You’ve probably come across archive files before. A common type of archive file is a ZIP file. Another type of archive file you may encounter is a JAR file. We’ll take a look at what this file is and the best programs to open JAR files on Windows.
Archive files, such as ZIP files and JAR files, allow you to package multiple files into a single file, reducing the amount of space required to store them. JAR stands for Java Archives and onions It is a batch file format used to combine multiple Java class files and their associated resources, such as text and images, into a single file.
Indeed, JAR files were originally designed to allow end users to download Java applets and their components with a single HTTP request.
If you try to open a JAR file without installing a compatible application that can open this file type, you may see the error message “The JAR file cannot be accessed.” In this case, try one of the following programs to open the JAR file on a Windows computer.
JAR files can be opened in two ways:
- Open and view the contents of the file
- Run the JAR file in Java (execute)
We’ll look at programs that help you view and inspect the contents of JAR files.
Programs for opening JAR files in Windows
There are several programs that you can use to view the contents of a JAR file on a Windows computer. We will look at a few of them. You may even find that you already have a program on your computer that can open JAR files.
WinRar is shareware that you can download and run for free, but it will keep reminding you to purchase a license. In any case, download WinRar, install it, and use it to open the JAR file. After opening the JAR file with WinRar, you can extract its contents.
Similar to WinRar, 7-Zip is an archive viewer and unpacker that can be used to open JAR files. Unlike WinRar, 7-Zip is free and open source. Download it for Windows here. Once installed, you can open the JAR file, extract it, and view the files that the archive contains. Just right-click on the JAR file and select Open with and select 7-Zip file manager.
If you don’t see the option to open the file with 7-Zip file manager, select Select another app and select 7-Zip File Manager from the list:
Select Always use this program to open .jar files option to make 7-Zip the default JAR file viewer.
Programs to open the JAR file online
When all else fails, you can always use an online tool to open the JAR file. There are several to choose from. All of the online tools listed below allow you to drop a JAR file onto a website and download its contents. This is a good option if you rarely come across these archives and don’t want to install new software.
3. Extractor of online archives
Online Archive Extractor is a browser-based tool that can be used to extract several types of archive files, including JAR files. The site is secure, and since the tool works locally in the browser (ie not server-side), you can be sure that your files won’t be sent over the Internet. You’ll also find that extracting JAR files with Online Archive Extractor is faster than some other archive extractors because there’s virtually no data transfer online.
4. AppsCMS JAR file opener
AppsCMS’s JAR file opener works a bit differently than the online archive tool. It transfers your file to its servers. However, they assure users, “We only keep your Jar files for a very short period to extract the content and then delete the files. We do not store your JAR or the contents of your JARs.” Since it is available online, this option will also work to open JAR files on Mac, Linux, Ubuntu and all versions of Windows.
5. Online Java decompiler
An online Java decompiler was provided by Leonardo Santos from Brazil. His tool decompiles .jar and .class files online. It’s a simple tool that does exactly what it says. Most of the files you extract from a JAR file will be text files, but some may be other file types that require additional programs to view.
6. EzyZip Extract Jar File Tool
EzyZip’s Extract Jar File Tool has a few more advantages than other online tools for opening JAR files. Some of the files extracted by this tool can be previewed in the browser, and you also have the option to save multiple files and folders to a destination folder of your choice at once.
The last entry on our list is a little different from the others. FreeFileConvert’s Convert JAR to ZIP tool converts your JAR file into a ZIP file that can be opened in Windows. The JAR file you want to convert can be on your computer or in a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Alternatively, if you have the URL of the JAR file, you can enter it and use this tool to convert it to a ZIP file.
Running JAR files in the Java Runtime Environment
So far we have discussed methods viewing JAR files. If you want to run these files, you will need to use the Java Runtime Environment. See our article on how to run JAR files on Windows to learn how to install Java on your computer and run JAR files in the Java Runtime Environment.