How to play .bin, .cue, .dat, .daa, and .rar movie files

01
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Step 1) Install WinRAR Software

Step 1: Download WinRAR utility from RARLAB.com.

How: Download WinRAR from here.

Explanation: WinRAR is what we call an “archive manager” program. Its job is to package and compress large files for more efficient downloading. WinRAR is capable of squeezing a 1024 megabyte movie into 600 megabytes of smaller linked files. Because of its power and versatility, this tool is extremely popular amongst file sharers.

In your case, you are interested in decompressing (“extracting”) a downloaded file and converting back into a full usable format.

WinRAR is free to try and is only 1136 kilobytes large. After a month of using it, the RAR programmer asks that you purchase it for $29USD.

02
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Step 2) Install a CD/DVD Virtual Emulator

Step 2 Task: Download and install "emulator" software that will treat your files as if they were an optical CD-DVD drive.

How: Download "Daemon Tools" optical drive emulator here or here.

Explanation: Unlike the .avi and .mpg digital file formats that PC's can easily view, many P2P movie files are in optical .bin or .dat format. Bin and dat are a standard format for a DVD or CD player, but to make them viewable on a PC, you need to install an adapter software. This adapter software is called "mounting an optical drive image" with "emulator" software.

The single most popular CD/DVD emulator software is Daemon Tools 4.x.x Daemon is a free and high-quality product. You can download this freeware from multiple download locations.

 

03
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Step 3) Install three different movie player products.

Step 3 Task: Download and install VLC, DivX, and Windows Media Players.

How:

  1. Download free VideoLAN VLC Player here.
  2. Download free DivX Player here.
  3. Download free Windows Media Player 9 here.

Explanation: There is an ambiguous mishmash of file types available through Internet P2P downloading. A smart user knows this and uses at least 3 different movie players in order to successfully view the range of varying movie files. The 3 suggested players are Windows Media Player (usually included with Windows XP), DivX Player, and VideoLan VLC Player.

Depending on what kind of file you download, you will need to try each of these players until the movie plays successfully. As of this writing, these three tools will play 99% of all downloadable movies, as long as they have the required codec (compress/decompress) libraries installed.

Foreign film note: if you are trying to view an .ocg or .ogg file that requires subtitles, you will require special additional software (see upcoming article for explanations of .ocg/.ogg files)

 

04
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Step 4) Extract the WinRAR primary archive into its .bin/.cue/.dat formats.


Step 4 Task: Find the one main .rar file, and extract (decompress) it using right click.

How:

  1. Using Windows File Explorer or My Computer, find the primary RAR file. It will have an icon shape of 3 tiny books, and will likely be the only file with a .rar extension at the end of its name.​ Tip: use (Window button) - E on your keyboard to quick launch Windows File Explorer.
  2. Right click on that single primary .rar file, and “extract to” a subfolder (This is usually the third choice in the R. click menu) Make a mental note of the name of the folder you are creating, as you will need to “mount” that folder later.
  3. Confirm “yes” to the resulting dialog boxes, and give the WinRAR about 2 minutes to do its extracting job.
  4. The software will decompress the primary RAR file, and it will also auto-link it to the dozens of its sister .r## supporting files. You only extract the one primary RAR file … the software will take care of the sister files behind the scenes.
  5. The final result will be a .bin and .cue file, or a .dat and .cue file.

Explanation: Large movie files archives are comprised of dozens of .r01, .r02, .r03 files. Each of these files is commonly 14,649kb large.

This is how WinRAR purposefully packages a large file. WinRAR squeezes it down into dozens of smaller linked “sister” .r## files, often half the original size.

Tip: right click on one of the .r## files, and check its properties. You can see a graph of how much it was compressed from its original file size.

 

05
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Step 5) "Mount" the movie .cue file to act as a virtual optical drive.

Daemon Tools CD drive emulator.

Step 5 Task: Now you convince your computer that the extracted movie files are a virtual CD or DVD disc.

How:

 

  1. Launch the Daemon Tools software.
  2. A red or green lightning bolt icon will appear at bottom right of your screen in the Windows clock tray.
  3. Right click on this Daemon lightning bolt icon, and choose the first “virtual drive” letter you have available. Usually, this is G:. Then choose “Mount Image”. Choose a drive letter of your choice… the letters themselves are arbitrary and are just a code pointer to name your virtual drive.
    (tip: to view multiple movies, set your emulator to have 3 or 4 virtual optical drives. 1 drive can play 1 .bin/.cue file movie, 2 drives can play 2 .bin/.cue file movies, and so on.)
  4. Browse using the resulting File dialog box to point to the .cue file you extracted a few minutes ago.
  5. Within a few moments, another dialog will ask you what to do with that .cue file. Choose “Open folder to view files”.
  6. Within another few moments, you are likely to see another dialog box named “G:”, and four folders with names like this: EXT, MPEG#, SEGMENT, and VCD2. This dialog box means that Windows sees the files as if they were a CD or DVD.
  7. Open the MPEG# folder, and you will find the primary move file in .avi, .mpeg, or .dat format.

06
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STEP 6) Launch the .avi/.mpeg/.dat file into one of your movie viewers.

Step 6 Task: Open your "mounted" .dat/.bin/.avi/.mpg movie file into the movie player software that displays it best.

How:

 

  1. Find the primary movie file. It will commonly be upwards of 600,000kb large, and will often have the file extension .bin, .dat, .avi. or .mpeg at the end of its name.
  2. Try double-click to launch the .bin/.avi/.mpeg/.dat into your default player. Default player will be Windows Media Player for most users.
  3. If Media Player fails, then try opening the file into DivX Player. You can use a drag-and-drop technique for opening, or launch DivX and open the movie file from there. DivX is commonly used for viewing .dat files.
  4. Lastly, try the VLC player from VideoLAN. VLC player commonly renders .avi files that come from Europe.

There you go. For 95% of you who have read this tutorial, you should now be watching your movie! If your file is not working after all the above steps, then go to Step 7.

Explanation: Almost as ambiguous as Step 5, this Step 6 happens to be the guesswork step. Because some virtual CD-DVD files will only play in certain players, you will need to use trial-and-error to identify which player works best for that movie. Gratefully, DivX, Windows Media Player, and VLC seem to cover 99% of all movies available on P2P.
 

07
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STEP 7) Troubleshooting Why Your Movie Still Won’t Play

Step 7 Task: Troubleshooting problems.

How: If even after trying the previous 6 steps repeatedly, your downloaded movie does not play, then you are likely plagued by one of the following problems.

  1. You downloaded a corrupt file that was masquerading as a full movie or CD. If this is the case, your only recourse is to find a better copy of the file and download that superior copy.
  2. You failed to successfully install the 3 movie players and the DVD Daemon Tools, emulator. If so, then you need to go back and reinstall those products.
  3. The movie/CD you downloaded is in such an exotic format, you will need to use very custom software to view it. If this is the case, then your only recourse is to email the file sharer person directly and ask for their guidance.
  4. You are trying to use Daemon Tools emulator on Windows Vista, without updating it to version 4.08 or better. If you run Windows Vista, you will need to download and install at least version 4.08 of Daemon before Daemon will work properly.

Explanation: Unfortunately, because of the mishmash of file types and the amateur knowledge of many file sharers, downloaded movie quality is inconsistent. What may be one positive experience of downloading one day will be followed by frustrating broken files the next day. Experienced P2P downloaders have come to learn this, and they adapt with their various tools and techniques. Check back often to see if new file types require new user responses.