Console RAR manual

User’s Manual
RAR 3.93 console version

Welcome to the RAR Archiver!


RAR is a powerful tool allowing you to manage and control archive
files. Console RAR supports archives only in RAR format, the names
of which usually have a “.rar” extension. ZIP and other formats
are not supported. Windows users may install GUI RAR version – WinRAR,
which is able to process many more archive types.

RAR features include:

*  Highly sophisticated, original compression algorithm
*  Special compression algorithms optimized for text, audio,
graphics data, 32 and 64-bit Intel executables
*  Better compression than similar tools, using ‘solid’ archiving
*  Authenticity verification (registered version only)
*  Self-extracting archives and volumes (SFX)
*  Ability to recover physically damaged archives
*  Locking, password, file order list, file security & more …

Configuration file

RAR for Unix reads configuration information from the file .rarrc
in the user’s home directory (stored in HOME environment variable)
or in /etc directory.

RAR for Windows reads configuration information from the file rar.ini,
placed in the same directory as the rar.exe file.

This file may contain the following string:

switches=any RAR switches, separated by spaces

For example:

switches=-m5 -s

Environment variable

Default parameters may be added to the RAR command line by establishing
an environment variable “RAR”.

For instance, in UNIX following lines may be added to your profile:

RAR=’-s -md1024′
export RAR

RAR will use this string as default parameters in the command line and
will create “solid” archives with 1024 KB sliding dictionary size.

RAR handles options with priority as following:

command line switches                   highest priority
switches in the RAR variable            lower priority
switches saved in configuration file    lowest priority

Log file

If the switch -ilog is specified in the command line or configuration
file, RAR will write informational messages, concerning errors
encountered while processing archives, into a log file. Read switch
-ilog description for more details.

The file order list for solid archiving – rarfiles.lst

rarfiles.lst contains a user-defined file list, which tells RAR
the order in which to add files to a solid archive. It may contain
file names, wildcards and special entry – $default. The default
entry defines the place in order list for files not matched
with other entries in this file. The comment character is ‘;’.

In Windows this file should be placed in the same directory as RAR
or in %APPDATA%\WinRAR directory, in Unix – to the user’s home directory
or in /etc.

Tips to provide improved compression and speed of operation:

– similar files should be grouped together in the archive;
– frequently accessed files should be placed at the beginning.

Normally masks placed nearer to the top of list have a higher priority,
but there is an exception from this rule. If rarfiles.lst contains such
two masks that all files matched by one mask are also matched by another,
that mask which matches a smaller subset of file names will have higher
priority regardless of its position in the list. For example, if you have
*.cpp and f*.cpp masks, f*.cpp has a higher priority, so the position of
‘filename.cpp’ will be chosen according to ‘f*.cpp’, not ‘*.cpp’.

RAR command line syntax


RAR <command>  [ -<switches> ]  <archive>  [ <@listfiles…> ]
[ <files…> ]  [ <path_to_extract\> ]


Command line options (commands and switches) provide control of
creating and managing archives with RAR. The command is a string (or a
single letter) which commands RAR to perform a corresponding action.
Switches are designed to modify the way RAR performs the action. Other
parameters are archive name and files to be archived into or extracted
from the archive.

Listfiles are plain text files that contain names of files to process.
File names should start at the first column. It is possible to
put comments to the listfile after // characters. For example,
you may create backup.lst containing the following strings:

c:\work\doc\*.txt         //backup text documents
c:\work\image\*.bmp       //backup pictures

and then run:

rar a backup @backup.lst

If you wish to read file names from stdin (standard input),
specify the empty listfile name (just @).

Win32 console RAR uses OEM (DOS) encoding in list files.

You may specify both usual file names and list files in the same
command line. If neither files nor listfiles are specified,
then *.* is implied and RAR will process all files

In a UNIX environment you need to quote wildcards to avoid them
being expanded by shell. For example, this command will extract
*.asm files from RAR archives in current path:

rar e ‘*.rar’ ‘*.asm’

Command could be any of the following:

a       Add files to archive.


1) add all *.hlp files from the current directory to
the archive help.rar:

rar a help *.hlp

2) archive all files from the current directory and subdirectories
to 362000 bytes size solid, self-extracting volumes
and add the recovery record to each volume:

rar a -r -v362 -s -sfx -rr save

Because no file names are specified, all files (*) are assumed.

3) as a special exception, if directory name is specified as
an argument and if directory name does not include file masks
and trailing backslashes, the entire contents of the directory
and all subdirectories will be added to the archive even
if switch -r is not specified.

The following command will add all files from the directory
Bitmaps and its subdirectories to the RAR archive Pictures.rar:

rar a Pictures.rar Bitmaps

4) if directory name includes file masks or trailing backslashes,
normal rules apply and you need to specify switch -r to process
its subdirectories.

The following command will add all files from directory Bitmaps,
but not from its subdirectories, because switch -r is not

rar a Pictures.rar Bitmaps\*

c       Add archive comment. Comments are displayed while the archive is
being processed. Comment length is limited to 62000 bytes


rar c distrib.rar

Also comments may be added from a file using -z[file] switch.
The following command adds a comment from info.txt file:

rar c -zinfo.txt dummy

cf      Add files comment. File comments are displayed when the ‘v’
command is given. File comment length is limited to 32767 bytes.


rar cf bigarch *.txt

ch      Change archive parameters.

This command can be used with most of archive modification
switches to modify archive parameters. It is especially
convenient for switches like -av, -cl, -cu, -tl, which do not
have a dedicated command.

It is not able to recompress, encrypt or decrypt archive data
and it cannot merge or create volumes. If used without any
switches, ‘ch’ command just copies the archive data without


Set archive time to latest file:

rar ch -tl files.rar

cw      Write archive comment to specified file.

Format of output file depends on -sc switch.

If output file name is not specified, comment data will be
sent to stdout.


1) rar cw arc comment.txt

2) rar cw -scuc arc unicode.txt

3) rar cw arc

d       Delete files from archive. Please note if the processing of this
command results in removing all the files from the archive,
the empty archive would removed.

e       Extract files to current directory.

f       Freshen files in archive. Updates those files changed since they
were packed to the archive. This command will not add new files
to the archive.

Find string in archives.

