Downloading a RAR or 7-Zip file often requires additional software or actions in Windows 11. However, Microsoft is set to alter this situation by introducing built-in support for RAR and 7-Zip file formats in the new Windows 11 update.
In May of this year, Microsoft revealed its plans to incorporate native support for opening RAR files at its annual Build 2023 conference. Windows has supported .ZIP files since 1998, but for reasons not disclosed, Microsoft had prohibited itself from including .RAR support for a span of 28 years.
What Are Archive File Formats?
Archive file formats help bundle multiple files into a single file for storing or sharing purposes. It’s like storing several documents or pictures into a digital “box.” These formats compress the files, making them smaller in size, which can save space and make them easier to transfer. When you want to use the files again, you can “unpack” or extract them from the archive. Common archive formats include ZIP, RAR, and 7-Zip.
Windows 11 Makes RAR Files a Breeze – No WinRAR Needed
Windows 11 now offers an optional update that allows users to effortlessly open and extract RAR files, eliminating the need for third-party tools. Additionally, Windows 11 users can also enjoy native support for well-known file formats such as .7z and .tar.
The KB50311455 update, which is optional, introduced compatibility for 10 additional file archive formats, including .7z, .tar, .txz, .tzst, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tbz2, .tar.zst, .tar.xz, .tgz.
This enhancement was included in the October optional KB5031455 Preview update. To access this new archive file feature, navigate to Settings, then to Windows Update, and opt for ‘Check for Updates.‘ When your device locates the new optional update, simply click the ‘Download and install’ button.
Microsoft incorporated this support for the new file formats from the open-source libarchive project. This suggests the possibility of future support for formats like XAR and LZH as well.
In addition to introducing support for RAR and 7-zip file formats, the optional update also seamlessly activates the latest features from the Windows 11 Moment 4 update. This encompasses a revamped File Explorer, a novel Backup app, the incorporation of passkeys, and the much-awaited Co-pilot for Windows.
This update is undoubtedly a positive development. It is particularly significant because RAR, ZIP, and 7-Zip archive formats have been widely embraced by users across different versions of Windows. With this update, Windows 11 is not only streamlining RAR file handling but also introducing exciting new features from the Windows 11 Moment 4 update, enhancing the overall user experience.