If you find the JAR file type online and are wondering what it is, you’ve come to the right place. It’s a Java Archive file and here we’ll talk about what it contains and how to open it.
You may also encounter an error while trying to open the JAR file we have also given you a solution for that.
What is a JAR File
JAR stands for Java ARchive. As the name suggests it is an archive file this means it is a single file containing other files, packed together for reasons like portability and to reduce storage space.
If you are familiar with ZIP files, then JAR files are basically the same thing. The difference is that a JAR file is an application designed for use by the Java Runtime Environment.
The unique element of a JAR file is that it contains a manifest. These are special meta files that, in simple terms, tell the JAR how to behave and store information about the files within it.
JAR files can also contain CLASS files (compiled Java code), audio files, image files, and more. The JAR file can then be read and executed as a single request by the Runtime Environment.
JARs can be used for all kinds of purposes on desktop and mobile. For example, it could be a game, an app theme, or a browser add-on.
How to Open JAR Files
If you want to run a JAR file i.e. run the actual application it contains then you need to install the Java Runtime Environment. You may already have it on your computer, but retrieve it from the official site to make sure you are running the latest version.
You should then download a lightweight utility called Jarx. This makes the JAR file behave like a regular program on your computer. Thus, once Jarx is installed, you can then open the JAR file like any other by double-clicking it.
You can also run it from the Command Prompt. Click on Search and type cmd. Right-click on the Command Prompt result and select Run as administrator to open a window. Then enter the following command, but replace sample.jar with the full file path of the JAR:
java -jar sample.jar
Alternatively, you can unpack the JAR file. You can do this to see what files it contains, or if the JAR file was not designed to be an executable file.
To unpack a JAR, you need a program that can extract compressed files. Windows includes functionality for this, but you can also use file extraction software like 7-Zip or WinRAR to get the job done.
Open the JAR file in the software and you can browse all the folders and files in it. You can also extract the JAR if you want to use or examine the individual files further.
Want another JAR file opener when you don’t have an archive program installed? You can use an online extractor if you don’t want to download another program. Of course, make sure you choose one that supports the JAR format as not all of them will.
A good choice is Archive Extractor. Just upload your JAR and it will show you the contents of the file in a tree structure. Click folders to open or expand them and files to download them individually.
Finally, if your computer is having problems recognizing the executable JAR file, you can right-click the file, click Rename and then add the .ZIP file extension. This works because file types are so closely related.
How to Create JAR Files
Are you sure you need to create a JAR file? Remember, they serve a specific purpose: concatenate files for use as Java applications.
If that’s what you need to do, visit Oracle’s packaging program in the JAR file documentation. It will give you all the information you need on how to create, package, and sign a JAR file.
How to Fix Problems Opening JAR Files
You may get errors when trying to open JAR files, often due to incompatibility or security settings.
Update Java Runtime Environment
You should always run the latest version of the Java Runtime Environment.
To see what version of Java you are running, open the Start menu and type configure java and select the result. The Java Control Panel will open. On the General tab, click About … and check that the version you are running is in sync with the latest available directly from the Oracle website. If not, download and update.
JAR Opens in Wrong Program
Windows may not know what to do with the JAR file and may try to open it in a program that will not support the format.
To work around this, right-click the file, and point to Open with. There are a number of default programs to choose from and one of them may be the right one. Otherwise, click Choose another app.
If you want to run files inside the Java Runtime Environment directly, navigate to Program FilesJavajre1.8.0_211bin and select java.exe.
JAR Gives Security Error When Opening
Java has been considered a security risk in recent years, so don’t be surprised if you get a warning when you try to open a JAR file.
To solve this, go to the Start menu and type configure java and select the result. The Java Control Panel will open. Click the Security tab. Make sure you have Enabled Java content for browser and Web Start applications, set the security level to High, and add it to the exclusion site list if necessary. When finished, click OK.
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