Supports following optional parameters:

i – case insensitive search (default);

c – case sensitive search;

h – hexadecimal search;

t – use ANSI, Unicode and OEM character tables (Win32 only);

If no parameters are specified, it is possible to use
the simplified command syntax i<string> instead of i=<string>

It is allowed to specify ‘t’ modifier with other parameters,
for example, ict=string performs case sensitive search
using all mentioned above character tables.


1) rar “ic=first level” -r c:\*.rar *.txt

Perform case sensitive search of “first level” string
in *.txt files in *.rar archives on the disk c:

2) rar ih=f0e0aeaeab2d83e3a9 -r e:\texts

Search for hex string f0 e0 ae ae ab 2d 83 e3 a9
in rar archives in e:\texts directory.

k       Lock archive. Any command which intends to change the archive
will be ignored.


rar k final.rar

l[t,b]  List contents of archive [technical]. Files are listed as with
the ‘v’ command with the exception of the file path. i.e. only
the file name is displayed. Optional technical information
(host OS, solid flag and old version flag) is displayed
when ‘t’ modifier is used. Modifier ‘b’ forces RAR to output
only bare file names without any additional information.

m[f]    Move to archive [files only]. Moving files and directories
results in the files and directories being erased upon
successful completion of the packing operation. Directories will
not be removed if ‘f’ modifier is used and/or ‘-ed’ switch is

p       Print file to stdout.

You may use this command together with -inul switch to disable
all RAR messages and print only file data. It may be important
when you need to send a file to stdout for use in pipes.

r       Repair archive. Archive repairing is performed in two stages.
First, the damaged archive is searched for a recovery record
(see ‘rr’ command). If the archive contains a recovery record
and if the portion of the damaged data is continuous and less
than N*512 bytes, where N is number of recovery sectors placed
into the archive, the chance of successful archive
reconstruction is very high. When this stage has been completed,
a new archive will be created, called fixed.arcname.rar,
where ‘arcname’ is the original (damaged) archive name.

If a broken archive does not contain a recovery record or if
the archive is not completely recovered due to major damage, a
second stage is performed. During this stage only the archive
structure is reconstructed and it is impossible to recover
files which fail the CRC validation, it is still possible,
however, to recover undamaged files, which were inaccessible
due to the broken archive structure. Mostly this is useful
for non-solid archives.

When the second stage is completed, the reconstructed archive
will be saved as rebuilt.arcname.rar, where ‘arcname’ is
the original archive name.

RAR/DOS32 version uses _recover.rar and _reconst.rar instead
of names mentioned aboves.

While the recovery is in progress, RAR may prompt the user for
assistance when a suspicious file is detected.

Suspicious entry

Name:  <possibly filename>
Size:  <size>    Packed: <compressed size>

Add it: Yes/No/All

Answer ‘y’ to add this entry to the file rebuilt.arcname.rar.


rar r buggy.rar

rc      Reconstruct missing and damaged volumes using recovery volumes
(.rev files). You need to specify any existing volume
as the archive name, for example, ‘rar rc backup.part03.rar’

Read ‘rv’ command description for information about
recovery volumes.

rn      Rename archived files.

The command syntax is:

rar rn <arcname> <srcname1> <destname1> … <srcnameN> <destnameN>

For example, the following command:

rar rn data.rar readme.txt readme.bak info.txt info.bak

will rename readme.txt to readme.bak and info.txt to info.bak
in the archive data.rar.

It is allowed to use wildcards in the source and destination
names for simple name transformations like changing file
extensions. For example:

rar rn data.rar *.txt *.bak

will rename all *.txt files to *.bak.

RAR does not check if the destination file name is already
present in the archive, so you need to be careful to avoid
duplicated names. It is especially important when using
wildcards. Such a command is potentially dangerous, because
a wrong wildcard may corrupt all archived names.

rr[N]   Add data recovery record. Optionally, redundant information
(recovery record) may be added to an archive. This will cause
a small increase of the archive size and helps to recover
archived files in case of floppy disk failure or data losses of
any other kind. A recovery record contains up to 524288 recovery
sectors. The number of sectors may be specified directly in the
‘rr’ command (N = 1, 2 .. 524288) or, if it is not specified by
the user, it will be selected automatically according to the
archive size: a size of the recovery information will be about
1% of the total archive size, usually allowing the recovery of
up to 0.6% of the total archive size of continuously damaged data.

It is also possible to specify the recovery record size in
percent to the archive size. Just append the percent character
to the command parameter. For example:

rar rr3% arcname

Note that if you run this command from .bat or .cmd file,
you need to use rr3%% instead of rr3%, because the command
processor treats the single ‘%’ character as the start of
a batch file parameter. You may also use ‘p’ instead of ‘%’,
so ‘rr3p’ will work too.

If data is damaged continuously, then each rr-sector helps to
recover 512 bytes of damaged information. This value may be
lower in cases of multiple damage.

The size of the recovery record may be approximately determined
by the formula <archive size>/256 + <number of recovery
sectors>*512 bytes.

rv[N]   Create recovery volumes (.rev files), which can be later
used to reconstruct missing and damaged files in a volume
set. This command makes sense only for multivolume archives
and you need to specify the name of the first volume
in the set as the archive name. For example:

rar rv3 data.part01.rar

This feature may be useful for backups or, for example,
when you posted a multivolume archive to a newsgroup
and a part of subscribers did not receive some of the files.
Reposting recovery volumes instead of usual volumes
may reduce the total number of files to repost.

Each recovery volume is able to reconstruct one missing
or damaged RAR volume. For example, if you have 30 volumes
and 3 recovery volumes, you are able to reconstruct any
3 missing volumes. If the number of .rev files is less than
the number of missing volumes, reconstructing is impossible.
The total number of usual and recovery volumes must not
exceed 255.

Original RAR volumes must not be modified after creating
recovery volumes. Recovery algorithm uses data stored both
in REV files and in RAR volumes to rebuild missing RAR volumes.
So if you modify RAR volumes, for example, lock them, after
creating REV files, recovery process will fail.

The optional <N> parameter specifies a number of recovery
volumes to create and must be less than the total number
of RAR volumes in the set. You may also append a percent
character to this parameter, in such case the number of
creating .rev files will be equal to this percent taken
from the total number of RAR volumes. For example:

rar rv15% data.part01.rar

RAR reconstructs missing and damaged volumes either when
using ‘rc’ command or automatically, if it cannot locate
the next volume and finds the required number of .rev files
when unpacking.

