Linux / UNIX command to open .gz files

last updated in Categories , , , , , , , , ,

Q. I have download files from the Internet. Each file has .gz extension. How do I open .gz files under Linux?


A. You need to use gzip / gunzip program. It is a software application used for file compression. It is based on the DEFLATE algorithm, which is a combination of LZ77 and Huffman coding. DEFLATE was intended as a replacement for LZW and other patent-encumbered data compression algorithms

How do I extract a gz file?

Use guzip command as follows:
$ gunzip file.gz
$ gzip -d file.gz
To see new file, enter:
$ ls -l

How do I extract a tar.gz or .tgz file?

Files with extension tar.gz or .tgz are tar files compressed with gzip. On Unix system extract them with following command:
$ gunzip < file.tar.gz | tar xvf - $ gunzip < file.tgz | tar xvf -

If you have GNU tar (Linux system) you can use the z option directly:
$ tar xvzf file.tar.gz
$ tar xvzf file.tgz


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.

21 comment

  1. Sir,
    I have some softwares downloaded from internet and few copied from Chip Magazine’s data dvds. I have dual-boot system[Windows xp home and ubuntu 8.10].I do not have much experience about computers and want to install few softwares which are in tar.gz formats and few are in tar.bz2 formats. I do not know how to install them-Only the deb or i386 formats are can be installed through Gdebi installer.Will you suggest me how to?

  2. It’s giving me following error :

    root@server [/10gR2_db]# gzip -d 10201_database_linux_x86_64.cpio.gz

    gzip: 10201_database_linux_x86_64.cpio.gz: unexpected end of file
    root@server [/10gR2_db]

  3. tar: error i not recoverable : existing now …
    this is the error m getting anyone have idea how do i resolve this

  4. That was useful. Just a note: too often the compressed file has the extension .tar (not in gzip format). Then just use tar xvf file.tar

    Many tx!

  5. 30-35% of my troubleshooting queries on google lands me here at and believe me 30-35% is a lot considering the whole www. You guys have done an excellent job creating these really helpful articles.
    Keep it up.

  6. is an important resource for any one wants to learn Linux. I did learn lots from your posts. Thank you for the hard working and sharing the good knowledge.

    Still, have a question? Get help on our forum!