Decompress tar and tar.gz files

A .tar.gz file is an archive, or collection, of files stuffed together. It's very similar to a Windows ZIP file. Tar stands for "tape archive": It was originally used to store files on tape, back when hard drive storage was crazy expensive. The gz is for gzip which makes the file smaller.

You can use this web site to open tar and tar.gz files as long as they're under 10MB. For larger files, you'll need a utility on your computer.

How to open a tar.gz file on Windows

Tar files are commonly used on the Ubuntu Linux system, so Windows cannot open them without a special program called WinRAR. You can also use other programs like 7-zip, but WinRAR is the easiest to use.

  1. Download WinRAR.
  2. Click Run to install on your computer by pressing next through the wizard. You will have to agree to the security warning.
  3. Once WinRAR is installed, you can now right click on the .tar.gz file and select Extract Here. This will open the archive file and place the files in the same place as the archive.

How to open a tar.gz file on MacOS X

You should be able to double-click a .tar or a .tar.gz file on your Mac to uncompress it without special software.

If that doesn't work you can use Keka to open .tar files on a Mac. Once you install Keka, you can extract .tar archive files on a Mac.

  1. Download Keka. It should appear on your Desktop.
  2. Double-click the Keka .DMG file to open it. Another new icon named Keka will appear on your desktop.
  3. Drag the Keka icon to your "Applications" directory.
  4. You can now double-click the .tar.gz file to open it.