Solaris tar command to backup data on tape device

by on March 22, 2005 · 21 comments· LAST UPDATED March 11, 2008

in , ,

Tar name come from Tape ARchiver. It is both a file format and the name of the program used to handle such file. Tar archive files have names ending in ".tar". If an archive is compressed, the compression program adds its own suffix as usual, resulting in filename endings like ".tar.Z", ".tar.gz", and ".tar.bz2". Tar doesn't require any particular filename suffix in order to recognize a file as an archive. Tar was originally created for backups on magnetic tape, but it can be used to create tar files anywhere on a filesystem. Archives that have been created with tar are commonly referred to as tarballs.

Create a new set of backup

To create a Tar file, use tar command as follows:
# tar cvf /dev/rmt/X file1 file2 dir1 dir2 file2 …

  • c – Create a new files on tape/archive
  • v – verbose i.e. show list of files while backing up
  • f – tape device name or file

For example, backup /export/home/vivek/sprj directory to tape device /dev/rmt/0, enter
# tar cvf /dev/rmt/0 /export/home/vivek/sprj/
Remember c option should only use to create new set of backup.

Appending or backing up more files to same tape using tar

tar provides r option for appending files to tape. For example to backup /data2/tprj/alpha1 files to same tape i.e. appending files to a first tape device:
# tar rvf /dev/rmt/0 /data2/tprj/alpha1/*

  • r – append files to the end of an archive/tape

List files on a tape using tar command

To display file listing of a first tape use tar as follows:
# tar tvf /dev/rmt/0
To listing the Contents of a Stored Directory (for example wwwroot directory):
# tar tvf /dev/rmt/0 wwwroot

  • t – list the contents of an archive/tape

Retrieve / restore tape backup taken with tar

1) Use tar command as follows to retrieve tape drive backup to current directory:
(a) Change directory where you would like to restore files:
# cd /path/to/restore
# pwd

(b) Now, do a restore from tape:
# tar xvf /dev/rmt/0

To specify target directory use –C option

Restore everything to /data2 directory:
# tar xvf /dev/rmt/0 –C /data2
To retrieve directory or file use tar as follows:
# tar xvf /dev/rmt/0 tprj
Note that Solaris tar command is little different from GNU tar, if you wish to use gnu tar with Solaris use command gtar. Gnu tar accepts same command line options plus bunch of additional options :)

See Sun Solaris tar man page and tapes ~ creates /dev entries for tape drives attached to the system.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+PDF versionFound an error/typo on this page? Help us!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karthik April 7, 2005 at 2:29 am

how would i create a tar file so it does not copy the tar directory structure. For example:
tar -cf temp.tar /usr/local/myfile.txt

I dont want to have the directory structure in the tar file. I dont want “/usr/local/” in the tar file. I just want to file to be stored in the tar file.


2 Karthik April 7, 2005 at 2:30 am

how would i create a tar file so it does not copy the tar directory structure. For example:
tar -cf temp.tar /usr/local/myfile.txt

I dont want to have the directory structure in the tar file. I dont want “/usr/local/” in the tar file. I just want to file to be stored in the tar file.


3 Anonymous April 10, 2005 at 6:43 pm


Try format

tar –cvf file1 file2

By default it includes directory name however you can pass the following x or fF arguments to tar

tar –cvf –x dir1, dir2 .

x Exclude. Use the exclude-filename argument as a
file containing a list of named files (or
directories) to be excluded from the tarfile when using the key letters c, x, or t.

F – With one F argument, tar will exclude all direc tories named SCCS from the tarfile. With two argu ments, FF , tar will exclude all directories named SCCS


4 vinothkumar June 16, 2007 at 2:23 pm

hi suppose i took a tape backup entire but my hard disk crashed . i want to recover this partition slice table whether it’s possible or not.plz help to sort it out


5 nixCraft June 16, 2007 at 6:49 pm

Just restore data from tape to hard disk. Did you used tar or dump command?


6 tamer July 18, 2007 at 11:32 am

when i do this
tar xvf /dev/rmt/0 tamer

where is tamer is a dir in the tape .

befor i didthis command im allredy in th path where i whant this dir to besor in

but whene i check i cannot find the data

hellp me pls


7 hayan May 21, 2013 at 10:36 am

enter -C to extract a specific directory.
like this
tar xvf /dev/rmt/0 -C tamer

hope it help


8 Mohan August 23, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Is there a way to check how much used space / freespace in the tape


9 madhu December 10, 2007 at 6:53 pm

How do you only restore a specific file type onto a specific folder ?
Also, is there a way to restore files depending on date ?


10 Narith December 17, 2008 at 4:58 am

Hi madhu,

I ever try to find command to restore a specific file or dir too, but i cannot find it.
Now i can use WinRAR program on Window. I just open tar or tar.gz file with this program, i can extract some files or dirs i want.

If you found other option pls share. :)


11 nagaraju February 26, 2009 at 3:56 am

hoe to configure NIS server in Solaries 5.10


12 nagaraju February 26, 2009 at 3:59 am

how to configure DNS server in Solaries 5.10,
how to created Solaries partitions,
how to configured APACHE


13 sollin March 20, 2009 at 7:13 am

hi can i know how to identify the tape is write protected… please help me


14 Nagesh April 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm


how to remove tar file in media.


15 Rajasekar August 26, 2009 at 9:36 am

How to take file backup and restore in solaris ,and differenc between ufsdump and tar commmand


16 SYED April 13, 2010 at 7:25 am

how can i take solaris system backup using tar command?


17 kb April 22, 2010 at 6:54 am


why after i’ve made a daily backup, capacity for mounted on ‘/’ is 100%???i have to run rm * everyday to reduce the capacity from 100%. actually i think that the backup data went to ‘/’ and also to my backup tape.



18 Ravi`` October 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

What is meaning of GNU tar in solaris


19 mihai September 17, 2011 at 12:12 am

hey … i want to tar in solaris….pleas help me:

SunOS 5.11 snv_89 i86pc i386 i86pc
tar xvf me.tar
tar: directory checksum error


20 hany October 13, 2011 at 11:20 am


tar rvf /dev/rmt0 filename is not working with me
using AIX, testing a 4k file, it take long time with no response…

any help


21 somebody May 28, 2013 at 11:10 am

$ tar cvf home.tar /home/app
tar: Removing leading `/’ from member names
Why i’m getting this :” tar: Removing leading `/’ from member names ”

can someone tell me !!!!


Leave a Comment

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Previous post:

Next post: