File compression makes files smaller so that they can be stored without taking too much space. Zipping also allows faster transmission over the internet. If you are a Mac, UNIX, or even a Windows user, you may have come across a TGZ File. If you are an experienced user, you probably know what a TGZ File is and how to extract it.

On the other hand, novice users may have a hard time figuring out what to do with a TGZ file. In this article, we take a look at what exactly is a TGZ file and how to extract TGZ files. Read on.

What is a TGZ file?

Before we delve into how to extract a TGZ file, let's take a look at what exactly are TGZ files. TGZ refers to a compressed archive file format with a TGZ or TAR.GZ extension. A TGZ file usually contains multiple files that you can open after extracting the archive. This file format is mostly used in UNIX and Linux-based systems to backup files and share them over the internet.

How to extract a TGZ file

In this section, we look at how to extract TGZ files with the two most popular desktop operating systems in the world. Keep reading to discover different methods you can use to extract TGZ files on MacOS and Windows-based systems.


Most UNIX-based systems, including MacOS, come with a preinstalled archive manager that lets users decompress TGZ files in just a few clicks using the GUI. If you want to unzip TGZ files on Mac, there are two ways to go about it. First, if you don't mind using Terminal, you can decompress a TGZ file with just a single command.

Open the Terminal app and enter the tar command with the x flag, then press Return. If you don't like using Terminal, don't worry. There are other ways to decompress TGZ files on mac. You'll be happy to know that MacOS can open TGZ files by default with the Archive Utility. Open Finder on your computer and double-click on the TGZ file to extract it.

You can also use a third-party app such as WinZip to extract TGZ files on MacOS. It functions just like the Archive Utility but with additional features such as support for more file formats.


While TGZ files are more common on Mac and other UNIX platforms, you may still come across a TGZ file on Windows-based systems. So how do you extract a TGZ file on Windows? Unfortunately, windows doesn't have a native option for extracting TGZ files, so you'll have to use an external program. However, WinZip can help you extract and manage TGZ files on Windows. Extracting TGZ files with WinZip is very easy:

  • Save the TGZ file. The first step is to download the TGF file on your computer.
  • Launch WinZip. Open WinZip and navigate to File>Open. Choose the TGZ file that you downloaded to your computer previously.
  • Select and extract. Select the files and folders that you want to open from the TGZ archive. After that, choose the location that you wish the extracted files to be saved and click Unzip.
  • Browse. Check the chosen file destination for the extracted TGZ files.


UNIX-based systems such as MacOS can open TGZ files by default, but you still have the option to use a more robust third-party utility. On Windows, you'll need to use a third-party app since there's no built-in option for extracting TGZ files. WinZip is an excellent option for both scenarios. With more than one billion active users, WinZip is probably the most popular compression tool out there. It's powerful, lightweight, and extremely reliable.

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