Original copies of damaged volumes are renamed to *.bad
before reconstruction. For example, volname.part03.rar
will be renamed to volname.part03.rar.bad.

s[name] Convert archive to SFX. The archive is merged with a SFX module
(using a module in file default.sfx or specified in the switch).
In the Windows version default.sfx should be placed in the
same directory as the rar.exe, in Unix – in the user’s
home directory, in /usr/lib or /usr/local/lib.

s-      Remove SFX module from the already existing SFX archive.
RAR creates a new archive without SFX module, the original
SFX archive is not deleted.

t       Test archive files. This command performs a dummy file
extraction, writing nothing to the output stream, in order to
validate the specified file(s).


Test archives in current directory:

rar t *

or for Unix:

rar t ‘*’

User may test archives in all sub-directories, starting
with the current path:

rar t -r *

or for Unix:

rar t -r ‘*’

u       Update files in archive. Adds files not yet in the archive
and updates files that have been changed since they were packed
into the archive.

v[t,b]  Verbosely list the contents of archive [technical].
Files are listed using the format: full pathname, file comment,
original and compressed size, compression ratio, last update
date and time, attributes, CRC, compression method and minimum
RAR version required to extract. Optional technical information
(host OS, solid flag and old file version flag) is displayed
when ‘t’ modifier is used. Modifier ‘b’ forces RAR to output
only bare file names without any additional information.

To list the contents of all archive volumes, use an asterisk
(‘*’) in place of the archive file extension or use the ‘-v’


1) list contents of system.rar archive (technical mode)
and redirect output to file techlist.lst

rar vt system >techlist.lst

2) list contents of tutorial.rar archive (bare file names mode)

rar vb tutorial

x       Extract files with full path.


rar x -av- -c- dime 10cents.txt

extract specified file to current path. AV check and comment
show are disabled.

Switches (used in conjunction with a command):

-?      Display help on commands and switches. The same as when none
or an illegal command line option is entered.

—      Stop switches scanning

This switch tells to RAR that there are no more switches
in the command line. It could be useful, if either archive
or file name starts from ‘-‘ character. Without ‘–‘ switch
such a name would be treated as a switch.


add all files from the current directory to the solid archive

RAR a -s — -StrangeName

-ac     Clear Archive attribute after compression or extraction
(Windows version only).

-ad     Append archive name to destination path.

This option may be useful when unpacking a group of archives.
By default RAR places files from all archives in the same
directory, but this switch creates a separate directory
for files unpacked from each archive.


rar x -ad *.rar data\

RAR will create subdirectories below ‘data’ for every unpacking

Generate archive name using the current date and time.

Appends the current date string to an archive name when
creating an archive. Useful for daily backups.

Format of the appending string is defined by the optional
“format” parameter or by “YYYYMMDDHHMMSS” if this parameter
is absent. The format string may include the following

Y   – year
M   – month
MMM – month name as text string (Jan, Feb, etc.)
W   – a week number (a week starts with Monday)
A   – day of week number (Monday is 1, Sunday – 7)
D   – day of month
E   – day of year
H   – hours
M   – minutes (treated as minutes if encountered after hours)
S   – seconds
N   – archive number. RAR searches for already existing archive
with generated name and if found, increments the archive
number until generating a unique name. ‘N’ format character
is not supported when creating volumes.

Each of format string characters listed above represents only
one character added to archive name. For example, use WW for
two digit week number or YYYY to define four digit year.

If the first character in the format string is ‘+’, positions
of the date string and base archive name are exchanged,
so a date will precede an archive name.

The format string may contain optional text enclosed in ‘{‘
and ‘}’ characters. This text is inserted into archive name.

All other characters are added to an archive name without

If you need to update an already existing archive, be careful
with -ag switch. Depending on the format string and time passed
since previous -ag use, generated and existing archive names
may mismatch. In this case RAR will create a new archive
instead of updating the already existing.


1) use the default YYYYMMDDHHMMSS format

rar a -ag backup

2) use DD-MMM-YY format

rar a -agDD-MMM-YY backup

3) use YYYYMMDDHHMM format, place date before ‘backup’

rar a -ag+YYYYMMDDHHMM backup

4) use YYYY-WW-A format, include fields description

rar a -agYYYY{year}-WW{week}-A{wday} backup

5) use YYYYMMDD and the archive number. It allows to generate
unique names even when YYYYMMDD format mask used more than
once in the same day

rar a -agYYYYMMDD-NN backup

-ai     Ignore file attributes.

If this switch is used when extracting, RAR does not set
general file attributes stored in archive to extracted files.
This switch preserves attributes assigned by operating system
to a newly created file.

In Windows it affects archive, system, hidden and read-only
attributes. in Unix – user, group, and others file permissions.

-ao     Add files with Archive attribute set
(Windows version only).


add all disk C: files with Archive attribute set
to the ‘f:backup’ and clear files Archive attribute

rar a -r -ac -ao f:backup c:\*.*

-ap     Set path inside archive. This path is merged to file
names when adding files to an archive and removed
from file names when extracting.

For example, if you wish to add the file ‘readme.txt’
to the directory ‘DOCS\ENG’ of archive ‘release’,
you may run:

rar a -apDOCS\ENG release readme.txt

or to extract ‘ENG’ to the current directory:

rar x -apDOCS release DOCS\ENG\*.*

-as     Synchronize archive contents

If this switch is used when archiving, those archived files
which are not present in the list of the currently added
files, will be deleted from the archive. It is convenient to
use this switch in combination with -u (update) to synchronize
contents of an archive and an archiving directory.

For example, after the command:

rar a -u -as backup sources\*.cpp

the archive ‘backup.rar’ will contain only *.cpp files
from directory ‘sources’, all other files will be deleted
from the archive. It looks similar to creating a new archive,
but with one important exception: if no files are modified
since the last backup, the operation is performed much faster
than the creation of a new archive.

-av     Put authenticity verification (registered versions only).
RAR will put, in every new and updated archive, information
concerning the creator, last update time and archive name.

If an archive, containing authenticity verification, is being
modified and this switch is not specified, the authenticity
verification information will be removed.

