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Next: , Previous: backup, Up: operations

4.6 Notable tar Usages

You can easily use archive files to transport a group of files from one system to another: put all relevant files into an archive on one computer system, transfer the archive to another system, and extract the contents there. The basic transfer medium might be magnetic tape, Internet FTP, or even electronic mail (though you must encode the archive with uuencode in order to transport it properly by mail). Both machines do not have to use the same operating system, as long as they both support the tar program.

For example, here is how you might copy a directory's contents from one disk to another, while preserving the dates, modes, owners and link-structure of all the files therein. In this case, the transfer medium is a pipe, which is one a Unix redirection mechanism:

     $ cd sourcedir; tar -cf - .  | (cd targetdir; tar -xf -)

The command also works using short option forms:

     $ cd sourcedir; tar --create --file=- .  | (cd targetdir; tar --extract --file=-)

This is one of the easiest methods to transfer a tar archive.

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