How do I list files inside compressed tar ball (gzip’d tar’d) archive?

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Tar command provides the option to list files inside compressed tar ball. However mtools includes command called lz which gunzips and shows a listing of a gzip’d tar’d archive without extracting files.


For example, display listing of file called backup.tar.gz type command:

$ lz backup.tar.gz

As you see lz provides a listing of a gzip’d tar’d archive, that is a tar archive compressed with the gzip command. It is not strictly necessary on Debian GNU/Linux (or other Linux/BSD/Solaris oses), because the GNU tar(1) program provides the same capability with the command:

$ tar -tzf backup.tar.gz


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

2 comment

  1. Thank you for great advice. I found that lz works well with wildcards, but tar -tzf does not.
    For example: tar -tzf *.tar.gz produces the following errors:
    tar: file_1.tar.gz: Not found in archive
    tar: file_2.tar.gz: Not found in archive

    tar: file_n.tar.gz: Not found in archive
    tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors

    lz *.tar.gz, on the other hand, works great!

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