I have a certain file named tmp.gz. When I try to decompress it using gzip -d, I get an error-message that it has multiple entries:

$ gzip -d tmp.gz
gzip: tmp.gz has more than one entry -- unchanged
$ gzip -d < tmp.gz > tmp
gzip: stdin has more than one entry--rest ignored

(And I get the same errors, of course, with gunzip instead of gzip -d.)

So, how do I decompress it and get all the files?

2 Answers 2


As explained by 'druuna' at http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/gunzip-%5Bfile%5D-has-more-than-one-entry-unchanged-618990/#post3047709, this can happen if it's actually a ZIP-file rather than a gz-file, just with a misleading extension, and it contains multiple files. (gzip -d does support ZIP-files that contain only one file.)

In my case, that's exactly right:

$ file tmp.gz 
tmp.gz: Zip archive data, at least v2.0 to extract

and using unzip rather than gzip -d worked perfectly.

  • 1
    Similarly, if zcat reports this error, instead use unzip -c. Apr 15, 2019 at 20:35
  • @CamilleGoudeseune: That's an interesting suggestion, but I don't really agree. This error only happens if the Zip archive contains multiple files (since gzip -d / gunzip / zcat / zless all support single-file Zip archives just fine). So if you get this error, you can't just mechanically change your command to use unzip; rather, you need to take a step back and decide what you want to do now. That will surely involve unzip in some way, but I don't think it's helpful to try to be too precise. Typical use-cases of zcat are not satisfied by unzip -c.
    – ruakh
    Apr 15, 2019 at 23:21
sudo unzip file.zip

Sometimes you don't have sufficient rights to unzip. Maybe write permission missing?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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