When extracting, testing, listing or updating an archive with
the ‘-av’ switch, RAR will perform integrity validation and
display the message:

Verifying authenticity information …

In the case of successful authenticity verification,
message ‘Ok’, creator name and last update information will be
displayed. In the case of authenticity verification failure,
message ‘FAILED’ will be displayed.

RAR authenticity verification can be forged and does not
provide the same level of security as modern digital signature
schemes based on public key infrastructure. We recommend
to use this RAR feature as informational only, like a special
archive comment. Avoid it in situations, when accurate
information about archive creator is important.

In order to enable the authenticity verification feature,
the program must be registered. Please contact your local
distribution site or the world-wide distribution center.

-av-    Disable authenticity verification checking or adding.

-cfg-   Ignore configuration file and RAR environment variable.

-cl     Convert file names to lower case.

-cu     Convert file names to upper case.

-c-     Disable comments show.

-df     Delete files after archiving

Move files to archive. This switch in combination with
the command “A” performs the same action as the command “M”.

-dh     Open shared files

Allows to process files opened by other applications
for writing.

This switch helps if an application allowed read access
to file, but if all types of file access are prohibited,
the file open operation will still fail.

This option could be dangerous, because it allows
to archive a file, which at the same time is modified
by another application, so use it carefully.

-dr     Delete files to Recycle Bin

Delete files after archiving and place them to Recycle Bin.
Available in Windows version only.

-ds     Do not sort files while adding to a solid archive.

-dw     Wipe files after archiving

Delete files after archiving. Before deleting file data
are overwritten by zero bytes to prevent recovery of
deleted files.

-ed     Do not add empty directories

This switch indicates that directory records are not to be
stored in the created archive. When extracting such archives,
RAR creates non-empty directories basing on paths of files
contained in them. Information about empty directories is
lost. All attributes of non-empty directories except a name
(access rights, streams, etc.) will be lost as well, so use
this switch only if you do not need to preserve such information.

If -ed is used with ‘m’ command or -df switch, RAR will not
remove empty directories.

-ee     Do not process extended attributes

Disables saving and restoring extended file attributes.
Only for OS/2 versions.

-en     Do not add “end of archive” block

By default, RAR adds an “end of archive” block to the end of
a new or updated archive. It allows to skip external data like
digital signatures safely, but in some special cases it may be
useful to disable this feature. For example, if an archive
is transferred between two systems via an unreliable link and
at the same time a sender adds new files to it, it may be
important to be sure that the already received file part will
not be modified on the other end between transfer sessions.

This switch cannot be used with volumes, because the end
of archive block contains information important for correct
volume processing.

-ep     Exclude paths from names. This switch enables files to be added
to an archive without including the path information. This
could, of course, result in multiple files existing in the
archive with the same name.

-ep1    Exclude base dir from names. Do not store the path entered in
the command line.


all files and directories from the directory tmp will be added
to the archive ‘test’, but the path in archived names will not
include ‘tmp\’

rar a -ep1 -r test tmp\*

This is equivalent to the commands:

cd tmp
rar a -r ..\test
cd ..

-ep2    Expand paths to full. Store full file paths (except a drive
letter and leading path separator) when archiving.

-ep3    Expand paths to full including the drive letter.
Win32 version only.

This switch stores full file paths including the drive
letter if used when archiving. Drive separators (colons)
are replaced by underscore characters.

If you use -ep3 when extracting, it will change
underscores back to colons and create unpacked files
in their original directories and disks. If the user
also specified a destination path, it will be ignored.

This switch can help to backup several disks to the same
archive. For example, you may run:

rar a -ep3 -r backup.rar c:\ d:\ e:\

to create backup and:

rar x -ep3 backup.rar

to restore it.

But be cautious and use -ep3 only if you are sure that
extracting archive does not contain any malicious files.
In other words, use it if you have created an archive yourself
or completely trust its author. This switch allows to overwrite
any file in any location on your computer including important
system files and should normally be used only for the purpose
of backup and restore.

Specifies file exclude or include attributes mask.

<attr> is a number in the decimal, octal (with leading ‘0’)
or hex (with leading ‘0x’) format.

By default, without ‘+’ sign before <attr>, this switch
defines the exclude mask. So if result of bitwise AND between
<attr> and file attributes is nonzero, file would not be

If ‘+’ sign is present, it specifies the include mask.
Only those files which have at least one attribute specified
in the mask will be processed.

In Windows version is also possible to use symbols D, S, H,
A and R instead of a digital mask to denote directories
and files with system, hidden, archive and read-only attributes.
The order in which the attributes are given is not significant.
Unix version supports D and V symbols to define directory
and device attributes.

It is allowed to specify both -e<attr> and -e+<attr>
in the same command line.


1) archive only directory names without their contents

rar a -r -e+d dirs

2) do not compress system and hidden files:

rar a -esh files

3) do not extract read-only files:

rar x -er files

-f      Freshen files. May be used with archive extraction or creation.
The command string “a -f” is equivalent to the command ‘f’, you
could also use the switch ‘-f’ with the commands ‘m’ or ‘mf’. If
the switch ‘-f’ is used with the commands ‘x’ or ‘e’, then only
old files would be replaced with new versions extracted from the

-hp[p]  Encrypt both file data and headers.

This switch is similar to -p[p], but switch -p encrypts
only file data and leaves other information like file names
visible. This switch encrypts all sensitive archive areas
including file data, file names, sizes, attributes, comments
and other blocks, so it provides a higher security level.
Without a password it is impossible to view even the list of
files in archive encrypted with -hp.


rar a -hpfGzq5yKw secret report.txt

will add the file report.txt to the encrypted archive
secret.rar using the password ‘fGzq5yKw’

Disable messages.

Switch -idc disables the copyright string.

Switch -idd disables “Done” string at the end of operation.

Switch -idp disables the percentage indicator.

Switch -idq turns on the quiet mode, so only error messages
and questions are displayed.

It is allowed to use several modifiers at once,
so switch -idcdp is correct.

Send archive by email. Win32 version only.

Attach an archive created or updated by the add command
to email message. You need to have a MAPI compliant email
client to use this switch (most modern email programs
support MAPI interface).

You may enter a destination email address directly
in the switch or leave it blank. In the latter case you
will be asked for it by your email program. It is possible
to specify several addresses separated by commas or semicolons.

