This is a one step command to extract and untar a tar.gz file.

tar zxvf filename.tar.gz

z = Gunzip(uncompress) it before extracting, used on file ending in .tar.gz or .tgz
x = Extract the contents of the TAR file
v = Verbose – display contents as it is tarring or extracting
f = Filename to follow

Note: If the file does not have “.gz” extension that means its already uncompressed and one has to just extract it using “tar xvf” command.

This is a two step command to extract and untar the file.

gunzip filename.tar.gz

tar xvf filename.tar

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