Unzipping “huge” files in Linux

The Problem

Unzipping a file in Linux is pretty straight-forward with the unzip command. However, if you find that the command

$ unzip ReallyHugeFile

returns an error about the file size being too big, then you will have to use another tool.

The Solution

The 7za utility from the p7zip package can handle really huge files. You can download and install this utility on Fedora by using yum as root:

$ yum install p7zip p7zip-plugins

To extract a file, use the command

$ 7za e <zip file>

where <zip file> is the name of the file.


7za was a quick an easy solution to my problem. I was trying to unzip a 4.8GB file and unzip couldn’t handle it. 7za can theoretically handle a file of size 16 exabytes. The tool printed some diagnostic information on execution and was able to detect both the large size of the file and the correct number of cores of my desktop. It was very fast compared to unzip and it put my machine under a moderate load (LA ~ 4.0).


Author: Jay Jay Billings

I'm a physicist with a serious addiction to computing. Most days you can find my bumming around ORNL and Twitter.