How to Open a Tar File

By Jackson Lewis

In UNIX and LINUX, TAR refers to the legacy term for tape archiving, or the storage of an entire file system on magnetic tape. As technology improved, the term TAR remained, but now it refers to the combination of one or many files into one compressed file with a .tar file extension. A TAR file is the equivalent of a ZIP file found on Windows operating systems, where multiple files are combined into one archival file for ease of storage and distribution. TAR files can be manipulated on Windows computers by using software tools designed for this purpose.

Step 1

Download and install the TAR extraction tool 7-Zip (see Resources).

Step 2

Open the 7-Zip application and select "Tools" and "Options" from the program menu.

Step 3

Select the "System" tab and check the check boxes by the .tar and .gz file extensions. Click "OK."

Step 4

Open the .tar file by selecting it from the 7-Zip file choice. Click the destination direction to extract the TAR file contents to your computer, and click the "Extract" program menu button.