I have a directory, /Landsat_Data/ which contains subdirectories (Landsat_Data/Site1, Landsat_Data/Site2, etc.). Each subdirectory contains .tar.gz files (e.g. /Landsat_Data/Site2/LE70930862008092-SC20160107074735.tar.gz, etc.) and each .tar.gz file contains tif or xml files like thisL

-rw-r--r-- espa/ie  29952 2016-01-07 14:57 LT50930861991021ASA00_sr_snow_qa.tif 

What I want to do is to untar each tar file into its own sub-subdirectory (e.g. Landsat_Data/Site2/LE70930862008092-SC20160107074735/).

So far, I am using this command line while being the Landsat_Data directories:

find . -type f -name "*.tar.gz" -execdir tar -xvzf {} \;

However, this command extracts all the tif and xml files into each subdirectory (e.g. Landsat_Data/Site2) while I just want to untar the LE70930862008092-SC20160107074735.tar.gz to have a sub-sub-directory called LE70930862008092-SC20160107074735 which contains all the tif and xml files. Any idea how I can achieve what I want?

  • Could we see a sample of tar -tvf of a tar file? It also seems like your subfolder have a further folder structure, could we see a sample of that as well? – Zachary Brady Oct 12 '16 at 13:15
  • When you say "tar folder", you mean "tar file", right? Oh, and in the *nix world, we don't have folders, we have "directories" :) – terdon Oct 12 '16 at 13:19
  • @Zachary -rw-r--r-- espa/ie 59416 2016-01-07 14:57 LT50930861991021ASA00_sr_band5.tif -rw-r--r-- espa/ie 29952 2016-01-07 14:57 LT50930861991021ASA00_toa_band6_qa.tif – SimonB Oct 12 '16 at 13:20
  • Welcome to Unix & Linux! Please edit your question to add extra information. It is hard to read and easy to miss in the comments. Also, comments can be deleted with no warning. – terdon Oct 12 '16 at 13:20
  • @terdon I have tar directories which contains different tif files as shown in a previous comments. Just want to untar the directories while the files stay in the directories. Hope it is clear. – SimonB Oct 12 '16 at 13:23


find . -type f -name "*.tar.gz" -execdir tar -xvzf {} \;

according to man find

-execdir command ;

-execdir command {} +

Like -exec, but the specified command is run from the subdirectory containing the matched file, which is not normally the directory in which you started find.

  • Thanks. But this extracts the files contain in the tar-folder but I just want to untar the tar-folder while the files stay inside the untar-folders. Any clue how to do it? – SimonB Oct 12 '16 at 13:05
  • @SimonB can you edit your post 1) with initial folder's content 2) intended extracted file ? – Archemar Oct 12 '16 at 13:08

Here's one way (this assumes you're using bash):

$ shopt -s globstar   
$ for tar in /Landsat_Data/**/*.tar.gz; do 
   tar xvzf "$tar" --one-top-level="$(dirname "$tar")"/"$(basename "$tar" .tar.gz)"

The globstar option makes ** match 0 or more files and directories recursively, so /Landsat_Data/**/*.tar.gz will match all *tar.gz files in any subdirectory of /Landsat_Data/. The dirname command prints the directory name of its input and the basename only the name with the extension you give it (here tar.gz removed. So, for example:

$ dirname /Landsat_Data/Site2/LE70930862008092-SC20160107074735.tar.gz
$ basename /Landsat_Data/Site2/LE70930862008092-SC20160107074735.tar.gz .tar.gz

The --one-top-level is explained in man tar:

          Extract all files into DIR, or, if used without argument, into a
          subdirectory  named by the base name of the archive (minus stan‐
          dard compression suffixes recognizable by --auto-compress).

Taken together, this will do what you want.

If your tar doesn't have that option, you can do it manually:

$ shopt -s globstar   
$ for tar in /Landsat_Data/**/*.tar.gz; do 
    newdir="$(dirname "$tar")"/"$(basename "$tar" .tar.gz)"
    mkdir "$newdir"
    tar xvzf "$tar" -C "$newdir"
  • Thanks terdon. I do have an error message though. ' unrecognized option '--one-top-level=/Landsat_Data/**/*' – SimonB Oct 12 '16 at 14:40
  • @SimonB what operating system are you using? – terdon Oct 12 '16 at 14:42
  • I am on linux OS – SimonB Oct 12 '16 at 14:46
  • @SimonB strange, maybe you have an older tar version. Anyway, see updated answer. – terdon Oct 12 '16 at 14:54

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.