I got a 1GB file with an .tar.xz extension. Apparently, inside this single file is PDF files and ebooks. How do I open this type of file and read these files? Does ExtractNow work?

Any simple tools?

Windows 7 64-bit. IE 8.

5 Answers 5


7-zip has a nice, easy GUI that can let you extract .xz (and many other) archives.

XZ files are not associated by default, so after installing 7-zip, right-click your .xz file and select 7-Zip->Open archive Then you can double-click the .tar file in that to see the .pdf file. You can then open it directly or since it is so big, it would be better to extract the .pdf file somewhere first.

As for ExtractNow, yes it does have xz files in its list of supported archive formats. If you already have ExtractNow installed and are familiar with it, then you could certainly use that.

  • Oops, my file is .tar.xz!
    – verve
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:17
  • Oh. Hee. Is 7-zip available for Windows 7? It doesn't say.
    – verve
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:20
  • 1
    It doesn’t matter. Open the .xz file, then open the .tar file, then extract the .pdf file.
    – Synetech
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:20
  • 1
    Yes. 7-zip is available for many OSes and architectures, but like I said, you may as well try ExtractNow since it says it supports txz (xz tar) files.
    – Synetech
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:21
  • 2
    7zip works wonderfully on windows 7
    – Journeyman Geek
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:28

Quoting Wikipedia:

xz is a lossless data compression file format incorporating the LZMA2 compression algorithm. While xz can only support one file the convention is to bundle a file that is an archive itself, such as those created by the tar or cpio Unix programs.

You need to decompress the outer .xz archive, and then decompress the inner archive. You can use XZ Utils, as mentioned by @Journeyman, or 7-zip to extract the files. I recommend 7-zip, as it is more user-friendly.



  • Can it open .tar.xz?
    – verve
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:18
  • 1
    Yes. The inner archive is .tar, while the outer archive is .xz. 7-zip has support for both.
    – iglvzx
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:19
  • Hmm...ExtractNow didn't work. Let me give your solution a try.
    – verve
    Feb 17, 2012 at 9:58

Apparently you can use xzutils, which has a windows port. xzutils' readme also indicates 7zip will work

  • A windows port? I'm lost. I checked it out: how do I use it?
    – verve
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:10
  • scroll down to 'prebuilt binaries' and download it. Unzip and use. The documentation also indicates 7zip will work as well
    – Journeyman Geek
    Feb 17, 2012 at 2:14

Why don't Windows users just stick with ZIP archives? Well, to extract an archive with a .tar.xz extension, then you should get 7-Zip. After 7-Zip is done installing, right-click on the archive file and select 7-Zip > Extract to filename\; the archive should then be extracted into its own directory.


You can do it using FAR Manager. Just open FAR Manager, click on your .tar.xz and press Shift + F2, it will be extracted to .tar. Then you can open the .tar with WinRAR or also using FAR Manager (by clicking on it and pressing Shift + F2).

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