Files that contain the GZ extension are a compressed archive format which is used with the Linux and UNIX operating systems. GZ stands for Gnu Zip and is also commonly referred to as Gzip. Gnu is a project developed by open source programmers and is a compression algorithm which is created in multiple versions, the earliest version being created in the early 1990s.
GZ files are those that have been compressed using the Gnu Zip algorithm which is similar to Zip only the application is free as opposed to being proprietary. Gzip works similar to Zip; however, the compression algorithms are different, which means you must use different software to open and view GZ files.
GZ files can also contain the TAR.GZ or TGZ extensions, which are TAR files which have been compressed using Gnu Zip compression algorithms. This type of GZ file is commonly found on the UNIX operating system and must be opened using a TAR compression utility program. The original function of TAR was a tape backup utility, but now files with the TAR extension are used with modern day archiving.
How to Open GZ Files
Although GZ files are typically associated with UNIX, you can use other operating systems and compression utility programs to open and view them. Gzip comes preinstalled on UNIX and will automatically decompress GZ files so you can open and view the contents.
If you use Windows, you can open GZ files with Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe 2010, which is a comprehensive compression utility program that allows you to create compressed files. The program is also useful for opening GZ files that have been compressed with the Gnu Zip algorithm. Other programs that work with Windows include Corel WinZip 16 Pro, WinRAR, Acubix PicoZip, and PeaZip.
For Mac OS, you can use Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe 2011 to open GZ files. Other programs that work with Mac include the Apple Archive Utility and Dare to be Creative Archiver, which opens a broad range of popular archive formats, including GZ files.
If you use Linux, you can open and view GZ files with Gzip or Xarchive. You can also opt to use Ark, which is an open source software program that is designed to open and manage a variety of archive formats in the KDE environment including GZ, TAR, Bzip2 RAR, and ZIP.
GZ files can also be converted to another format by extracting them with a decompression utility designed for the appropriate operating system as described above and then compressing them again in another format such as ZIP or RAR. Additionally, websites such as Zamzar will convert the file to another compression format for you. You simply log onto the site, browse for and upload your file, select the new format, enter your email address, and click on Convert. Within minutes you will receive the new file format in your email inbox.