If you append a dot character to -ieml, an archive will be
deleted after it was successfully attached to an email.
If the switch is used when creating a multivolume archive,
every volume is attached to a separate email message.

-ierr   Send all messages to stderr.

Log errors to file (registered version only).

Write error messages to rar.log file. If optional ‘name’
parameter is not specified, the log file is created
using the following defaults:

Unix:    .rarlog file in the user’s home directory;
Windows: rar.log file in %APPDATA%\WinRAR directory;
DOS:     rar.log file in the same directory as the rar32.exe.

If ‘name’ parameter includes a file name without path,
RAR will create the log file in default directory from
the list above using the specified name. Include both path
and name to ‘name’ parameter if you wish to change
the location of log file.


rar a -ilogc:\log\backup.log backup d:\docs

will create c:\log\backup.log log file in case of errors.

-inul   Disable all messages.

-ioff   Turn PC off after completing an operation. The hardware must
support the power off feature. Win32 version only.

-isnd   Enable sound.

-k      Lock archive. Any command which intends to change the archive
will be ignored.

-kb     Keep broken extracted files.

RAR, by default, deletes files with CRC errors after
extraction. The switch -kb specifies that files with
CRC errors should not be deleted.

-m<n>   Set compression method:

-m0   store     do not compress file when adding to archive
-m1   fastest   use fastest method (less compressive)
-m2   fast      use fast compression method
-m3   normal    use normal (default) compression method
-m4   good      use good compression method (more
compressive, but slower)
-m5   best      use best compression method (slightly more
compressive, but slowest)

If this switch is not specified, RAR uses -m3 method
(normal compression).

By default, RAR uses only the general compression
algorithm in -m1 and -m2 methods, advanced algorithms
like audio and true color processing are enabled
only in -m3..-m5 modes, the advanced text compression
is activated only in -m4..-m5. This default can be
overridden using -mc switch.

Set advanced compression parameters.

This switch is intended mainly for benchmarking and
experiments. In the real environment it is usually better
to allow RAR to select optimal parameters automatically.
Please note that improper use of this switch may lead
to very serious performance and compression loss, so use
it only if you clearly understand what you do.

It has the following syntax:

-mc[param1][:param2][module][+ or -]

where <module> is the one character field denoting a part
of the compression algorithm, which has to be configured.

It may have the following values:

A       – audio compression;
C       – true color (RGB) data compression;
D       – delta compression;
E       – 32-bit x86 executables compression;
I       – 64-bit Intel Itanium executables compression;
T       – text compression.

‘+’ sign at the end of switch applies the selected algorithm
module to all processed data, ‘-‘ disables the module at all.
If no sign is specified, RAR will choose modules automatically,
based on data and the current compression method.

Switch -mc- disables all optional modules and allows only
the general compression algorithm.

<Param1> and <Param2> are module dependent parameters
described below.

Audio compression, delta compression:

<Param1> is a number of byte channels (can be 1 – 31).
RAR splits multibyte channels to bytes, for example,
two 16-bit audio channels are considered by RAR as four
channels one byte each.

<Param2> is ignored.

32-bit x86 Intel executables compression,
64-bit Intel Itanium executables compression,
true color (RGB) data compression:

<Param1> and <Param2> are ignored.

Text compression:

<Param1> is the order of PPM algorithm (can be 2 – 63).
Usually a higher value slightly increases the compression ratio
of redundant data, but only if enough memory is available
to PPM. In case of lack of memory the result may be negative.
Higher order values decrease both compression and decompression

<Param2> is memory in megabytes allocated for PPM (1-128).
Higher values may increase the compression ratio, but note
that PPM uses the equal memory size both to compress and
decompress, so if you allocate too much memory when creating
an archive, other people may have problems when decompressing
it on a computer with less memory installed. Decompression
will be still possible using virtual memory, but it may
become very slow.


1) switch -mc1a+ forces use of 8-bit mono audio compression
for all data.

2) switch -mc10:40t+ forces use of text compression
algorithm for all data, sets the compression order to 10
and allocates 40 MB memory.

3) switch -mc12t sets the text compression order to 12,
when the text compression is used, but leaves to RAR to
decide when to use it.

4) switches -mct- -mcd- disable text and delta compression.

-md<n>  Select dictionary size <n> in KB. Must be 64, 128, 256, 512,
1024, 2048 or 4096 or a letter ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘f’, ‘g’

The sliding dictionary is a special memory area used by the
compression algorithm. If the size of the file being compressed
(or the total files size in the case of a solid archive) is
greater than the dictionary size, then increasing the dictionary
size will generally increase compression ratio, decrease packing
speed and increase memory requirements.

RAR can reduce the dictionary size if it is significantly
larger than the size of the source data. It helps to reduce
memory requirements without decreasing compression.

Default sliding dictionary size is 4096 KB.


RAR a -s -mdd sources *.asm
RAR a -s -md512 sources *.asm

Will create a solid archive using a 512 KB dictionary.

Specify file types to store.

Specify file types, which will be stored without compression.
This switch may be used to store already compressed files,
which helps to increase archiving speed without noticeable
loss in the compression ratio.

Optional <list> parameter defines the list of file extensions
separated by semicolons. For example, -msrar;zip;jpg will
force RAR to store without compression all RAR and ZIP
archives and JPG images. It is also allowed to specify wildcard
file masks in the list, so -ms*.rar;*.zip;*.jpg will work too.

If <list> is not specified, -ms switch will use the default
set of extensions, which includes the following file types:

7z, ace, arj, bz2, cab, gz, jpeg, jpg, lha, lzh, mp3,
rar, taz, tgz, z, zip

Set the number of threads. Available in Windows version only.

<threads> parameter can take values from 0 to 16.
It defines the recommended number of active threads
for compression algorithm. If it is greater than 0,
RAR will use the multithreaded version of compression
algorithm providing higher speed on multiprocessor
architectures. Real number of active threads can differ
from the specified.

If <threads> is zero, RAR will use the single threaded
compression algorithm.

Change of <threads> parameter slightly affects the compression
ratio, so archives created with different -mt switches
will not be exactly the same even if all other compression
settings are equal.

If -mt switch is not specified, RAR will try to detect
the number of available processors and select the optimal
number of threads automatically.

-n<f>   Include only the specified file <f>. Wildcards may be used
both in the name and file parts of file mask. You may specify
the switch ‘-n’ several times.

