habibzain Just husband, father and enthusiastic men about System Administration. Love to write short article about it. Perhaps can help and be useful for others.

How to Use TAR Command on Linux/Unix

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The TAR command, short for Tape Archive, is a powerful utility in Linux and Unix systems that allows users to create compressed archives of files and directories. It’s a versatile tool commonly used for backup purposes and file distribution. Understanding how to use the TAR command is essential for efficient file management and system administration. In this article, we’ll delve into the basics of TAR Command Linux Unix and provide practical examples to help you harness its full potential.

See Also: Easy Compress File and Folder with Zip Command Linux

See Also: Easy Unzip Command Linux

What is the TAR Command?

The TAR command serves as a file archiving utility, bundling multiple files and directories into a single archive file. It also has the capability to compress these archives using various algorithms such as gzip or bzip2, resulting in smaller file sizes for efficient storage and transfer. The TAR command is particularly useful when dealing with large datasets or when you need to transfer files across networks. Learning how to use TAR can significantly streamline your workflow and save both time and disk space.

Basic Syntax and Options

To create a TAR archive, the basic syntax is as follows:

tar -cvf archive.tar files/directories

Here, -c stands for create, -v for verbose (displaying progress), and -f for specifying the archive file’s name. You can customize the command further with additional options, such as:

  • -z for compressing with gzip
  • -j for compressing with bzip2
  • -x for extracting files from an archive
  • -t for listing the contents of an archive.
See also  Easy Unzip Command Linux

Understanding these options allows you to tailor the TAR command to your specific needs.

Examples of TAR Command Usage.

Let’s look at a few practical examples to illustrate the TAR command’s functionality:

Creating a TAR archive with gzip compression

This is example to create tar archive with gzip compression.

tar -czvf archive.tar.gz files/directories

Extracting files from a TAR archive

To extract a tar archive with verbose output, you can use the following command:

tar -xvzf archive.tar.gz

Here’s a breakdown of the options used in this command:

  • -x: Extract files.
  • -v: Verbose mode. This option displays the files as they are extracted, providing more detailed information about the extraction process.
  • -z: Use gzip compression.
  • -f: Specifies the archive file name.

In this example, the archive is assumed to be compressed with gzip (-z), but if it’s compressed with a different algorithm, you may need to adjust the option accordingly (e.g., -j for bzip2).

To view listing the contents of a TAR archive, use this command:

tar -tvf archive.tar

Tips and Best Practices

To optimize your use of the TAR command, consider the following tips:

  1. Include the File Extension: When creating compressed archives, include the appropriate file extension (e.g., .tar.gz) to indicate the compression method used.
  2. Use Wildcards: Take advantage of wildcards (e.g., *) to specify multiple files or directories at once, simplifying the command.
  3. Check Disk Space: Before creating large archives, ensure you have sufficient disk space to accommodate the resulting file.
  4. Combine with Pipes: You can combine TAR with other commands using pipes (|) for more advanced operations.
See also  Install Winrar Linux from Source


Mastering the TAR command is a valuable skill for Linux and Unix users, enhancing your ability to manage files and directories efficiently. By following the provided examples and guidelines, you can confidently create, extract, and manage TAR archives, contributing to a more streamlined and organized computing experience. Whether you’re a system administrator or an everyday user, integrating the TAR Command Linux Unix into your toolkit can significantly improve your file management capabilities.

Hope it usefull, please feel free for comment.

habibzain Just husband, father and enthusiastic men about System Administration. Love to write short article about it. Perhaps can help and be useful for others.

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