Z File Type

- The quick facts

What are Z files and how to open them

Are you having problems opening a Z file or just wondering what they contain? We explain what these files are used for and show you software that we know can open or otherwise handle your files.

What is a Z file?

Z files have multiple uses, and UNIX Compressed data is one of them.

UNIX Compressed data

The most common type of file that contains the .z file extension is compressed Unix files. These files are used to create smaller files on computers that run on the Unix/Linux operating systems.

When a user has a large volume of files, they can make the files more manageable by combining them into a single file archive. This makes the organization and distribution of the files easier.

The .z files, however, can only contain one file. Therefore users will archive the files using e.g., TAR first and then compress the .tar archive with the "compress" command, resulting in a .taz or .tar.z file.

The .gz file format (another compression format) is becoming increasingly more popular than the .z format, however, and has been replacing it over time.

How to open Z files

We have identified 4 Z openers that are compatible with this specific type of Z file.

Programs that open UNIX Compressed data files

BitZipperBitZipperVerified
WinZipWinZipVerified
7-Zip7-ZipVerified
Stuffit ExpanderStuffit ExpanderVerified

Last updated: July 5, 2022

All known file formats using extension .Z

While UNIX Compressed data is a popular type of Z-file, we know of 4 different uses of the .Z extension. Different software may use files with the same extension for different types of data.

Pack compressed data

Another type of .Z file is created by the (deprecated) "pack" program on Unix. Pack was a program to compress (reduce in size) files, similar to GZIP and compress.

Both Pack and Compress use the .Z extension for compressed files, causing uncertainty on how to decompress them. Several modern tools like gzip, BitZipper, and 7-Zip can decompress both kinds of Z file.

You usually do not need to edit or view these files, as they only contain information usable by the software program that uses them.

InstallShield Z archive

The third type of compressed file using the Z file extension, are compressed installation files used by InstallShield installation software.

Though different unofficial "unshield" programs exist to unpack InstallShield .Z files, it is a proprietary format.

One such unpacker is UnshieldV3.

You usually do not need to edit or view these files, as they only contain information usable by the software program that uses them.

More file formats using the Z extension

Through our research of Z files, we know that the following formats exist. However, we have not yet analyzed them in detail.

  • Quasijarus Strong Compression Compressed Data

Help us help others

File.org helps thousands of users every day, and we would love to hear from you if you have additional information about Z file formats, example files, or compatible programs. Please use the links below or email us at submit@file.org to discuss further.