How can I use password protection with the tar command in Linux? I'm new to Linux so please explain to me with simple usage.

4 Answers 4


As far as I know tar doesn't provide this service. You could use 7zip instead, which does offer encrypted archives.

What you can also do is use gpg in addition to tar:

tar cvJf myarchive.tar.xz myfiles
gpg -c myarchive.tar.xz.gpg

This will give you a password protected archive.

  • hi thanks a lot, can you elaborate a little bit about this command tar cvJf myarchive.tar.xz myfiles gpg -c myarchive.tar.xz.gpg Sorry I'm new to Linux.
    – kevin
    Apr 19, 2011 at 8:38
  • 1
    You need to read a tutorial on the linux command line. This is basic stuff.
    – Peltier
    Apr 19, 2011 at 8:47
  • Thanks again !!! Can you point me some good tutorial ?
    – kevin
    Apr 19, 2011 at 8:59
  • 1
    In addition, look at the links of this page: reddit.com/r/Ubuntu/comments/bbnkp/…
    – Peltier
    Apr 19, 2011 at 9:12
  • This is two answers.
    – bukzor
    Apr 19, 2012 at 15:45

Run the output through pgp

tar .... | pgp --symmetric output.tar.pgp


pgp -d output.tar.gz | tar tv

Consider using proper asymmetric keys (public/private keys) for real protection

  • @sehe - Thanks a lot. But unluckily, I don't understand what you had written. Can you tell me a bit more detail? Thanks !!!
    – kevin
    Apr 19, 2011 at 8:40
  • 1
    @kevin: To my understanding, a "symmetric key" is a plain-old password-based system, like you're familiar with. An asymmetric key system has two "passwords" or keys, a public and a private one. You can share the public one freely, and people use this to identify you. The private key is the part that proves that you are you, so sharing it is a Bad Thing. Anyhow, the symmetric key is almost certainly what you want, since it's much simpler, although the asymmetric key is more secure, in theory.
    – bukzor
    Apr 19, 2012 at 15:44

Simple way

Step 1 : sudo apt-get install zip

Step 2 : zip -P password file.zip files

  • 3
    the password will show in history of commands .
    – Mr Coder
    Apr 30, 2020 at 4:30

To zip a file with password run the following command:

zip -er name.zip folder/

It will show a prompt to enter a hidden password.

To unzip the file, run:

unzip name.zip

And enter the password you added before.

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