When extracting a tar.gz file in ansible I end up with a first directory

- name: Extract archive
  unarchive: src=file.tar.gz

which results in /foo/bar/bar-version-someFirstLevelFolder/contentOfArchive How can I prevent creating this extra level of hierarchy?

  • May not be relevant but I know you sometimes need to be careful in adding a trailing slash to the destination directory. Does that help at all?
    – SauceCode
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


In order to strip the bar-version-someFirstLevelFolder you need to use the --strip-components=1 option in tar. So your playbook should look like

- name: Extract archive
    src: file.tar.gz
    dest: /foo/bar
    extra_opts: ['--strip-components=1', '--show-stored-names']

The show-stored-names option, available since Ansible 2.1, will fix the idempotency problems.

  • 2
    This seems to be the correct answer, but currently it can cause a crash. See this bug report: github.com/ansible/ansible/issues/29657 an intermediate solution would be to untar in the parent directory and then have a command: mv /foo/bar-version-someFirstLevelFolder/* foo/bar/ Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 1:22
  • 1
    Tested in the last version, it works. But, unarchive is not idempotent.
    – Jérôme B
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 21:15
  • If you know content of your archive and you can risk a bit, you can use creates: /some/file/that/unpacks to get some very limited impotence (tried and ansible-2.9.7-1.fc30.noarch correctly skips the task if I rerun the playbook).
    – jhutar
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 21:01
  • 2
    If you want to extract only a subset of files (like tar -xzf file.tar.gz dirname_in_tar/file.xyz does), you can add the file(s) to extra_opts as well, but you need to add them unstripped. Example: extra_opts: [ --strip-components=1, dirname_in_tar/file.xyz ] will only extract file.xyz from the dirname_in_tar directory.
    – riha
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 15:40

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