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How to create, open, extract ARC files

Work with FreeArc ARC archives free compression and extraction utility
How to manage create encrypt open extract unzip ARC files on Windows and Linux






Work with ARC files, compression and extraction

PeaZip provides full read-write support (create, open and extract arc files) for FreeARC ARC/WRC format on Linux and Windows using FreeArc as backend compression / extraction executable - please note SEA ARC is a separate, non compatible archive format.

work with arc files on windows and linux

Compress to ARC format

To add files/folders to a new archive or into an existing .arc file

  • Compress to ARC from system file explorer

    • Context menu entry PeaZip > Add to archive, shows archive creation screen, to set compression settings, output destination, encryption (password protection), and other archiving options.

  • Create arc files from PeaZip
    • Use Add button (or Add context menu entry) to show archive creation screen

    • Drag and drop files / folders from the system to a PeaZip instance; if you are browsing an existing archive you will be asked if you want to add files to current archive or create a new one

create arc files

From archive creation screen it is also possible to apply encryption (Blowfish, Twofish, AES, and Serpent cyphers are supported) to password-protect the archive, create recovery records (which allows to recover mildly corrupted archives), and to split file - create multiple volumes smaller than desired maximum output size. From "Advanced" tab, it is possible to further fine-tune compression settings.
Learn more about how to create arc, tar, zip archive files

Update existing ARC archives

Easiest way to update an existing ARC archive is opening it in PeaZip and dragging files/folders to it, read more about how to update existing archives.

Press cancel or "Delete from archive" button to remove items already in archive, view also: add or delete data from archive.

Converting existing archives from / to .arc format is possible using Convert button, which extracts and then re-pack input archive files, view faq about how to convert arc, rar, zip files

free arc files extraction utility

Open ARC files

Open arc files in PeaZip with double click, or context menu "Open as archive" entry, that will attempt to read any user provided file type regardless file extension associations

Extract ARC files

Decompress ARC files from the system

  • Context menu PeaZip > Extract... shows archive extraction screen, to set output path, password (if needed) and other extraction options

  • Select one or more archives and use context menu  Extract here or Extract here (to new folder) for quick extraction with no further confirmation

Extract ARC files from PeaZip application
  • Extract button shows archive extraction screen providing access to all decompression options

  • Extract all to... button starts simplified unpacking procedure, only asking for output path

  • As alternative, simply drag & drop from the application to the system the items you want to extract

arc files extraction

Doubleclick on an archived file to open it in preview mode, to inspect its content before real extraction

To browse or extract a spanned (split) ARC file, save all the parts in same directory, open the first volume (.ARC.001 extension).

Work with encrypted ARC files

To create or extract an encrypted .arc file, enter the password from the padlock icon, alternatively click Tools > Enter password / keyfile in main menu, or F9 accelerator key.

unzip arc files

Password protected items are marked by * sign after filename.
ARC ecryption algorithm can be changed in Advanced tab, supported cyphers are Blowfish (448bit cypher with 64 bit blocks), Twofish256, AES256 (default), Serpent256.
Read more about how to create encrypted archives and how to extract encrypted archives

ARC extension designates the native archive format developed for  FreeArcwhat is .arc file, a modern open source file archiver created by Bulat Ziganshin, featuring high level of compression (11 lossless data compression algorithms and filtes are supported, including LZMA and PPMD) with good efficiency (Tom's Hardware comparativearc vs rar vs 7z benchmark) comparable or better than rar format and in many cases also of 7z format, strong encryption (AES, Blowfish, and AES contest finalist algorithms Twofish, and Serpent), and ability to create recovery records (option which is notably featured by proprietary RAR format but not by open format 7Z). The file format is also known with WRC extension.

Maximum size of ARC file format

The max size of ARC files is 2^63 bytes (8 exabytes of total size of the archive), filesize field represented by a signed 64 bit integer, exceeding current needs and limitations of common filesystems.

Maximum number of files in a single ARC archive

The maximum number of input files allowed into a singe ARC package is limited to 2^31 (max 2 billion files), file number filed represented by a signed 32 bit integer, which - like maximum archive size limit - practically exceeds current needs.

freearc arc format features

FreeArc's format must not be confused with 1985 SEA's ARC format.arc file definition, using same .arc file extension. The company pionereed the data compression in BBS era, but ARC program fell in popularity after the introduction of more efficient Phil Katz's PKARC, which later developed largely modified and improved ZIP format for PKZIP program, in response to the notorious lawsuit ensued between SEA and PKWARE.

Types of files with .arc extension supported by PeaZip

PeaZip features creation and extraction of ARC files: create, open, browse, and extract ARC archives, convert any supported archive to .arc format and vice-versa. Also, the application supports creation of arc-format self extracting archives (SFX), so recipient will not need a FreeArc compatible extractor when receiving one of those self-extracting files.
PeaZip currently does not support reading, nor writing, the unrelated SEA's ARC format.

what are arc files

arc extension

Read more .arc file type FreeArc Wikipedia entryFreeArc software, PPMdWikipedia prediction by partial matching and LZMA/LZMA2Lempel Ziv Markov chain algorithm data compression algorithms, AESwikipedia aes algorithm, Twofishtwofish algorithm, SerpentSerpent algorithm ciphers.




Author Bulat Ziganshin, 2007
8 EB max total archive size limit
2 billions files limit in a single archive

SPEED arc format specs

Arc format features good speed. Very efficient implementation makes it significantly faster than 7Z compression and extraction (and marginally faster than RAR), with comparable compression ratio.

COMPRESSION RATIO arc format specifications

Arc archives features very good compression ratio. Comparable to 7-Zip with LZMA / LZMA2 compression, consistently better than RAR format, but inferior to PAQ compressors family.

ADVANCED OPTIONS arc format aes sperpent tworfish encryption

Arc format features a very good selection of advanced functions. Built-in support for AES, Twofish and Serpent encryption, and optional creation of recovery records - ARC is one of the few file types alongside RAR providing error recovery feature.

Synopsis: Work with FreeArc ARC archives using PeaZip free compression and extraction utility. How to manage, create, encrypt, open, extract (unzip) ARC files on Windows and Linux machines. Update and convert existing ARC archives. Specs and features of ARC file extension-

Topics: create ARC files, open and extract ARC archives, FreeARC format specs

PeaZip > FAQ > How to create, encrypt, open, extract ARC files

open and extract arc filesWORK WITH SUPPORTED FILE TYPES

Create, open, extract 7Z files

Open and extract ACE files

Create, open, extract ARC files

Create, open, extract Brotli files

Compress, decompress Bzip2 files

Open and extract CAB files

Compress, decompress GZip files

Open and extract DMG, ISO, UDF disk images

Create, open, extract PAQ, LPAQ, ZPAQ files

PEA: Pack Encrypt Authenticate

Open and extract RAR files

Create, open, extract TAR, TGZ, TBZ files

Create, open, extract WIM disk images

Create, open, extract ZIP files

Create, open, extract ZIPX files

Create, open, extract Zstandard files

Compress to ARC format
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