Tar.xz file formats are not really as common in the world today. They are mostly used in Linux-based operating systems to compress files, using the LZMA2 compression algorithm. The good thing about the XZ format is that it offers lossless compression. This basically means that no quality is lost from the original data, which makes it ideal for transferring more critical files such as software applications.

While compression of XZ is known for being slow, its decompression can be quite fast if using the right tools. Usually, cloud storage services such as Dropbox automatically extract them for you when downloading or uploading. Also, the latest Linux distributions come with pre-installed XZ extraction tools.

However, if you lack these tools, you'll likely need to extract the Tar.xz file on your own. In this blog post, we shall take a look at how you can do it with WinZip, which works for both Windows and Mac computers.

What is a TAR.XZ file?

A Tar.xz file is a compressed archive that may be used to compress files and folders, share them over networks, or store them on disks. They are usually created using the tar command in Linux and UNIX systems, but you can use other software like WinZip if you are using Windows and MacOS.

These archives are often called tarballs because of their .tar extension, and they efficiently store files and folders, so they take up less space on your hard drive.

The Tar.xz file format has been around since the late 1980s and is still used today to compress, share or manage files. The name comes from the tar utility combined with XZ, which was created in 2005 as an improvement on ZIP and 7-Zip formats.

Tar.xz is by far the most popular open-source compression algorithm, but it's not without its drawbacks. Like any method of compressing data, there are trade-offs between size and speed of decompression – factors, which you should carefully consider when choosing a certain type of file to work with for storage or distribution purposes.

How to extract TAR.XZ files

As we saw, Tar.xz files are archives compressed with the XZ algorithm. The compression algorithm is especially effective as it is faster than standard ZIP and GZip formats.

Now, compressing and decompressing Tar.xz files is a relatively easy process. However, when extracting them on Windows, you will have to download third-party decompression software like 7zip or WinZip.

With the help of these software, you should be able to extract your compressed file in just minutes! Follow these four simple steps below to get started:

  • Step one: Download the WinZip program for extraction from their official website. It's absolutely free to use.
  • Step two: Go to the download folder and locate the WinZip setup file that you have just downloaded.  Click on the setup file to start the installation process, follow all the prompts.
  • Step three: The installed program should have a shortcut on the desktop. Open the program and click on "Open Archive," where you can locate the file you want to extract.
  • Step four: Select the file you want to extract. If you don't specify a saving location, the files will be saved into a folder called "WinZip Downloads," which can be found on the windows explorer folder.
  • Step five: Open up the folder containing your extracted data and double click on the desired file to open it with its appropriate application. If you're not sure which is which, look at the extension (e.g., if there's a .txt or .docx file, those are text documents; if there's a .jpg or .png, then these are images.


Extracting Tar.xz files can be tricky and time-consuming, but with software like WinZip, you'll be done in no time. Hopefully, with a little help from our guide, you can now extract TAR.XZ files, even on your Windows or MacOS PC.

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