Whether you use Linux, Windows, or Mac operating systems, there are several ways to extract tar files. You can use the system's extraction tools or opt for a third-party extraction tool.

Most importantly, the most feasible extraction method should be simple without being too technical. So, if you've been looking for ways to extract tar.bz2 files, you've come to the right place. But wait! You're probably new to all these and wondering what a tar.bz2 file is?

What is a TAR.BZ2 file?

What is a tar.bz2 file, you ask? A tar.bz2 file is a compressed file containing a source code and is used to move or store computer packages, video games, and software packages from one device to another.

Tar files have two main extensions: .bz2 or .gz. In addition, a normal tar file is uncompressed and existing as a .tar file. However, when compressed, the file changes to a tar.bz2 or tar.gz file. But for the sake of this guide, we'll focus on tar.bz2.

Downloading, storing, and sharing software files from operating systems can be a hassle. Nonetheless, one can use the tar.bz2 files to manage several files of varying sizes. For example, if you're downloading software, the format will often likely be a tar.bz2.

Before installing the software, you'd first have to extract all the files from the compressed archive file. Ideally, zipping these files in a single folder reduces the space occupied on the computer and makes it easy to manage hundreds or thousands of .tar files.

For some operating systems like Linux, tar.bz2 is the default method for saving all source code software program files. However, for other operating systems like Windows, you need to install third-party software for compressing the files before sharing or storing them.

How to extract TAR.BZ2 file?

How to extract a Tar.Bz2 file in Windows

To extract a tar.bz2 file, first, you have to download and install a third-party extraction software like WinZip. You can also use other software of your choice. However, we recommend WinZip. Next, you should access the file from the computer or external storage device.

If you've downloaded it on your computer, locate the file in your computer downloads, then copy and paste it on the desktop. Next, go to the Start menu to launch WinZip. You can also use the shortcut icon on your desktop.

Next, click to open the bz2 tar file on your desktop, then select all files in the zipped tar file. On top of the page, you'll see 1-click unzip on the navigation bar, which you should click to extract your files to your desired location.

How to extract a Tar.Bz2 file in Mac

Like in windows OS, you can extract tar.bz2 in Mac by using third-party software like WinZip or Unarchiver. The other alternative is to use an inbuilt app like the Terminal app for Mac OS.

For this guide, we'll show you how to use the Terminal app since we've already covered how to use the WinZip software.

First, launch the Terminal shell app, then copy and paste the tar.bz2 to the desktop for easy access. While the Terminal app is running, open the tar.bz2 file. Then run the tar –xyz foo.tar.gz command to extract the files. The files will be extracted to the same location where you can access them.


Extracting tar.bz2 files shouldn't be a hassle, especially after going through this comprehensive guide. However, if you'd love to get your hands on a reliable and easy-to-use files management system, WinZip would be worth trying.  Feel free to download for a trial.

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