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by JB Burke

Q. A friend sent me an email with an attachment with a .RAR extension. How do I open that?

A. First, make sure your friend really sent the attachment. Some emails are generated by evildoers who “spoof” (imitate innocent people) email addresses and sometimes send infected attachments. Once you've verified that, then you need to open the attachment.

There are several free programs that can open compressed files such as RARs. The one I use is IZArc. IZArc will extract RAR, ZIP and many other archives. The program can be found here.  Download IZArc and either save it somewhere you can find it, or run it. When you run the file, give whatever permissions your version of Windows requires in order to allow it to install.

When you get “Welcome to the IZArc x.x.x Setup Wizard”, click Next.
Accept the agreement, click Next.
Click through the next few screens except “install Internet Explorer” (unless you really want to). Otherwise say no to that, and then click Install.
Next, select English (or any language you like).
The next screen is “File Associations”, in other words, the files you'd like IZArc to open for you. I generally choose to click OK here.
Click Finish. If it opens a Notepad file, just close it.

Now, any .RAR or .ZIP file you double click on (in Windows Explorer or an email) will be opened by IZArc. You can then view, execute, play or extract whatever is inside the archive.

Published: Courier 3/20/11 - Page 5C