and hold the Ctrl key, and select the files to include within the RAR archives.
Step 8: Click the “Add button” to open the Archive name and parameters window in the snapshot directly below.
Step 9: Enter a title for the RAR file within the Archive name box.
Step 10: The “RAR” radio button should be selected by default. However, select RAR if that option isn’t selected.
Step 11: You can select “Best” on the “Compression method” drop-down menu for the maximum file compression. For quicker compression, however, select a lower option.
Step 12: Click the “Set password” button.
Step 13: Type in a password within the text boxes on the Enter password window.
Step 14: Click the “OK” button to exit the Enter password window.
Step 15: Press the “OK” to initiate the compression.
Thereafter, your encrypted RAR file will be saved in the same folder as the files you selected for it. Open the folder that includes your new RAR archive within File Explorer. Clicking the RAR archive will open its contents in the WinRAR window. You’ll need to enter the password to open the RAR files or extract it within WinRAR.
Method 2: How to Create Password to an Existing RAR File
It’s not essential to set up RAR archives from scratch to encrypt them. You can also add passwords to RAR files that aren’t encrypted. This is how to put passwords on RAR files that have already been set up with WinRAR.
Step 1: Open the WinRAR utility.
Step 2: Input the location of the folder that includes your RAR archive within WinRAR’s path box, and press the Enter key.
Step 3: Select the RAR file you need to add a password to.
Step 4: Click “Tools” > “Convert archives” to open the window shown in the snapshot directly below.
Step 5: Deselect the Archive type checkboxes for all the formats that aren’t RAR. The “rar (1)” checkbox must remain selected.
Step 6: Click the “Compression” option to open the Set default compression options window.
Step 7: Press the “Set Password” button.
Step 8: Enter a password for the archive in the text boxes, and click the “OK” option.
Step 9: Click “OK” on the Archiving with password window.
Step 10: The Convert dialog box window shown directly below will then open. Click “Yes” on that dialog box to provide confirmation.
Step 11: Then press the “OK” option to add the password to the RAR archive.
How to Open Password-Protected RAR Files With Passwords
You can open (extract) your password-protected RAR files with any file compression software. 7-Zip is a freeware file compression utility you can open encrypted RAR files with. This is how you can open your encrypted RAR archives with 7-Zip.
Step 1: First, open 7-Zip’s webpage in a browser.
Step 2: Click one of the “Download” links for 7-Zip.
Step 3: Open the folder that includes the downloaded 7-Zip setup wizard in File Explorer.
Step 4: Install 7-Zip with its setup file.
Step 5: Then open the 7-Zip utility.
Step 7: Next, open the folder that includes your encrypted RAR file within the 7-Zip window.
Step 8: Select your password-protected RAR in 7-Zip.
Step 9: Click the “Extract” button to open the window in the screenshot directly below.
Step 10: Click the “…” button to open the Browse to Folder window.
Step 11: Then select a folder to extract the RAR to, and click the “OK” option.
Step 12: Press the “OK” button on the Extract window.
Step 13: Then input the password for your encrypted RAR in the Enter password text box.
Step 14: Click “OK” on the Enter password window.
Thereafter, open the folder you extracted the RAR file to. The extracted folder is a standard one that includes all the files contained within the RAR archive. Now you can open that extracted folder to view the files within the encrypted RAR.
How to Open Password-Protected RAR Files Without Password
However, you can’t extract encrypted RAR archives without passwords with any file compression utility. If you’ve forgotten the password for an encrypted RAR file, check out the PassFab for RAR software. PassFab for RAR enables users to recover lost passwords for RAR files. That utility includes three alternative methods for recovering RAR passwords.
PassFab for RAR is currently available at a discounted $15.95. This RAR password cracker utility is usually retailing at $79.9 for its one-time purchase. You can also snap up PassFab for RAR with one-month or year licenses. You can try out that software by clicking the “Free Trial” button on the PassFab for RAR’s webpage.
Step 1: To recover a password for a RAR file, open your PassFab for RAR software.
Step 2: Next, click the “Add” button on PassFab’s window to select a RAR file to recover the password for.
Step 3: Select the “Brute Force Attack” option.
Step 4: Press the “Start” button to initiate password recovery.
Step 5: Hopefully, PassFab for RAR will recover the password and display a window like the one directly below. Click “Copy” on that window, and note down the password.
Step 6: Click “OK” to exit the window.
Step 7: Thereafter, try opening your encrypted RAR archive with the recovered password.
So, that’s how to protect RAR files with passwords, open encrypted RAR archives, and recover passwords for them. Creating compressed RAR archives is a quick and easy way to encrypt files on your PC, which can also save a bit of hard drive space. You can also set up other encrypted archive formats, such as ZIP and RAR4, with WinRAR. So, it’s worth installing an archive utility on your PC for both file encryption and sharing purposes.