If you are new to the world of Linux, you probably unzip your tar.gz files first, and then extract them from the tar file… at least, if you are even bothering to use the command prompt at all. It’s easy to gunzip or even bunzip2 the files with a simple command-line switch.

To gunzip and untar a file in a single step, use the following—note that the z switch is the important one that tells tar to unzip it.

tar xvfz somefilename.tar.gz

To use bunzip2 to extract your tar.bz2 file in a single step, use the j switch instead.

tar xvfj somefilename.tar.bz2

Ahh, nice and simple, just the way we like it.

Profile Photo for Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.