How to Extract ARC Files

By Tammy Clevenger

A file with a file extension of .arc is an archive file. Archive files are zipped, or compressed, files that may contain several files when extracted. Proprietary unzipping utilities such as WinRAR will open and extract ARC files. However, a free Windows utility designed specifically for the ARC compressed file format, FreeArc, is available for download at Download and install FreeArc to extract ARC files. FreeArc integrates with Windows Explorer and adds FreeArc options to the Windows Explorer context menu.

Open a Web browser and navigate to

Click the "Download" link at the top of the left navigation pane. The "Download" page opens.

Click the link labeled "download (7.9 mb)"---next to the "Windows Installer" tag---to download the Windows version of FreeArc. A Windows Portable version is also available, which you can install to a USB drive or other removable storage device. To download this version, click the link labeled "download (11.5 mb)" next to the "Portable Windows Package" tag. The file is downloaded in executable (.exe) format.

Double-click the executable installation file, once downloaded, to install the application. Insert the USB or other removable drive and double-click the installation file for the Portable version, if you downloaded this version. The installation routine launches.

Click "Next" to install the program. Click the "Location" box and navigate to the location where the FreeArc program will be installed. If installing the Portable version, select the USB drive or other removable device from the file navigation window. Click "Next."

Click "Finish." The FreeArc application is installed.

Right-click the Windows "Start" button and then click "Open Windows Explorer." The file manager opens. Navigate to the ARC file you wish to extract.

Right-click the ARC file to show the context menu.

Select the FreeArc option from the context menu.

Click the "Extract to Here" option to extract the files to the same folder as the ARC file, or click "Extract" to open a navigation box to navigate to another location. Click "OK" to select the extraction location.

Click the "Extract" button. All files are extracted from the ARC archived file.