This switch does not replace usual file masks, which still
need to be entered in the command line. It is an additional
filter limiting processed files only to those matching
the include mask specified in -n switch. It can help to
reduce the command line length sometimes.

For example, if you need to compress all *.txt and *.lst
files in directories Project and Info, you can enter:

rar a -r text Project\*.txt Project\*.lst Info\*.txt Info\*.lst

or using the switch -n:

rar a -r -n*.txt -n*.lst text Project Info

-n@<lf> Include files listed in the specified list file.

Similar to -n<f> switch, but reads include masks from
the list file. If you use -n@ without the list file name
parameter, it will read file names from stdin.


rar a -r -n@inclist.txt text Project Info

-oc     Set NTFS Compressed attribute. Win32 version only.

This switch allows to restore NTFS Compressed attribute
when extracting files. RAR saves Compressed file attributes
when creating an archive, but does not restore them unless
-oc switch is specified.

-ol     Save symbolic links as the link instead of the file.
Unix version only.

-or     Rename extracted files automatically if file with the same name
already exists. Renamed file will get the name like
‘filename(N).txt’, where ‘filename.txt’ is the original file
name and ‘N’ is a number starting from 1 and incrementing
if file exists.

-os     Save NTFS streams. Win32 version only.

This switch has meaning only for NTFS file system and allows
to save alternative data streams associated with a file.
It is especially important in Windows 2000, XP and newer,
which use streams to keep some file dependent information
like file descriptions. If you use RAR to backup your
NTFS disks, it is recommended to specify this switch.

-ow     Use this switch when archiving to save file security
information and when extracting to restore it.

Unix RAR version saves file owner and group when using
this switch.

Win32 version stores owner, group, file permissions and
audit information, but only if you have necessary privileges
to read them. Note that only NTFS file system supports
file based security under Windows.

-o[+|-] Set the overwrite mode. Can be used both when extracting
and updating archived files. Following modes are available:

-o           Ask before overwrite
(default for extracting files);

-o+          Overwrite all
(default for updating archived files);

-o-          Skip existing files.

-p[p]   Encrypt files with the string <p> as password while archiving.
The password is case-sensitive. If you omit the password on the
command line, you will be prompted with message “Enter password”.


rar a -pmyhoney secret1 *.txt

add files *.txt and encrypt them with password “myhoney”.

-p-     Do not query password

-r      Recurse subdirectories. May be used with commands:
a, u, f, m, x, e, t, p, v, l, c, cf and s.

When used with the commands ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘f’, ‘m’ will process
files in all sub-directories as well as the current working

When used with the commands x, e, t, p, v, l, c, cf or s will
process all archives in sub-directories as well as the current
working directory.

-r-     Disable recursion.

Even without -r switch RAR can enable the recursion
automatically in some situations. Switch -r- prohibits it.

If you specify a directory name when archiving and if such
name does not include wildcards, by default RAR adds
the directory contents even if switch -r is not specified.
Also RAR automatically enables the recursion if disk root
without wildcards is specified as a file mask. Switch -r-
disables such behavior.

For example:

rar a -r- arc dirname

command will add only the empty ‘dirname’ directory and ignore
its contents. Following command:

rar a -r- arc c:\

will compress contents of root c: directory only and
will not recurse into subdirectories.

-r0     Similar to -r, but when used with the commands ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘f’,
‘m’ will recurse subdirectories only for those names, which
include wildcard characters ‘*’ and ‘?’

Set priority and sleep time. Available only in RAR for Windows.
This switch regulates system load by RAR in multitasking
environment. Possible task priority <p> values are 0 – 15.

If <p> is 0, RAR uses the default task priority.
<p> equal to 1 sets the lowest possible priority,
15 – the highest possible.

Sleep time <s> is a value from 0 to 1000 (milliseconds).
This is a period of time that RAR gives back to the system
after every read or write operation while compressing
or extracting. Non-zero <s> may be useful if you need to reduce
system load even more than can be achieved with <p> parameter.


execute RAR with default priority and 10 ms sleep time:

rar a -ri0:10 backup *.*

-rr[N]  Add a data recovery record. This switch is used when creating
or modifying an archive to add a data recovery record to
the archive. See the ‘rr[N]’ command description for details.

-rv[N]  Create recovery volumes. This switch is used when creating
a multivolume archive to generate recovery volumes.
See the ‘rv[N]’ command description for details.

-s      Create solid archive. Solid is a special archive type. Please
refer to the appendix “Glossary” for further information.


create solid archive sources.rar with 512 KB dictionary,
recursing all directories, starting with the current directory.
Add only .asm files:

rar a -s -md512 sources.rar *.asm -r

-s<N>   Create solid groups using file count

Similar to -s, but reset solid statistics after compressing
<N> files. Usually decreases compression, but also
decreases losses in case of solid archive damages.

Specify the character set for list files and archive
comment files.

‘Charset’ parameter is mandatory and can have one
of the following values:

U – Unicode;
A – ANSI (Windows) encoding. Windows version only;
O – OEM (DOS) encoding. Windows version only.

Files in Unicode format must have FFFE or FEFF Unicode
character in the beginning, otherwise RAR will ignore
this switch and process the file as ASCII text.

‘Objects’ parameter is optional and can have one of
the following values:

L – list files;
C – comment files.

It is allowed to specify more than one object, for example,
-scolc. If ‘objects’ parameter is missing, ‘charset’ is applied
to all objects.

This switch allows to specify the character set for files
in -z[file] switch, list files and comment files written by
“cw” command.


1) rar a -scol data @list

Read names contained in ‘list’ using OEM encoding.

2) rar c -scuc -zcomment.txt data

Read comment.txt as Unicode file.

3) rar cw -scuc data comment.txt

Write comment.txt as Unicode file.

-se     Create solid groups using extension

Similar to -s, but reset solid statistics if file extension
is changed. Usually decreases compression, but also
decreases losses from solid archive damages.

