How to Open ZIP and RAR Files in Google Drive

Even though Google won't let you work with Zip or RAR files on Drive, it can still be done.

Featured Image Open Zip Rar Google Drive

Google Drive won’t let you work with ZIP or RAR files without downloading them to a PC first. This can be very troublesome, especially if you are dealing with multiple compressed files. We’ll show you how to open ZIP and RAR files in Google Drive without downloading them first. On the other hand if you really must download those files, it’s faster to use web-based extractors and portable apps.

1. ZIP Extractor

While Google Drive lets you preview the contents of an uploaded zipped file, you can’t open/download the individual files within a zipped folder.

To deal with this problem, you can install a native Google application called ZIP Extractor. It’s available both as a Google Workspace Marketplace app and a Chrome Web Store extension. For the latter, select “Add to Chrome” to proceed. (It will also work with Microsoft Edge browser.)

Zip Rar Google Drive Zipextractor Add To Chrome

Installing ZIP Extractor

To install the app, you will have to give permission to ZIP Extractor to add itself to Google Drive and accordingly view and manage the files. These are standard security permissions which can be freely given, as this is a trusted Google Workspace Marketplace app.

Grant Online Decompress Zip Files To Google Drive Permission

During the guided installation, you will have to authorize ZIP Extractor to open files in Google Drive and Gmail on the official website. This requires a few standard permissions.

Zip Rar Google Drive Zipextractor Authorize

If you have a paid Google Workspace account, you can directly install the app through it, for it to then automatically launch from Google Drive.

Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Extractor Google Workspace Marketplace

No matter the method, once the ZIP Extractor is installed on Google Drive, you can easily locate it from “My Drive -> More -> Zip Extractor.”

Zip Rar Google Drive Zipextractor Locate In Drive

ZIP Extractor is quite native to Google Chrome’s app ecosystem. Once installed, you can access it from chrome://apps, just like any other Google program.

Zip Rar Google Drive Chrome Apps Added

Accessing Google Drive Compressed Files Using ZIP Extractor

  1. After installing ZIP Extractor, go back to your Google Drive and double-click the ZIP or RAR file. This will open a preview screen.
  2. ZIP Extractor will show itself in the list of “connected apps.” Click it to proceed.
Zip Rar Google Drive Open Files Zip Extractor
  1. ZIP Extractor is ready to extract the RAR files. Click the blue “Extract” button.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Extractor Ready To Extract
  1. It takes just a few seconds for the extracted RAR files to be saved in Google Drive.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Extractor Extracting
  1. When you see the “extraction complete” status, the unzipped files are ready to view on your Google Drive account. Click “View Files.”
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Extractor View Files
  1. You should be able to view unzipped files in a newly created folder in Google Drive. These can be downloaded separately.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Extractor Unzipped Files Viewable

With ZIP Extractor, you can selectively use a limited number of archived files. This is really helpful if you want to download and transfer the executable of a software without downloading all individual bits.

An amazing quality of ZIP Extractor is that it can also extract password-protected zipped folders. The password is only used on your computer to open the ZIP file and is never sent over the network.

2. Zip Opener for Google Chrome

While ZIP Extractor is the more preferred method to view unzipped files and folders on Google Drive, you can also use Zip Opener for Google Chrome.

  1. Click the Chrome extension link to add it to the Chrome browser (or Edge) and provide the required permissions.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zipunzip Permissions 1
  1. Once the app can read your Google Drive data, select your ZIP or RAR file from the “Select a file” option.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Opener Chrome Select
  1. Choose the ZIP extension to “upload and ZIP.”
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Opener Chrome Upload
  1. Choose to either download the unzipped files to your computer or save them to Google Drive.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Opener Chrome Save

Uncompress ZIP/RAR Files Online

While it’s convenient to handle Google Drive’s unzipped files within the browser window, sometimes you really need a local PC download option. For this you can either use a web-based extractor or a portable app that doesn’t require an elaborate installation. See our recommendations below.

1. ExtendsClass

ExtendsClass is a free online toolbox containing many browser-based tools for developers. It supports ZIP, RAR and TAR files.

  1. Drag and drop or select your downloaded compressed file into the main window.
  2. The unzipped files are automatically ready to download on your local device.
Zip Rar Google Drive Extendsclass Unzip

While a tool like ExtendsClass is good for an occasional download, it gets time-consuming if your compressed folder contains too many unzipped files. It woul be better to use the previous instructions in such a case.

Zip Rar Google Drive Extendsclass Downlod Multiple Files

2. Extract.me

Extract.me (or Archive Extractor) is an excellent online unzipping tool that doesn’t require you to have downloaded your files previously from Google Drive. There’s no option, however, to directly sync them with Google Drive.

  1. Select “from Google Drive” as the default option for uploading the ZIP/RAR files.
Zip Rar Google Drive Zip Extract.me Google Drive
  1. You must provide the permission to access your Google Drive. Select the RAR or ZIP file you would like extracted.
Zip Rar Google Drive Extract.me Select
  1. After a few seconds, the extracted files are viewable with local PC download links.
Zip Rar Google Drive Extract.me File Downloded

3. Unzip-Online

Unzip-Online is another simple tool that provides an easy interface to unzip compressed files up to 200 MB. Select “Uncompress file” to choose the TAR, ZIP, RAR or 7z files from your computer. You can’t import directly from Google Drive.

Zip Rar Google Drive Unzip Online Mainscreen

The unzipping happens very fast. You can download the final files from here.

Zip Rar Google Drive Unzip Online Download

4. PeaZip

PeaZip is an excellent portable app for unzipping files. It doesn’t require a full installation. The download links are available for both Linux and Windows.

  1. After downloading to a PC location, directly launch the Portable app with a double-click.
  2. You can add any ZIP, RAR, TAR or 7z file from “File Open,” then right-click to extract it anywhere on your device including the desktop or a new folder.
Zip Rar Google Drive Peazip

5. WinRAR Portable

WinRAR Portable is a powerful zipped file handler, one of the oldest compression tools on the Web. It can be downloaded here and supports Windows, Linux, and Mac.

  1. Double-click the downloaded file and select a destination folder, which can be the your desktop. Click “install” to proceed.
Zip Rar Google Drive Destination Export
  1. You will be able to see a new folder: “WinRAR Unplugged”. Click the launch file to activate the WinRAR application.
Zip Rar Google Drive Winrar Install
  1. Once WinRAR opens, use “Open archive” to open any ZIP, RAR or TAR archive.
  2. You can further extract the unzipped files to any location.
Zip Rar Google Drive Winrar Portable Copy

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I download ZIP and RAR files from Google Drive?

In order to work with some of the above online ZIP and RAR extractors, you have to first download the ZIP and RAR files. On Google Drive, select the desired compressed file, right-click and select “Download.”

Zip Rar Google Drive Download Zip File

2. How do I change ZIP to RAR files and other archive formats?

You need an online conversion software to change archive formats. Some of the popular options are:

Summary

Zipping a file remains one of the best ways to transfer and retain sensitive data. While Google Drive has worked on numerous features to cover the ways of zip file exploration, third-party apps like Zip Extractor are currently the best solution.

Do take note that extracted files can take up a lot of your limited Google Drive storage space (the reason they are compressed in the first place), so you will need to clean and free up space in your Google Drive frequently. You can also delete files from Google Drive on mobile and PC.

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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