tar command on does not automatically detect the compression type of an archive

Solution Verified - Updated -


Extracting files from an archive, or inspecting the contents of an archive fail when

  • the archive is compressed
  • the archive is very small
  • and the compression type is not explicitly specified, so autodetect functionality is attempting to be used

The commands for extracting/inspecting are tar tfv <filename> or tar xfv <filename>. Following error message (or localized equivalents) are output:

 tar: This does not look like a tar archive
 tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), all versions below 7.5GA
  • tar
  • compression

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