How to Open or Decompress CBR Files

By Andrew Meer

The CBR, or Comic Book RAR, file format contains collections of comic book pages compressed and set to automatically appear in order when opened. Since Windows 8.1 does not feature native support for the CBR file format, you must download third-party software to open any CBR files on your computer. Alternately, you can use a file extractor to decompress the contents that make up a CBR file, which usually consists of JPEG, GIF or PNG images.

Opening CBR Files

Before opening any CBR files on your computer, you must install a CBR reader such as YACReader, Free CBR Reader or Comical (links in Resources). Both YACReader and Comical are free to use, and provide zoom, rotate and double-page functionality; Comical also supports the Mac OS X. Free CBR Reader, while also being free to use, only has zoom functionality, but makes up for the lack of features with a navigation pane that lets you quickly move though available pages. To open a CBR file, right-click the file and select "Open With." On the list of apps that shows up, select the CBR reader you have installed on your computer.

Decompressing CBR Files

Go to the Start screen or Start menu, type “Folder Options,” then press “Enter” to open the Folder Options dialog box. Under the "View" tab, uncheck the box next to “Hide Extensions for Known File Types,” then click “Apply.” Download and install a file-extracting application such as WinRAR, 7-Zip or PeaZip (links in Resources). Right-click any CBR file on your computer, select “Rename,” then replace the “CBR” extension with “RAR.” Now right-click the CBR file again, then select the “Extract” function that shows up on the context menu to extract the images within. Double-click any of the image files to open them in Windows Photo Viewer or the Photos App.