Create SFX archives. If this switch is used when creating a new
archive, a Self-Extracting archive (using a module in file
default.sfx or specified in the switch) would be created.
In the Windows version default.sfx should be placed in the
same directory as the rar.exe, in Unix – in the user’s
home directory, in /usr/lib or /usr/local/lib.


rar a -sfxwincon.sfx myinst

create SelF-eXtracting (SFX) archive using wincon.sfx

Read data from stdin (standard input), when creating
an archive. Optional ‘name’ parameter allows to specify
a file name of compressed stdin data in the created
archive. If this parameter is missing, the name will be
set to ‘stdin’. This switch cannot be used with -v.


type Tree.Far | rar a -siTree.Far tree.rar

will compress ‘type Tree.Far’ output as ‘Tree.Far’ file.

Process only those files, which size is less than
specified in <size> parameter of this switch.
Parameter <size> must be specified in bytes.

Process only those files, which size is more than
specified in <size> parameter of this switch.
Parameter <size> must be specified in bytes.

-sv     Create independent solid volumes

By default RAR tries to reset solid statistics as soon
as possible when starting a new volume, but only
if enough data was packed after a previous reset
(at least a few megabytes).

This switch forces RAR to ignore packed data size and attempt
to reset statistics for volumes of any size. It decreases
compression, but increases chances to extract a part of data
if one of several solid volumes in a volume set was lost
or damaged.

Note that sometimes RAR cannot reset statistics even
using this switch. For example, it cannot be done when
compressing one large file split between several volumes.
RAR is able to reset solid statistics only between separate
files, but not inside of single file.

Ignored if used when creating a non-volume archive.

-sv-    Create dependent solid volumes

Disables to reset solid statistics between volumes.

It slightly increases compression, but significantly reduces
chances to extract a part of data if one of several solid
volumes in a volume set was lost or damaged.

Ignored if used when creating a non-volume archive.

-s-     Disable solid archiving

-t      Test files after archiving. This switch is especially
useful in combination with the move command, so files will be
deleted only if the archive had been successfully tested.

Process only files modified after the specified date.

Format of the date string is YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.
It is allowed to insert separators like ‘-‘ or ‘:’ to
the date string and omit trailing fields. For example,
the following switch is correct: -ta2001-11-20
Internally it will be expanded to -ta20011120000000
and treated as “files modified after 0 hour 0 minutes
0 seconds of 20 November 2001″.

Process only files modified before the specified date.
Format of the switch is the same as -ta<date>.

-tk     Keep original archive date. Prevents RAR from modifying the
archive date when changing an archive.

-tl     Set archive time to newest file. Forces RAR to set the date of a
changed archive to the date of the newest file in the archive.

Process files newer than the specified time period. Format
of the time string is:


For example, use switch -tn15d to process files newer
than 15 days and -tn2h30m to process files newer than
2 hours 30 minutes.

Process files older than the specified time period. Format
of the switch is the same as -tn<time>.

Save or restore file time (modification, creation, access).

Switch -tsm instructs RAR to save file modification time,
-tsc – creation time and tsa – last access time. Optional
parameter after the switch is the number between 0 and 4
controlling the file time precision. Value ‘1’ enables
1 second precision, 2 – 0.0065536 sec, 3 – 0.0000256 sec and
4 or ‘+’ enables the maximum NTFS time precision, which is
equal to 0.0000001 sec. Value ‘0’ or ‘-‘ means that creation
and access time are not saved and low (two seconds) precision
is used for modification time. Higher precision modes add
more data to archive, up to 19 additional bytes per file
in case of -tsm4 -tsa4 -tsc4 combination. If no precision
is specified, RAR uses ‘4’ (high) value.

Default RAR mode is -tsm4 -tsc0 -tsa0, so modification time
is stored with the high precision and other times are ignored.

It is necessary to specify -tsc and -tsa switches to set
creation and access time when unpacking files (precision
is irrelevant, but must not be 0). By default RAR sets
only the modification time, even if archive contains
creation and last access time. Setting the modification
time to unpacked files may be also disabled with -tsm-.

It is possible to omit the time type letter if you need
to apply the switch to all three times. For example,
-tsm4 -tsa4 -tsc4 can be replaced by -ts4, -ts+ or -ts.
Use -ts- to save only the low precision modification time
or to ignore all three file times on unpacking.

When creating an archive, RAR automatically reduces
the precision if high mode is not supported by the file
system. It is not more than 2 seconds on FAT and 1 second
in Unix. NTFS time precision is 0.0000001 second.

Operating systems limit which time can be set on unpacking.
Windows allows to set all three times, Unix – modification
and last access, but not creation, DOS supports only
the modification time.


1) rar a -ts backup

Store all file times with the highest possible precision.

2) rar x -tsa backup

Restore modification and last access time. Switch -tsm
is not required, because RAR uses it by default.

3) rar a -tsm1 -tsc1 backup

Store low precision modification and creation time.
Without -tsm1 RAR would save the high precision modification

-u      Update files. May be used with archive extraction or creation.
The command string “a -u” is equivalent to the command ‘u’, you
could also use the switch ‘-u’ with the commands ‘m’ or ‘mf’. If
the switch ‘-u’ is used with the commands ‘x’ or ‘e’, then files
not present on the disk and files newer than their copies on the
disk would extracted from the archive.

-v      Create volumes with size autodetection or list all volumes

This switch may be used when creating or listing volumes.

In the first case it enables volume size autodetection,
so new volumes will use all available space on the destination
media. It is convenient when creating volumes on removable
disks. You may read more about volumes in -v<size> description.

In the second case, when this switch is used together with
‘V’ or ‘L’ command, it forces RAR to list contents of all
volumes starting from that specified in the command line.
Without this switch RAR displays contents of only one single
specified volume.

Create volumes with size=<size>*1000 [*1024 | *1].
By default this switch uses <size> as thousands (1000) of bytes
(not 1024 x bytes). You may also enter the size in kilobytes
using the symbol ‘k’, in bytes using the symbol ‘b’,
megabytes – ‘m’, millions of bytes – ‘M’, gigabytes – ‘g’,
billions (milliards) of bytes – ‘G’ or select one of several
predefined values using the symbol ‘f’ following the numerical
value. Predefined values can be 360, 720, 1200, 1440 or 2880
and replaced with corresponding floppy disk size.

If the size is omitted, autodetection will be used.

You may specify several -v switches to set different sizes
for different volumes. For example:

rar a -v100k -v200k -v300k arcname

sets 100 KB size for first volume, 200 KB for second
and 300 KB for all following volumes.

