Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Let's say I have the archive website.tar.gz, inside is the following folder structure :


When I extract the achive, it recreates exactly the same folder hierarchy (of course). I was hoping there was a way to extract for example only the "coolwebsite" folder to whichever folder I'm in at the moment.

So if I'm on my server in mydir/ and I extract website.tar.gz, I want the result to be the coolwebsite folder, without all the preceding folders. Is that possible ?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just try this:

tar xvf tarfile --strip=4 ./home/mike/www/coolwebsite/*

should remove to 4 levels of directories (including ".")

EDIT: add option z (i.e. tar xzvf ...) if the input file is gzip'ed

share|improve this answer
This command didn't work for me with GNU tar 1.23 (Error: tar: ./Symfony/*: Not found in archive. It did work when I removed the ./ part from the path however. And yes, I can confirm that the top level directory inside the archive was named Symfony. Additionally I had to append the --wildcards option. Maybe this answer needs an update? – Hubro Apr 17 '13 at 16:06
It did not work for me. However, with GNU tar, the following switch worked for me: --strip-components=4. – Tristan J. Mar 31 '15 at 14:17

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.