Definition of Linux Untar
Untar is defined as a command which enables users to extract files that are compressed with tar, tar.gz, tar.bz2 formats of compression. This command is used for 2 specific utilities in file operations. It first helps the user to extract or in other words unpack files in the compressed mode and once the unpacking or extraction is done, the command helps the user to uncompress the same. Listing content, extraction of a single file, or directory are some of widely used utilities of the command untar. In this article, we will go through all the utilities of the command and take deep dive using some examples to understand them in even greater detail!
In Linux, there are lesser options available for untar in comparison to other extensively used commands, and we will discuss about all of those in detail here in this section and later in the article take a dig at the working of untar command in Linux.
1. Extraction of tar file
tar -xvf <tar file name with .tar extension>
2. Extraction of tar.gz file
tar - xvzf <tar file name with .tar.gz extension>
3. Extraction of tar.bz2 file
tar -xvjf <tar file name with .tar.bz2 extension>
4. Untar tar archive File at desired location
tar -xvf <full location of tar file> -C <location to specified directory>
5. List Content of tar Archive File
tar -tvf <full location of tar file>
6. List Content of tar.gz Archive File
tar -ztvf <full location of tar file>
7. List Content of tar.bz2 Archive File
tar -jtvf <full location of tar file>
8. Extract single file from tar Archive File
tar -xvf <full location of tar file> <file name to be extracted>
9. Extract all files from tar Archive File matching a particular file regex
tar -xvf <full location of tar file> --wildcards ‘<file type>’
How Untar Command works in Linux?
In recent times most of our files that are downloaded from internet are compressed using a particular compression format and that is where a few of the formats are, tar, tar.gz, tar.bz2. The history behind, tar is; in early times tar file format was used for creation of archives to store files on magnetic tape, and hence the full form of tar is Tape ARchive. Untar is a process of reversion of the process which leads to formation of the tar file.
In the computation world, there are two different versions of tar, namely BSD tar and GNU tar. By default, most of the Linux are pre-installed with GNU tar. Another similar process of untar is gzip utility with the command gunzip. Now, talking about the different options of utility of untar they are the following 4 options:
x – provides option to the tar command to extract files from the given tar file.
v – commands the tar to list out the files as they get extracted.
z – commands the tar command to decompress, without which by default the tar command will compress instead of decompressing.
f – helps to specify the filename which needs to be worked on for the untar process.
In the above few options, we look at all those utilities which are widely used. Apart from this, we also have other utilities like:
- wildcard option: This option allows the user to search for a type of file extraction. For example, one would like to untar only the .jpeg extension in a tar file which also contains other file types. Using the –wildcards ‘<file type>’ will allow the user to just extract the specified file type.
- C option: This option helps in untarring the specified files to a particular path location; incase one needs this utility specifically.
- Delete option: Though not a part of untar option, but a utility closely associated with untar is removal of a file from a tar archive. Using the –delete option assists the user to delete a specific file in a tar archive.
With all the utilities mentioned above, this command becomes an inadvertent skill set any Linux developer possesses.
Let us discuss examples of Linux Untar.
Extraction of tar file
tar -xvf eduCBA-demo.tar
Here we see that at first there are no such files present while we have the directory, but as we untar the file, all the file contents get extracted and uncompressed to the location where we are running the command from. Similar explanation goes for the below 2 examples as well (for tar.gz and tar.bz2).
Extraction of tar.gz file
tar - xvzf eduCBA-demo.tar.gz
Extraction of tar.bz2 file
tar -xvjf eduCBA-demo.tar.bz2
Untar tar archive File at desired location
tar -xvf eduCBA-demo.tar -C desiredLoc
Here we see that the location desiredLoc has no files under it, and as we extract the file, all the file contents get extracted to the location specified i.e. desiredLoc.
List Content of tar Archive File
tar -tvf eduCBA-demo.tar
List Content of tar.gz Archive File
tar -ztvf eduCBA-demo.tar.gz
List Content of tar.bz2 Archive File
tar -jtvf eduCBA-demo.tar.bz2
Extract single file from tar Archive File
tar -xvf eduCBA-demo.tar file1.txt
Extract all files from tar Archive File matching a particular file regex
tar -xvf eduCBA-demo.tar --wildcards ‘*.txt’
In this example, we see that only the files which had “txt” as an extension gets untarred in the location!
With the set of examples and explanation of way of working for untar command, the usage and utilizes are even more clear for the readers and now we leave it up to you to experiment more with the different permutation combination possible with the options present in the command utility. Though not mandatory, advisable to use untar command for any of the uncompressing process of a tar, tar.gz, tar.bz2 file types as these will always have the latest options available at its disposal.
This is a guide to Linux Untar. Here we also discuss the definition, syntax, parameters, and How Untar Command works in Linux with examples. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –