How to Extract TAR Files

By Trisha Bartle

TAR files are directories that hold multiple data files. Though most TAR files are created on Unix-based computers, they can be extracted on Windows and Macintosh as well. The multiple extension ".tar.gz" at the end of a file name indicates a file in the TAR format compressed for a smaller file size, according to the FileInfo website. Compressing TAR files makes it easier to send multiple files over the Internet. If you get a compressed TAR file, extract the contents using a file compression program.

Things You'll Need

  • File archiving software

Step 1

Download and install the WinRAR file archiving software program. Although WinRAR specializes in RAR compression files, it can also extract files from the TAR and TAR.GZ compression file types. Use the graphical user interface to add the TAR file to the program. Extract the files from within the directory and save them in a new folder on your computer. Follow the simple instructions of the built-in file extraction wizard to extract your files from the TAR file directory. WinRAR is available in multiple languages including English, Albanian, Turkish, Spanish and Korean.

Step 2

Install 7-Zip onto your computer. Unpack data from TAR files with this file compression program. Unlike other Windows-based compression programs, 7-Zip allows users to create TAR files for storing multiple forms of data. Perform decompression tasks straight from the right-click menu in Windows Explorer to start 7-Zip commands. Those with more technical computer experience can use the command-line version of 7-Zip to institute more control over the extraction of TAR directory files. 7-Zip comes in over 70 different languages.

Step 3

Purchase and install WinZip, one of the most popular compression utilities for Windows-based computers. Load your TAR file into WinZip and click the "1-Click Unzip" button for automatic file extraction. Click the "Unzip" button to have more control over how the data is extracted from the TAR file and where the resulting files are stored on your computer. WinZip is fully compatible with computers using the Windows 7 operating system. Use the command line to control the decompression of TAR files in WinZip.