Opening BZ2 files

Have a problem opening a .BZ2 file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what BZ2 files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .BZ2 file type?

The .bz2 filename extension belongs to the bzip2 Compressed Archive File (.bz2) file type and format. bzip2 is a lossless digital data compression algorithm invented by J.Seward and implemented in the bzip2 compressor/decompressor utility and programming library (libbzip2). bzip2 is a patent-free open-source project (BSD license).

A .bz2 file is an archive compressed with the bzip2 method. To be used, any .bz2 file must be decompressed first, and it can be done either with the bzip2 tool or any archive manager that supports bzip2.

Much more common on Unix-style OS'es (GNU/Linux), bzip2 primarily targets single-file compression, which is why it often works in pair with the tar archive format. Files that are to be archived, usually log files and source code distributions, are packaged into a .tar archive (tarball) and then compressed by the bzip2 algorithm (.tar.bz2). The GNU version of tar supports transparent handling of .bz2 compressed archives through on-the-fly processing.

Besides the GNU tar and the bzip2 tool itself, BZ2 archives are supported by a range of free and paid GUI-based archive managers on different operating systems, including Microsoft Windows.

Software to open or convert BZ2 files

You can open BZ2 files with the following programs:
WinRAR by win.rar GmbH
WinZip by WinZip Computing, S.L.

Popular formats