What is an ARC file? Learn about ARC files here
An ARC file is a compressed archive file, which means that it is a single file that inside can contain one or more files that have been reduced in size. This is often done to ease and speed up distribution over the Internet and to save storage space.
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ARC file details
ARC was designed and created by SEA in the early 1980s and is a form of lossless compression. This means that the data can be compressed and then reconstructed exactly at the other end. In other words, no information is lost as a result of the compression.
ARC files were a very popular method used by many early network and modem users to send files quickly and easily to BBSes. Until ARC, archiving and compression were two separate processes. This was the first application which combined both processes into one application.
The ARC format itself is actually very similar to other compression formats such as RAR and ZIP. It is used to reduce the size of a file and make it as small as possible. However unlike ZIP, ARC is seldomly used these days as there are better compression algorithms available.
The ARC format is more than 25 years old, and development has stopped on it a long time ago. There are plenty of other alternatives, many of which are superior. ARC is often seen as the father of the ZIP file as we know it today.
Opening ARC files
If you have an ARC file on your computer and want to open it, then you will need a tool like BitZipper.
If you are looking for technical details and the complete history of the .ARC file format, please refer to this Wikipedia article.