I have noticed that Nautilus (GNOME Files) can extract some RAR files that cannot be extracted using free packages like unrar-free or file-roller via CLI, nor using GUI tools like Engrampa or Xarchiver. Don’t know why exactly. No passwords involved or anything unusual, just (what seems like) regular RAR files. Maybe different formats?

Anyway, I’d like to know what (if any) standalone tool does Nautilus use for extracting RAR files so I could do it myself on the command line.

I only use Debian free repositories, so I guess it should be a free package...

This is my first question, let me know if I should improve anything.


  • 1
    Note you might want to verify they are indeed rar files and not another archiver with a wrong extension. file(1) should give you the filetype as well as the rar version.
    – Ángel
    Commented Jan 3 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


Nautilus uses libarchive to process archives; this supports some RAR formats without any external helpers.

bsdtar is a command-line tool using the same library; in Debian it’s packaged as libarchive-tools.

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    In addition to bsdtar, the OP may also be interested in archivemount, which is a FUSE module that lets you mount any archive format supported by libarchive as if it were a filesystem. Depending on the exact access needed to the data in the archive, this may be easier to work with. Commented Jan 3 at 12:05

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