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What is a GZ File? How do you Unzip it?

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You’ve received a GZ file and aren’t sure how to open it. This guide will explain what a GZ File is and how to open it on Windows, Mac and Linux.

It is easy to see the contents of GZ files on most popular platforms. There are multiple ways to do so.

Let’s take a look at them all.

What is a GZ file?

GZ files are archives that have been compressed using the gzip compression technique (learn what compression does). This archive type, like other file archives allows you to combine files and reduce their size by compressing them.

You can extract files from GZ archives using built-in and third-party tools, just like RAR or ZIP.

Using Windows to unzip a GZ file

Windows 10 has many options for opening GZ files. You can also use the Command Prompt method if you prefer to use commands. If you are a graphic user interface person, you may use a third-party app to gain access to your GZ archives.

We will cover both.

Using the Command Prompt, unzip a GZ file

To extract the contents of your GZ archive, you can use the command tar within the Command Prompt. This command is already part of your operating system so you don’t have to install it.


These steps will allow you to extract the contents of your GZ file once you have it with you.

  1. Search for Command Prompt in the Start menu and click Run as administrator.
  2. In the prompt, click Yes.
  3. Replace the following command with SOURCE With the GZ source file DESTINATION With the target folder, hit Enter .
  4. If everything goes according to plan, the extracted files will be in your destination folder.

Your target folder may still appear empty after you have successfully executed the command. This is likely because you didn’t have admin privileges when you ran the Command Prompt. You should be able to open the tool with administrator rights.

How to Unzip a GZ file using an App

Many apps are available for free to extract from a GZ file. This task is easy and free with 7-Zip.

This app can be used to decompress GZ files on your computer.

  1. Get and install the 7Zip free tool on your computer.
  2. Use the built-in file manager to navigate to your GZ files.
  3. Click Extract to open the toolbar.
  4. Select the folder you wish to target in the Extract section.
  5. You can tweak other options if necessary, then click OK.
  6. You should find all the contents of your GZ file in the target folder.

How to open a GZ File in macOS

You don’t have to decompress files in macOS. However, you won’t need an app for archive types such as RAR.

GZ files can be opened on your Mac without any third-party software.

Either use the Terminal to extract files in a GZ archive, or you can use an integrated macOS tool to decompress them.

How to Unzip a GZ file on macOS using the Built-In tool

You can double-click your GZ archive just like ZIP. It will begin extracting its contents. This can be done from any Finder window of your Mac. The extracted files will then be available in a separate folder within the same directory that the original GZ archives.

If this doesn’t work, you can use the built-in unarchiver to open your GZ archive. To open your archive with the built in tool, right-click on the GZ archive.

A free app called the Unarchiver is another way to open a GZ file in macOS. The app also supports ZIP and RAR formats.

Use the Terminal to unzip a GZ file on macOS

You can use the Terminal to extract all files from your GZ archive with a single command. The files will be moved to a new folder within the same directory as their original GZ file.

This is how to use this method.

  1. Click on the Launchpad in Dock, search Terminal, then click the utility.
  2. Replace the following command with “” source.gz Enter the path to your GZ File and hit Enter .
  3. The Terminal will begin extracting files from the specified GZ archive.

Linux: How to Unzip a GZ file

You can open a GZ file by using a Linux command.

Gzip allows you to decompress the contents a GZ archive on Linux.

This command will extract your compressed files.

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command to replace SOURCE.GZ Enter the path to your GZ file and hit Enter .
    gzip. -dk SOURCE.GZ
  3. Now extract your GZ archive.
  4. You will need to use another command to extract the archive if it is a.TAR.GZ. To unzip TAR.GZ files, use the following command in Terminal.
    tar -xf SOURCE.tar.gz

Extracting GZ files on Windows, Mac, or Linux

GZ files are a well-known format. To extract the contents of your GZ archive, you can use any one of these methods if this is the first time you come across it. These methods are compatible with all major platforms, including Windows, Mac and Linux.

JAR is another format you might come across on your computer. There are also ways to extract files from JAR file format.

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