What is an LZMA File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert LZMA Files

LZMA Files
LZMA Files.

A file with the LZMA file extension is an LZMA Compressed file.

LZMA stands for Lempel-Ziv-Markov chain-Algorithm. These types of files are seen mainly on Unix-based operating systems.

LZMA files are similar to other compression algorithms like ZIP that compress data to save disk space. However, LZMA compression is known to provide faster decompression times than other algorithms like BZIP2.

LZMA2 is a container format that can hold both LZMA data and uncompressed data.

There's some more information below on their differences.

TLZ is short for a TAR file that's been compressed using LZMA. It uses the TAR.LZMA file extension and is usually called an LZMA Compressed Tarball.

How To Open an LZMA File

PeaZip and 7-Zip are two free programs for Windows and Linux that can decompress (extract) the contents of an LZMA file. See this list of free compression/decompression programs for some other software that can open LZMA files.

To open a TAR file that's tucked away in an LZMA archive might require two steps: extracting the TAR file from the LZMA and then unpacking the data from the TAR file. Some decompression programs combine these steps into one, making the process a little easier.

In a Unix terminal, you can see this two-step process in a single command execution. Data in a TAR file can be unpacked from an LZMA archive using the following command (replace file.tar.lzma with your own LZMA file):

tar --lzma -xvpf file.tar.lzma

If the above command doesn't work, you probably don't have lzma installed. Use this command to install it if you think that's the case:

sudo apt-get install lzma

If you find that an program on your computer tries to open the LZMA file on double-click but it's the wrong application, or if you'd just rather use a different one to open LZMA files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change (in Windows).

How To Convert an LZMA File

You can convert an LZMA file to GZ, ZIP, TAR, TGZ, and some other archive formats using FileZigZag, an online and completely free file converter. Just upload the LZMA file to FileZigZag and choose which format to convert it to.

Another option is to use CloudConvert, which is another online convert that supports saving the LZMA file to RAR.


LZMA is perfectly acceptable to use, so long as you're compressing a small archive (under 256 MB). If you're compressing something larger, or if you're compressing already compressed data, then using a program that supports LZMA2, like 7-Zip, can provide you with faster and better compression.

However, you won't see an improvement using LZMA2 unless you're utilizing more than 4 CPU threads to perform the compression. Also, a lot more system memory is required for LZMA2 compression over LZMA.

This document from Tuts4You.com has some tests you can look at that show the differences in these two compression methods under the 7-Zip program.

More Help With LZMA Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more.

Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the LZMA file and I'll see what I can do to help.

Please let me know what unzip program you've been using and what operating system you're on, two important pieces of information in this case.