If volumes are created on removable media, then after
the creation of the first volume, the user will be prompted

Create next volume: Yes/No/All

At this moment in time, you should change the disks. Answering
‘A’ will cause all volumes to be created without a pause.

By default RAR volumes have names like ‘volname.partNNN.rar’,
where NNN is the volume number. Using -vn switch it is
possible to switch to another, extension based naming scheme,
where the first volume file in a multi-volume set has
the extension .rar, following volumes are numbered from .r00
to .r99.

When extracting or testing a multi-volume archive you must use
only the first volume name. If there is no next volume
on the drive and the disk is removable, the user will be
prompted with:

Insert disk with <next volume name>

Insert the disk with the correct volume and press any key.

If while extracting, the next volume is not found and volumes
are placed on the non-removable disk, RAR will abort with
the error message:

Cannot find <volume name>

Archive volumes may not be modified. The commands ‘d’, ‘f’, ‘u’,
‘s’ cannot be used with Multi-volume sets. The command ‘a’ may
be used only for the creation of a new multi-volume sequence.

It is possible, although unlikely, that the file size, of a file
in a multi-volume set, could be greater than its uncompressed
size. This is due to the fact that ‘storing’ (no compression if
size increases) cannot be enabled for multi-volume sets.

Archive volumes may be Self-Extracting (SFX). Such an archive
should be created using both the ‘-v’ and ‘-sfx’ switches.


create archive in volumes of fixed size:

rar a -s -v1440 floparch.rar *.*

will create solid volumes of size 1440000 bytes.

-vd     Erase disk contents before creating volume

All files and directories on the target disk will be erased
when ‘-vd’ is used.  The switch applies only to removable
media, the hard disk cannot be erased using this switch.

-ver[n] File version control

Forces RAR to keep previous file versions when updating
files in the already existing archive. Old versions are
renamed to ‘filename;n’, where ‘n’ is the version number.

By default, when unpacking an archive without the switch
-ver, RAR extracts only the last added file version, the name
of which does not include a numeric suffix. But if you specify
a file name exactly, including a version, it will be also
unpacked. For example, ‘rar x arcname’ will unpack only
last versions, when ‘rar x arcname file.txt;5’ will unpack
‘file.txt;5’, if it is present in the archive.

If you specify -ver switch without a parameter when unpacking,
RAR will extract all versions of all files that match
the entered file mask. In this case a version number is
not removed from unpacked file names. You may also extract
a concrete file version specifying its number as -ver parameter.
It will tell RAR to unpack only this version and remove
a version number from file names. For example,
‘rar x -ver5 arcname’ will unpack only 5th file versions.

If you specify ‘n’ parameter when archiving, it will limit
the maximum number of file versions stored in the archive.
Old file versions exceeding this threshold will be removed.

-vn     Use the old style volume naming scheme

By default RAR volumes have names like ‘volname.partNNN.rar’,
where NNN is the volume number. Using -vn switch it is
possible to switch to another, extension based naming scheme,
where the first volume file in a multi-volume set has
the extension .rar, following volumes are numbered from .r00
to .r99. It may have sense, if you are going to unpack
an archive under the plain MS DOS, which does not allow
more than one dot in a file name.

-vp     Pause before each volume

By default RAR asks for confirmation before creating or
unpacking next volume only for removable drives.
This switch forces RAR to ask such confirmation always.
It can be useful if disk space is limited and you wish
to copy each volume to another media immediately after

-w<p>   Assign work directory as <p>. This switch may be used to assign
the directory for temporary files.

-x<f>   Exclude specified file <f>, wildcards may be used both
in the name and file parts of file mask. You may specify
the switch ‘-x’ several times.

If mask contains wildcards, it applies to current directory
and its subdirectories. It is not recursive without wildcards,
so if you wish to exclude some “filename” in all directories,
you need to specify two masks: “filename” for current directory
and “*\filename” for subdirectories. If you know an exact path
to file, you can use “path\filename” syntax to exclude only
this copy of “filename”. If you use -xpath\filename syntax
when unpacking an archive, “path” must be a path inside of
archive, not a file path on the disk after unpacking.


1) rar a -r -x*.bak -x*.rar rawfiles

*.bak and *.rar files will not be added to rawfiles

2) rar a -r -x*\temp -x*\temp\* savec c:\*

compress all files on the disk c: except temp directories
and files inside of temp directories

3) rar x -x*.txt docs

extract all files except *.txt from docs.rar

-x@<lf> Exclude files listed in the specified list file. If you use -x@
without the list file name parameter, it will read file names
from stdin.


rar a -x@exlist.txt arch *.exe

-y      Assume Yes on all queries.

-z[f]   Read archive comment from file <f>. Use with -sc switch
if you need to specify the character set for comment text file.
If <f> is not specified, comment is read from stdin.


Pathname is limited to 259 symbols.

Maximum archive comment length is 62000 bytes.

Command limitations:

The commands ‘d’,’u’,’f’,’c’,’cf’ will not operate with archive

The command ‘a’ cannot be used to update an archive volume, only to
create a new one.

Exit values

RAR exits with a zero code (0) in case of successful operation. The exit
code of non-zero means the operation was cancelled due to an error:

255   USER BREAK       User stopped the process

9   CREATE ERROR     Create file error

8   MEMORY ERROR     Not enough memory for operation

7   USER ERROR       Command line option error

6   OPEN ERROR       Open file error

5   WRITE ERROR      Write to disk error

4   LOCKED ARCHIVE   Attempt to modify an archive previously locked
by the ‘k’ command

3   CRC ERROR        A CRC error occurred when unpacking

2   FATAL ERROR      A fatal error occurred

1   WARNING          Non fatal error(s) occurred

0   SUCCESS          Successful operation


Archive      Special file containing one or more files optionally
compressed and/or encrypted.

Compression  A method of encoding data to reduce it’s size.

CRC          Cyclic Redundancy Check. Mathematical method calculating
special checking information for data validity.

SFX          Archive module used to extract files from when executed.
(SelF-eXtracting module), usually in the form of a .EXE

Solid        An archive packed using a special compression method which
sees all files as one continuous data stream. Particularly
advantageous when packing a large number of small files.

Volume       Part of a split archive. Splitting an archive to volumes
allows storing them on diskettes. Solid volumes must be
extracted starting from first in sequence.


(c) 1993-2010 Alexander Roshal