I have tried both gzip and gunzip commands but I get either

gunzip *.gz 
gzip: invalid option -- 'Y' 

gunzip -S-1800-01-01-000000-g01.h5.gz  
gzip: compressed data not read
 from a terminal. Use -f to force decompression. For help, type: gzip -h

If I try the -f option it takes a very long time to work on one single file and the command is not executed successfully. Am I missing something?

  • 3
    Does the directory contain .gz files whose names start with hyphens, such as -Y.something.gz? If so you may need to use the Gnu -- flag to ensure that they are treated as filenames rather than options i.e. gunzip -- *.gz – steeldriver Nov 3 '15 at 13:29
  • @steeldriver yes I do have a few files starting with - – Herman Toothrot Nov 3 '15 at 13:47
  • that caused at least one of the two problems. – Herman Toothrot Nov 3 '15 at 14:25

You can use below command.

Go to the directory where your .gz file is and run command:

for f in *.gz ; do gunzip -c "$f" > /home/$USER/"${f%.*}" ; done

It will extract all file with original name and store it to current user home directory(/home/username). You can change it to somewhere else.


gunzip *.gz

This command also will work. But, by default, it replaces original file.

  • Have you read what I wrote in my question? gunzip *.gz is not working for me. But the for loop works, I am puzzled. – Herman Toothrot Nov 3 '15 at 13:24
  • but it is working for me and others also why is showing ` invalid option -- 'Y' ` . i think either your file format is not ok or you missing some thing in command. – pl_rock Nov 3 '15 at 13:26
  • also see unix.stackexchange.com/questions/56421/… – pl_rock Nov 3 '15 at 13:27

Option # 1 : unzip multiple files using single quote (short version)

gunzip '*.gz'

Note that *.gz word is put in between two single quote, so that shell will not recognize it as a wild card character.

Option # 2 : unzip multiple files using shell for loop (long version)

for g in *.gz; do gunzip $g; done

The Source


I have just tried :

gunzip -dk *.gz

and it worked.

-d to decompress and k to keep original files.

  • have you checked gunzip ‘*.gz’ this command . i am not able to run this command . it giving error . – pl_rock Nov 3 '15 at 13:08
  • use gunzip '*.gz' not gunzip ‘*.gz’ (' ' not `‘ ``) – Bilal Nov 3 '15 at 13:16
  • i am just copy pasting your command and it giving gzip: *.gz: No such file or directory new also not working . have u tried ? – pl_rock Nov 3 '15 at 13:19
  • It does not work gunzip '*.gz' gzip: *.gz: No such file or directory – Herman Toothrot Nov 3 '15 at 13:23
  • Sorry, i didn'ttry it ! i'm on WIndows Right now :( – Bilal Nov 3 '15 at 13:26

Linux Users:

Use the following command for extracting minimum amount of .gz files in the current directory and its sub directories

gunzip *.gz

Use the following command for extracting any number of .gz files in the current directory and its sub directories

sudo find . -name "*.gz" | xargs gunzip
  • how to understand "minimum amount of .gz files"? as "0 or 1"? – qdinar Jan 8 at 13:14

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