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1. Name

tar - The GNU version of the tar archiving utility

2. Synopsis

tar [ - ] A --catenate --concatenate | c --create | d --diff --compare | --delete | r --append | t --list | u --update | x --extract --get [ options ] pathname [ pathname ... ]

3. Description

This manual page documents the GNU version of tar , an archiving program designed to store and extract files from an archive file known as a tarfile. A tarfile may be made on a tape drive, however, it is also common to write a tarfile to a normal file. The first argument to tar must be one of the options: Acdrtux, followed by any optional functions. The final arguments to tar are the names of the files or directories which should be archived. The use of a directory name always implies that the subdirectories below should be included in the archive.

4. Examples

tar -xvvf foo.tar
extract foo.tar
tar -xvvzf foo.tar.gz
extract gzipped foo.tar.gz
tar -cvvf foo.tar foo/
tar contents of folder foo in foo.tar

5. Function Letters

One of the following options must be used:

-A, --catenate, --concatenate
append tar files to an archive
-c, --create
create a new archive
-d, --diff, --compare
find differences between archive and file system
--delete
delete from the archive (not for use on mag tapes!)
-r, --append
append files to the end of an archive
-t, --list
list the contents of an archive
-u, --update
only append files that are newer than copy in archive
-x, --extract, --get
extract files from an archive

