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What is a TAR file?

The name "TAR" refers to Tape ARchive files and goes back to when files where stored on tape drives. TAR is a software utility used for collecting several files into one archive file, including videos and images, in one for easier distribution or archiving. The resulting TAR files contain useful information about the files they contain, such as user permissions, dates, directory structures and more. Since TAR files are simply archives, they need to be compressed by another utility, such as gzip, to reduce their size. The TAR format is often used for open source software distribution.

Winzip TAR extractor

How to open TAR files

  1. Save the .tar file to the desktop. If your compressed file was downloaded from a website, it may be saved in the Downloads folder in your Documents or user directory.
  2. Launch WinZip from your start menu or Desktop shortcut. Open the compressed file by clicking File > Open. If your system has the compressed file extension associated with WinZip program, just double-click on the file.
  3. Select all the files and folders inside the compressed file. Or multi-select only the files or folders you want to open by holding the CTRL key and left-clicking on them.
  4. Click 1-click Unzip and choose Unzip to PC or Cloud in the WinZip toolbar under the Unzip/Share tab.
  5. Choose the destination folder to place the extracting files and click "Unzip" button.
  6. Find your extracted files in the destination folder.

Open TAR files on Windows or Mac

  • WinZip 20
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • Internet Explorer 8 or later
  • WinZip Mac 4
  • Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, or 10.10
  • Intel 64-bit processor
  • Supports Apple Retina Displays

WinZip opens and extracts TAR Compressed Archive Files—and many more formats

We designed WinZip to open and extract from the widest range of file formats, including all of the following:

Get WinZip now to open your TAR file(s), then enjoy all that the world's most popular compression utility has to offer, including the easiest and most practical file compression, encryption, packaging, file management and data backup capabilities.


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