Software & Apps File Types What Is an LZMA File? How to open, edit, & convert LZMA files by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on May 15, 2020 File Types Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email A file with the LZMA file extension is an LZMA Compressed file. The suffix stands for Lempel-Ziv-Markov chain-Algorithm, and the files are mainly seen on Unix-based operating systems. LZMA files are similar to other compression algorithms like ZIP that compress data to save on 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. The Unarchiver can open LZMA files on a Mac, and B1 Free Archiver is a similar LZMA file opener for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android. 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 that 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 a program on your computer tries to open the LZMA file but it's the wrong application, or if you'd just rather use a different one to open LZMA files, see our 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 supports saving the LZMA file to RAR. Still Can't Open the File? The most common reason your file isn't opening with the programs listed above is because you're not really dealing with an LZMA file, which might happen if you're misreading the file extension. For example, LZM files look an awful lot like LZMA, but only because their file extensions are similar. An LZM file is actually a Slax Module file used by the Slax operating system. ZMA and ZMAP are some other examples where the file extension is reserved for SPL Tracer and the video game Zombies Ate My Neighbors Map, respectively. If checking the file extension shows that you really have a totally different type of file, then research those letters/numbers to learn which programs are able to open or convert it. LZMA vs LZMA2 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. Some similar compression algorithms are LZ77 and LZ78, which are commonly called LZ1 and LZ2. LZMA is based off of these two algorithms.