This option causes tar to verify the archive after writing it.
Each volume is checked after it is written, and any discrepancies
are recorded on the standard error output.
Verification requires that the archive be on a back-space-able medium.
This means pipes, some cartridge tape drives, and some other devices
cannot be verified.
You can insure the accuracy of an archive by comparing files in the
system with archive members. tar can compare an archive to the
file system as the archive is being written, to verify a write
operation, or can compare a previously written archive, to insure that
it is up to date.
To check for discrepancies in an archive immediately after it is
written, use the --verify (-W) option in conjunction with
the --create operation. When this option is
specified, tar checks archive members against their counterparts
in the file system, and reports discrepancies on the standard error.
To verify an archive, you must be able to read it from before the end
of the last written entry. This option is useful for detecting data
errors on some tapes. Archives written to pipes, some cartridge tape
drives, and some other devices cannot be verified.
One can explicitly compare an already made archive with the file
system by using the --compare (--diff, -d)
option, instead of using the more automatic --verify option.
Note that these two options have a slightly different intent. The
--compare option checks how identical are the logical contents of some
archive with what is on your disks, while the --verify option is
really for checking if the physical contents agree and if the recording
media itself is of dependable quality. So, for the --verify
operation, tar tries to defeat all in-memory cache pertaining to
the archive, while it lets the speed optimization undisturbed for the
--compare option. If you nevertheless use --compare for
media verification, you may have to defeat the in-memory cache yourself,
maybe by opening and reclosing the door latch of your recording unit,
forcing some doubt in your operating system about the fact this is really
the same volume as the one just written or read.
The --verify option would not be necessary if drivers were indeed
able to detect dependably all write failures. This sometimes require many
magnetic heads, some able to read after the writes occurred. One would
not say that drivers unable to detect all cases are necessarily flawed,
as long as programming is concerned.
The --verify (-W) option will not work in
conjunction with the --multi-volume (-M) option or
the --append (-r), --update (-u)
and --delete operations. See Operations, for more
information on these operations.
Also, since tar normally strips leading ‘/’ from file
names (see absolute), a command like ‘tar --verify -cf
/tmp/foo.tar /etc’ will work as desired only if the working directory is
/, as tar uses the archive's relative member names
(e.g., etc/motd) when verifying the archive.
Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License