How to Uncompress Files in Linux: Exploring the Uncompress Command

Uncompressing Files in Linux: A Complete Guide

Compressed files are an essential part of Linux systems. They help reduce the size of files and folders, making it easier to store and transfer them over networks. However, it is not equally easy to extract these compressed files in Linux. There are several different compression formats available in the Linux environment, and each format requires a particular command to extract its content. In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at the „uncompress“ command and exploring its functionalities.

What is the Uncompress command in Linux?

The „uncompress“ command in Linux is a tool used in decompressing files that use the .Z file extension, which is a legacy compression format. This format was originally developed in UNIX systems and was also prevalent in Linux environments in the past. The format works by replacing repeated strings of characters with a reference to their previous occurrence, resulting in smaller file sizes. The uncompress command helps convert the compressed .Z files into their original form without losing any of their content.

How to Use the Uncompress Command in Linux?

To use the uncompress command in Linux, you must first locate the compressed file and have the right user privileges to extract it. Once you have confirmed this, use the following syntax in your terminal:

uncompress [compressed-filename]

Below is an example of how to uncompress a file named „sample.txt.Z“.

uncompress sample.txt.Z

This command will extract the file by replacing any repeated strings with their actual values, resulting in a new file with the name „sample.txt“.

Uncompressing multiple files can easily be done by adding their names after the uncompress command, as shown in the example below:

uncompress file1.txt.Z file2.txt.Z file3.txt.Z

This command uncompresses three files at once, and saves the uncompressed files with the names file1.txt, file2.txt and file3.txt, respectively.

How to Check if the Uncompress Command was Successful?

After extracting files using the uncompress command, you must verify if the uncompressed files are similar in content to the original files. The easiest way to do this is by comparing the files using a diff command. The below example explains how to do it.

diff [original-filename] [uncompressed-filename]

For example:

diff sample.txt sample.txt.Z

If the two files output „no difference“ on the command line, it indicates that the uncompress command was successful.


Uncompressing files in Linux may seem challenging at first, but it is a straightforward process once you get the hang of it. The uncompress command is a crucial tool in the decompression of legacy .Z files. Proper knowledge of this command and how to use it can help reduce the effort required in extracting compressed files on Linux systems. Follow the examples in this article to explore and gain practical knowledge of the uncompress command.