I have big tar.gz and .rar files.

when i try to open them (even to amounted partition with over 500G) my root partition is consumed, i'm guessing it's something to do with temp files but i have no idea how to open it.

Here's my df -h output:

/dev/xvda1      7.9G  4.7G  2.9G  63% /
udev            3.7G  8.0K  3.7G   1% /dev
tmpfs           1.5G  176K  1.5G   1% /run
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            3.7G     0  3.7G   0% /run/shm
/dev/xvdf       493G  9.1G  459G   2% /mnt/att
s3fs            256T     0  256T   0% /mnt/buckets3
  • 1
    How big are the files? What command are you using for extraction?
    – gparent
    Jan 7, 2013 at 19:23
  • files are 6G and i'm doing standard gzip Jan 7, 2013 at 20:32

1 Answer 1


I believe that tar uses the /tmp directory for intermediate files. You have a couple of options.

One is to mount /tmp to a larger disk in your fstab. But that's a bit overkill.

Instead, you can set the $TMPDIR environment variable. If present, tar will use that instead of /tmp.

  • "I believe that tar uses the /tmp directory for intermediate files." -- Citation Needed, as the Wikipedeans say. I see no activity in /tmp via strace on a test decompress I just ran.
    – womble
    Jan 15, 2019 at 6:30

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