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Compress directory

How do I Compress a Whole Linux or UNIX Directory?

Q. How can I compress a whole directory under Linux / UNIX using a shell prompt?

A. It is very easy to compress a Whole Linux/UNIX directory. It is useful to backup files, email all files, or even to send software you have created to friends. Technically, it is called as a compressed archive. GNU tar command is best for this work. It can be use on remote Linux or UNIX server. It does two things for you:
=> Create the archive
=> Compress the archive

You need to use tar command as follows (syntax of tar command):
tar -zcvf archive-name.tar.gz directory-name

  • -z: Compress archive using gzip program
  • -c: Create archive
  • -v: Verbose i.e display progress while creating archive
  • -f: Archive File name

For example, you have directory called /home/jerry/prog and you would like to compress this directory then you can type tar command as follows:
$ tar -zcvf prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz /home/jerry/prog

Above command will create an archive file called prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz in current directory. If you wish to restore your archive then you need to use following command (it will extract all files in current directory):
$ tar -zxvf prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz


  • -x: Extract files

If you wish to extract files in particular directory, for example in /tmp then you need to use following command:
$ tar -zxvf prog-1-jan-2005.tar.gz -C /tmp
$ cd /tmp
$ ls -

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