What is a BZ2 File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert BZ2 Files

Picutre of the BZ2 file icon

A file with the BZ2 file extension is a BZIP2 Compressed file. They're normally used only on Unix-based systems for software distribution.

BZ2 is often the compression used for popular file containers that don't support compression (like TAR files), so they may have a name like data.tar.bz2. Others that are holding compressed PNG image files, for example, may be named something similar like image.png.bz2.

A CPU that supports multi-threading can benefit from the upgraded PBZIP2 file compressor.

How To Open a BZ2 File

BZ2 files can be opened with most popular compression/decompression programs. Of them, PeaZip and 7-Zip are probably my favorites, both of which fully support BZ2 files. This means they can open BZ2 files as well as compress files to the BZIP2 format.

Another option is to use the B1 Online Archiver website. It can open files of this type in your web browser so that you don't have to download software to decompress the BZ2 files.

Linux systems can extract the contents of a BZ2 archive without any external software. Use this command in a terminal, but replace file.bz2 with your own BZ2 file:

bzip2 -dk file.bz2

Note: This command will keep the original archive file on your computer. Use the command bzip2 -d file.bz2 to have the original deleted after the extraction.

Files that are stored in a TAR file, but compressed with BZIP2, can be extracted with this command (again, replacing file.tar.bz2 according to the name of your own file):

tar xvjf file.tar.bz2

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the BZ2 file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open BZ2 files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert a BZ2 File

The easiest way to convert a BZ2 file to another archive format is to use one of the options from this list of Free File Converters for Occasionally Used Formats.

FileZigZag is one example of a free file converter that runs in your browser to convert BZ2 to GZ, ZIP, TAR, GZIP, TBZ, TGZ, 7Z, and other similar formats. Just upload the BZ2 file to that website and choose which format to convert it to. You then have to download the converted file back to your computer before you can use it.

AnyToISO can be used to convert TAR.BZ2 files to ISO.

Since BZ2 files are archives, it means they're not in a "regular" format like PDF, MP4, TXT, CSV, etc. This means that you can't convert a BZ2 file to one of those formats (i.e. you can't convert BZ2 to TXT).

However, if you have a BZ2 file that contains one of those files, you can easily convert one to a new format by just extracting it out of the BZ2 file first, with one of the programs I mentioned above. Finally, you can use a file converter on the TXT file (or whatever file type you're working with) to save it to a new format.

Tip: If you're looking to do the reverse, and compress something like a BSP (Quake Engine Game Map) file to a BZ2 file, you can use a file compression tool like 7-Zip.

If you need help, TF2Maps.net has a great tutorial on compressing BSP to BZ2.

More Help With BZ2 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 BZ2 file and I'll see what I can do to help.