I have Mac OS X 10.5.8. I am not able to extract .tar or .tgz files with any of the extractor utilities (Mac OS Default Archiver or WinZip or 7zip or any other, I have tried almost all possible).

Each of them give same error:

"Unable to unarchive. (Error 32 - Broken pipe.)"

There is no problem with archived files, I can extract each of them when I use same extractors on Windows.

Would someone please help me with this?

4 Answers 4


Does it work from a terminal for tgz files? Open a terminal and cd to the folder that has the files and try something like this:

tar xvzf file.tar.gz

Or for plain tar files:

tar xvf file.tar
  • 2
    I usually face the same problem and go back to terminal to extract the archives. I get this even with zipped files.
    – ismail
    Mar 4, 2012 at 10:19

There may be too many NUL blocks at the end of the tar file, so that the tar command prematurely finishes its executions (and closes its standard input) after having received two NUL blocks while the gunzip command is still trying to write to the pipe that now has no reader anymore (which raises an EPIPEerror message with error number 32 for a broken pipe; for more information see: Tar-filled pipes).

According to the output of newproc.d Archive Utility.app seems to use the following commands (Mac OS X uses bsdtar by default):

/usr/bin/gunzip -c file.tar.gz | /usr/bin/tar xf - -C dir

To see the number of trailing NUL blocks in the tar file use:

gnutar -tzf file.tar.gz -i --block-number | nl | tail -n 25

To extract the tar archive try:

# -i: ignore blocks of zeros in archive (normally mean EOF)
gnutar -i -xvf file.tar.gz

.zip files can be tested with:

unzip -lv file.zip
unzip -t file.zip

check the directory and the path, the scipt may lead you to users/download/folders/blah

but you keep it on users/favourite/folder/blah (example) thats make the error.

  • 1
    Could you clarify that a bit?
    – Alex
    Jul 10, 2013 at 8:10

Your Hard Drive may also be running out of storage.

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