I want to unpack a .tar.gz file to a specific directory.

The archive file is in /root/Documents. I want to unzip it into /root/Desktop/folder. The folder structure in zipped file should be preserved in the destination directory.

1 Answer 1


You have two choices:

cd /root/Desktop/folder
tar xf /root/Documents/file.tar.gz


tar xf file.tar.gz -C /root/Desktop/folder
  • thanks, how about gzip -dc archive.tar.gz | tar -xf - -C /destination ?
    – alwbtc
    Oct 19, 2011 at 13:12
  • what -C stands for? Jan 28, 2015 at 15:56
  • 4
    @AlikElzin-kilaka From man tar -C, --directory DIR change to directory DIR
    – tachomi
    Jan 28, 2015 at 16:31
  • 2
    tar -xvjf foo.tar.bz2 for those who are looking for bz2 like me
    – vladkras
    Jan 26, 2016 at 7:09
  • You actually don't have to specify the compression format anymore with modern tar. I edited the answer so it will work with bz2, xz, and whatever else you want to throw at it.
    – Patches
    Oct 8, 2016 at 23:59

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.