What is an ARC file & how do I open an ARC file (Norton Backup Archive)?

.ARC (Norton Backup Archive) - File Extension

Developer: Symantec

What is an ARC file?

An ARC file is essentially a compressed backup file that contains various types of data.

It’s commonly used by Norton software products like Norton 360 and Norton Online Backup to store copies of files, providing users with a means to safeguard their data against loss or corruption.

These files can include documents, images, videos, and other types of digital content.

How to open an ARC file

Opening an ARC file is straightforward, especially if you have compatible software installed. Typically, Norton software can directly access and restore data from ARC files.

If you don’t have Norton software, you can use third-party programs like WinRAR, WinZip, 7-Zip, or PeaZip to extract the contents of the ARC file.

Simply install one of these programs, then right-click on the ARC file and select the option to extract or unzip it.

How to convert an ARC File

Converting ARC files to other formats or vice versa isn’t a common practice due to the specific nature of these backup files.

But if you need to extract the contents of an ARC file and convert them to a different format, you can use file extraction software like WinRAR or 7-Zip to unzip the ARC file and then convert the extracted files using appropriate software for their respective formats.

Be cautious to ensure data integrity during conversion processes.

Security Considerations: Are “.ARC” Files Safe?

ARC files themselves are generally safe, as they are primarily used for data backup purposes.

But, of course, like any file format, they can be vulnerable if they contain malicious content.

It’s essential to obtain ARC files from trusted sources and scan them for viruses or malware before extracting or using the data within.

Format Details for ARC Files

ARC files use a proprietary compression algorithm developed by Norton.

This algorithm efficiently compresses data while maintaining its integrity, allowing for relatively small file sizes compared to uncompressed backups.

This also means that ARC files can only be reliably opened and manipulated using compatible software.

Uses and Applications of ARC Files

ARC files are primarily used for backing up data, providing users with a convenient way to protect their files against loss or damage.

They’re especially useful for creating regular backups of important documents, photos, videos, and other digital assets.

Norton software products leverage ARC files to offer comprehensive backup solutions to their users.

Associated Software Programs

Norton software products, including Norton 360 and Norton Online Backup, are the primary tools used to create and access ARC files.

As mentioned earlier, third-party file extraction software like WinRAR, 7-Zip, and PeaZip can also handle ARC files, albeit without some of the specialized features offered by Norton software.

Advantages and Disadvantages of ARC Files


  • Efficient compression: ARC files offer significant compression ratios, reducing the storage space required for backups.
  • Data integrity: Norton’s proprietary compression algorithm ensures that data remains intact during compression and extraction processes.


  • Limited compatibility: ARC files can only be opened and manipulated using compatible software, primarily Norton products.
  • Proprietary format: The ARC file format is proprietary to Norton, which may limit interoperability with other backup solutions.


Compared to more widely-used backup file formats like ZIP or TAR, ARC files offer similar compression capabilities but with less compatibility.

While ZIP and TAR files can be opened by a wide range of software applications, ARC files are primarily intended for use with Norton software.

Troubleshooting ARC Files

If you encounter issues opening or extracting an ARC file, ensure that you’re using compatible software.

If you’re still unable to access the contents, try scanning the file for corruption or contacting Norton support for assistance.

History of the ARC File Extension

The ARC file format was first introduced by Peter Norton in the 1980s as part of the Norton Utilities software suite.

Originally used for archiving purposes, the format evolved over time to become primarily associated with data backup and recovery in Norton’s line of security products.

Tips and Tricks for ARC Files

  • Regularly backup your important files using Norton software to ensure data safety.
  • Keep your Norton software updated to take advantage of the latest features and improvements in ARC file handling.
  • Consider supplementing ARC backups with additional backup solutions for increased redundancy.

More infomation about the ARC file

Here are some additional insights about the ARC file extension:

Storage Efficiency

The compression algorithm used by Norton ensures that ARC files occupy relatively small amounts of disk space compared to uncompressed backups.

This makes them ideal for users with limited storage capacity or those looking to conserve disk space while still maintaining comprehensive backups of their data.

Incremental Backups

Norton software often supports incremental backup functionality with ARC files.

This means that instead of creating a new backup of all files each time a backup is performed, only the changes made since the last backup are saved.

This approach reduces backup times and minimizes storage requirements, particularly for users with large volumes of data that experience frequent changes.

Versioning and Restore Points

Many Norton backup solutions allow users to create multiple versions of their files within ARC backups.

This feature enables users to revert to previous versions of files in case of accidental modifications or data corruption.

Plus, users can create restore points within ARC backups, providing checkpoints from which they can restore their system to a specific state in the event of a critical failure or malware attack.

Cloud Integration

With the increasing popularity of cloud storage solutions, some Norton products offer seamless integration with cloud storage services for ARC backups.

This allows users to store their backups securely in the cloud, providing an additional layer of redundancy and accessibility.

Cloud integration also enables users to access their backups from any internet-connected device, further enhancing the flexibility and convenience of ARC backups.

Customization Options

Depending on the Norton software version, users may have access to various customization options when creating ARC backups.

These options can include specifying which files and folders to include or exclude from backups, setting backup schedules, and configuring encryption settings for enhanced security.

This provides you with the option to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of their ARC backups.

Enterprise Solutions

In addition to consumer-oriented backup solutions, Norton also offers enterprise-grade backup solutions that leverage the ARC file format.

These solutions are designed to meet the needs of businesses and organizations with large-scale backup requirements, providing features such as centralized management, multi-user support, and advanced reporting capabilities.

ARC backups in an enterprise context offer businesses a robust data protection solution that scales to meet the demands of their operations.

Continuous Improvement

As with any software technology, the ARC file format and associated backup solutions undergo continuous improvement and refinement over time.

Norton regularly releases updates and new versions of its software to address security vulnerabilities, enhance performance, and introduce new features.

By staying current with software updates, users can ensure that their ARC backups remain reliable and effective in protecting their valuable data.


The ARC file extension offers users a versatile and efficient solution for backing up and protecting their data within the Norton ecosystem.

With features such as storage efficiency, incremental backups, versioning, and cloud integration, ARC backups provide users with robust data protection capabilities tailored to their specific needs.

As Norton continues to innovate and improve its backup solutions, ARC files remain a cornerstone of data security and resilience for users worldwide.

Software Compatible With The ARC File Type
Norton Backup Archive

In this section you will find a list of the best programs compatible with the ARC file type. We've selected the best software for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux to open, edit, convert and view the contents of ARC files.