ARC File - opening and understanding

Did your computer fail to open an ARC file? We explain what they are used for and recommend software that we know can open or otherwise handle your .ARC files.

What is an ARC file?

An .ARC file is an ARC compressed archive file. Files that contain the .arc file extension are compressed archive files. An archive file is a batch of files combined into a single file for easier distribution. Compressing the files means they have been reduced in size to save storage space and bandwidth. You will need a "decompressor" tool to access the contents of these files.

The ARC format was invented by System Enhancement Associates (SEA) in the 80s, and you needed their tool, also named "arc", to compress and decompress ARC files.

It is one of the very first predecessors of archive formats like ZIP files. Today, the original ARC format is no longer used, but a range of modern software tools can still decompress these older archive files.

How to open ARC files

You will need a program compatible with the specific file you are trying to open, as different programs may use files with file extension ARC for different purposes. We have identified 2 ARC openers for Windows that is compatible with this specific type of ARC file.

Programs that open these files

BitZipperBitZipperVerified
PowerArchiverPowerArchiverVerified
We have not yet verified any programs for Mac that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!
We have not yet verified any web services that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!

Other file formats using extension .ARC

While ARC compressed archive is a popular type of ARC-file, we know of 6 different uses of the .ARC extension.

The ARC file extension indicates to your device which app can open the file. However, different apps may use the same file extension for different types of data. So an ARC opener may not be able to open all kinds of ARC files. In this case, look through all formats to make sure you find the best suited ARC viewer.

FreeArc compressed archive

Some .ARC files are compressed archive files created with FreeArc. An archive file is a set of files bundled into a single file for easier distribution on the internet, and compressing (reducing the size of the file) is done to save bandwidth.

FreeArc was a compression tool that used different compression algorithms depending on each file type in the archive. One algorithm was used to e.g., compress sound files, and other algorithms were used to compress executable files.

Benchmarking showed that FreeArc was able to beat popular programs like WinZip, 7-Zip, and WinRAR regarding compression efficiency. However, the development of FreeArc seems to have stopped, and the official website is no longer online.

While we have not verified the apps ourselves yet, our users have suggested 10 different ARC openers which you will find listed below.

Internet Archive ARC File Format

Internet Archive, a website preservation service, has its own archive file format using file extension ARC. They use it to store copies of web pages downloaded from the internet.

It uses standard GZIP compression, but stores the files in an interesting way: Instead of compressing a batch of pages into a single compressed archive file, they compress each file with GZIP and concatenate them into a single ARC file. In that way, their tools can search for a specific file inside the ARC file and decompress only that, instead of having to decompress the entire file first. The format is GZIP compatible so that you can treat it as a normal .gz file.

While we have not verified the apps ourselves yet, our users have suggested 10 different ARC openers which you will find listed below.

Nintendo Yaz0 compressed data

Nintendo ARC files are game data files in their proprietary "Yaz0" format. The Nintendo ARC format is used to compress (reduce in size) game data like 3D models and texture file, to make it possible to fit more data onto a single media like a CD or DVD. They are also commonly seen use the .szs file extension.

While we have not verified the apps ourselves yet, our users have suggested 10 different ARC openers which you will find listed below.

EZBIND archive

Through our analysis of ARC files, we know that one use of the format is EZBIND archive. We have not yet described in detail what these files contain and what they are used for, but our team is working tiredlessly through thousands of file formats. We'd love hearing from you if you have information about the format.

While we have not verified the apps ourselves yet, our users have suggested 10 different ARC openers which you will find listed below.

Xexor Amstrad disk image

.ARC files created with the Amstrad Xexor disk utility contains a copy of an Amstrad diskette. Amstrad created popular home computers in the 80s, and if you are interested in these legacy computer systems, you may come across these .arc files if you want to play old Amstrad games in an emulator.

You usually do not need to edit or view these files, as they only contain information usable by the software program that uses them.

Various viewers for this file format

These apps are known to open certain types of ARC files. Remember, different programs may use ARC files for different purposes, so you may need to try out a few of them to be able to open your specific file.

WinRARWinRARUser submitted
PowerISOPowerISOUser submitted
PeaZipPeaZipUser submitted
BandizipBandizipUser submitted
FreeArcFreeArcUser submitted
Hamster Lite ArchiverHamster Lite ArchiverUser submitted
WinAce ArchiverWinAce ArchiverUser submitted
Stuffit ExpanderStuffit ExpanderUser submitted
PowerDeskPowerDeskUser submitted
FilzipFilzipUser submitted
We have not verified any software that we know for certain will work with ARC-files on Mac. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below and tell us about it!
We have not verified any web services that we know for certain will work with ARC-files. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below and tell us about it!