How to Unrar Files in Linux

Roshal Archive (RAR) is a file format designed to compress and archive data. Once you download rar files from the Internet, you need a program that will extract them – unpack or unrar them. Since this program doesn’t come pre-installed in most Linux installations, you need to acquire it elsewhere. This guide explains where to find unrar, and how to use it to unrar files in Linux.

Installing the Unrar Application

Make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet.

Open up the Linux shell if you are currently in the Linux GUI.

  • The shell can be opened by using the following key combination: Control + ALT + F1.
  • You can also open a Terminal that acts as a shell from your System Tools folder.
  • All commands listed below can be entered at the command line in the Linux shell or Terminal.

Use the right command to download unrar into your Linux installation.

The following commands require root privileges, so you should be logging in using su (or sudo). Type in your login and password to log as root.

  • Users of Debian Linux should type in the following command: “apt-get install unrar” or “apt-get install unrar-free”.
  • If you are using Fedora Core Linux, type in the following command: “yum install unrar”.
  • Arch Linux users should install from extra repository using “pacman -S unrar”.
  • Users of OpenBSD type in this command: “pkg_add –v –r unrar”.
  • Suse10 users can enter “yast2 –i unrar”.
  • Suse11 users can enter “zipper install unrar”.

Download the binary package directly from rarlab if the above commands don’t work.

  • Type “cd /tmp”.
  • Type “wget ”.
  • Unrar the file with the following command: “tar -zxvf rarlinux-3.9.1.tar.gz”.

Locate the rar and unrar commands in the rar directory.

  • Enter “cd rar”.
  • Type “./unrar”.

Copy the rar and unrar to the /usr/local/bin directory with the following command:

“cp rar unrar /usr/local/bin”. The unrar command is now available for use in your Linux installation.

Using the Unrar Application

Extract files with the full path with the command “unrar x file.rar”.

This is probably what you want.

Dump all files(excluding folders) into the current directory with the command “unrar e file.rar”.

List the files inside a rar archive with the command “unrar l file.rar”.

Test the integrity of an archive with the command “unrar t file.rar”.


  • If you are uncomfortable with the command line and are looking for a GUI RAR interface for your Linux installation, you can try out PeaZip. PeaZip works in Gnome and KDE and is available in DEB or RPM.
  • RAR3 is the current version of the RAR format. It added the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 128-bit key length. It also supports files larger than 4 Gigabytes and Unicode names.
  • RAR files can only be created through commercial software, but they can be unpacked using the free unrar command line tool in Linux.


  • If you receive error messages during the installation of the unrar command, log in as super user by typing “sudo -s” and your password. This gives you the appropriate installation permissions.

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