6. Other Options

--allow-name-mangling
re-enable handling of GNUTYPE_NAMES which is now disabled by default
--anchored
force exclusion patterns to match initial subsequences
--atime-preserve
don’t change access times on dumped files
-a, --auto-compress
with --create, selects compression algorithm basing on the suffix of the archive file name
-b, --blocking-factor N
use record size of Nx512 bytes (default N=20)
-B, --read-full-records
reblock as we read (for reading 4.2BSD pipes)
--backup[=TYPE]
back up files instead of overwriting (TYPE=numbered, existing, simple)
-C, --directory DIR
change to directory DIR
--checkpoint
print periodic checkpoints
--checkpoint-action
this action allows to specify an action to be executed upon hitting a checkpoint. Recognized actions are: dot, echo (the default), echo=string, ttyout=string, exec=cmdline, and sleep=value. Any number of ‘--checkpoint-action’ options can be specified, the actions will be executed in order of their appearance in the command line.
--check-device
enables comparing device numbers. This is the default.
--no-check-device
disables comparing device numbers during preparatory stage of an incremental dump. This allows to avoid creating full dumps if the device numbers change (e.g. when using an LVM snapshot)
--exclude=PATTERN
exclude files matching PATTERN
-f, --file [HOSTNAME:]F
use archive file or device F (otherwise value of TAPE environment variable; if unset, "-", meaning stdin/stdout)
-F, --info-script F, --new-volume-script F
run script at end of each tape (implies -M)
--force-local
archive file is local even if it has a colon
-G, --incremental
create/list/extract old GNU-format incremental backup
-g, --listed-incremental F
create/list/extract new GNU-format incremental backup
--group G
set group to G while adding files
-h, --dereference
don’t dump symlinks; dump the files they point to
--hard-dereference
during archive creation, dereferences hard links and stores the files they refer to, instead of creating usual hard link members (type ’1’)
--help
print help message
-i, --ignore-zeros
ignore blocks of zeros in archive (normally mean EOF)
--ignore-case
ignore case when excluding files
--ignore-failed-read
don’t exit with non-zero status on unreadable files
-j, --bzip2
filter archive through bzip2, use to decompress .bz2 files. WARNING: some previous versions of tar used option -I to filter through bzip2. When writing scripts, use --bzip2 instead of -j so that both older and newer tar versions will work.
-k, --keep-old-files
keep existing files; don’t overwrite them from archive
-K, --starting-file F
begin at file F in the archive
--lzma
selects LZMA compression algorithm
-l, --check-links
print a message if not all links are dumped
-L, --tape-length N
change tapes after writing N*1024 bytes
-m, --touch
don’t extract file modified time
--transform expr
applies filename transformations. The argument to this option can be a list of replace expressions, separated by semicolon (as in ‘sed’). Filename transformations are applied to symbolic link targets during both creation and extraction. This option may be specified any number of times, the specified transofrmations will be applied in turn.
-M, --multi-volume
create/list/extract multi-volume archive
--mode M
set permissions to M while adding files
-N, --after-date DATE, --newer DATE
only store files newer than DATE
--newer-mtime DATE
only store files whose contents have changed after DATE
--no-anchored
allow exclusion patterns to match any substring (the default)
--no-ignore-case
match patterns case sensitively (the default)
--no-recursion
do not recurse into subdirectories
-o, --no-same-owner
extract files with owner set to current user (the default for non-root users)
--no-same-permissions
apply umask to extracted files (the default for non-root users)
--no-wildcards
do not use wildcards when excluding files
--no-wildcards-match-slash
don’t let wildcards match "/" when excluding files
--null
for -T, use "NUL" instead of newline as filename terminator
--numeric-owner
always use numbers for user/group names
--old-archive, --portability
write a V7 format archive, rather than ANSI format. These options are deprecated, please use --format=v7 instead.
--one-file-system
stay in local file system when creating an archive
--owner O
set owner to O while adding files
-O, --to-stdout
extract files to standard output
-p, --same-permissions, --preserve-permissions
ignore umask when extracting files (the default for root)
-P, --absolute-names
don’t strip leading ‘/’s from file names
--posix
create POSIX compliant archive. This option is deprecated, please use --format=posix instead.
--preserve
like -p -s
-R, --block-number
show block number within archive with each message
--record-size SIZE
use SIZE bytes per record
--recursion
recurse into directories (the default)
--recursive-unlink
remove existing directories before extracting directories of the same name
--remove-files
remove files after adding them to the archive
--rsh-command=CMD
Use remote COMMAND instead of ‘rsh’. This option exists so that people who use something other than the standard ‘rsh’ (e.g., a Kerberized ‘rsh’) can access a remote device.
-S, --sparse
handle sparse files efficiently
-s, --same-order, --preserve-order
list ofnames to extract is sorted to match archive
--same-owner
extract files with owner as specified in archive (the default for root)
--show-omitted-dirs
mention directories that are being skipped over
--strip-components n
Strip the given number of leading directory components
--strip, --strip-components N
Strips the first N components from archive members’ pathnames when unpacking.
--suffix SUFFIX
append SUFFIX to make backup files (default ~)
-T, --files-from F
get names to extract or archive from file F
--totals
display total bytes written after creating an archive
-U, --unlink-first
unlink & recreate files instead of overwriting
--use-compress-program PROG
filter the archive through PROG (which must accept -d)
-v, --verbose
verbosely list files processed
-V, --label NAME
create archive with volume name NAME
--version
print tar program version number
--volno-file F
keep track of current volume (of a multi-volume archive) in F
-w, --interactive, --confirmation
ask for confirmation for every action
-W, --verify
attempt to verify the archive after writing it
--wildcards
use wildcards when excluding files (the default)
--wildcards-match-slash
allow wildcards to match "/" (the default)
-X, --exclude-from=FILE
exclude files matching patterns listed in FILE
-Z, --compress, --uncompress
filter the archive through compress
-z, --gzip, --gunzip, --ungzip
filter the archive through gzip
-[0-7][lmh]
specify drive and density

7. Environment

The behavior of tar is controlled by the following environment variables, among others:
TAPE
Device or file to use for the archive if --file is not specified. If this environment variable is unset, use stdin or stdout instead.
TAR_OPTIONS
Options to prepend to those specified on the command line, separated by whitespace. Embedded backslashesmay be used to escape whitespace or backslashes within an option.

In addition, the value of the blocking factor is made available to info and checkpoint scripts via environment variable TAR_BLOCKING_FACTOR.

8. Bugs

The GNU folks, in general, abhor man pages, and create info documents instead. Unfortunately, the info document describing tar is licensed under the GFDL with invariant cover texts, which violates the Debian Free Software Guidelines. As a result, the info documentation for tar is not included in the Debian package.

If you want to read the complete documentation for GNU tar, please refer to the online version at

 

<http://www.gnu.org/software/tar/manual/index.html >

This man page was created for the Debian distribution. It doesnot describe all of the functionality of tar, and it is often out of date. Patches to improve the coverage and/or accuracy of this man page are appreciated, and should be filed as wishlist severity bugs against the Debian tar package, not submitted to the GNU tar maintainers.

 


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