In the realm of Linux, it’s not unusual to face challenges when dealing with compressed files. One error you might come across is “stdin: not in gzip format.”

This issue often arises when trying to extract a gzip file using the ‘gzip’ or ‘gunzip’ command.

In this blog post, we will delve into the origins of this error and provide a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to help you tackle it effectively.

1) Understanding “stdin: not in gzip format” error:

The “stdin: not in gzip format” error generally suggests that the file you’re attempting to decompress isn’t in the anticipated gzip format.

Various factors could contribute to this, such as file corruption, an alternative compression format, or an erroneous file extension. To tackle the problem efficiently, it’s crucial to first comprehend the underlying cause of the error.

2) Verify the file format:

Initially, verify that the file you’re working on is, in fact, in gzip format. You can accomplish this by utilizing the ‘file’ command:

$ file yourfile.gz

This command will display the actual file type. If the file type is not gzip, it’s likely that you are using the wrong command to extract it. In that case, use the appropriate command for the given file type (e.g., ‘tar’, ‘unzip’, ‘bzip2’, etc.).

3) Check for file corruption:

If the ‘file’ command confirms that your file is indeed a gzip archive, the next step is to check for file corruption. You can do this using the ‘gzip’ command with the ‘-t’ (test) option:

$ gzip -t yourfile.gz

If the command returns an error, the file is likely corrupted. In this case, you will need to obtain a new copy of the file or attempt to repair the corruption using specialized tools or techniques.

4) Use ‘zcat’ or ‘gunzip’ with the ‘-c’ option:

If the file is not corrupted, you can try using the ‘zcat’ command or ‘gunzip’ with the ‘-c’ option to extract the content to stdout:

$ zcat yourfile.gz


$ gunzip -c yourfile.gz

You can redirect the output to a file if needed:

$ zcat yourfile.gz > yourfile


$ gunzip -c yourfile.gz > yourfile

5) Re-download or recreate the gzip file:

If the above solutions do not work, it is possible that the gzip file was not created properly in the first place. If you downloaded the file from the internet, try downloading it again. If you compressed the file yourself, double-check the compression process and recreate the gzip file.


Encountering the “stdin: not in gzip format” error in Linux can be frustrating, but understanding its root cause and applying the appropriate solutions will help you resolve it quickly.

Always remember to verify the file format, check for corruption, and use the right commands to extract your files. Happy troubleshooting!

Read also:

Downloading YouTube Videos in Linux Command Line with youtube-dl

Best Linux Distributions for Graphic Design

Categories: LinuxBlog

James R. Kinley - It Admin

James R. Kindly

My Name is James R. Kindly i am the founder and primary author of Storaclix, a website dedicated to providing valuable resources and insights on Linux administration, Oracle administration, and Storage. With over 20 years of experience as a Linux and Oracle database administrator, i have accumulated extensive knowledge and expertise in managing complex IT infrastructures and databases.

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