Saturday 13 October 2012

How To Exclude Directory While Compressing With Tar

Quite a handy and useful tip here. Several times, you want to compress files and folders but there might be cases when you want to compress your data excluding some of the directories. Tar command makes the process easier by providing us a exclusion switch.

I was actually backing up data I had downloaded in the remote server and wanted a copy of backup tar file in my system as well. But all those images that resided in the folders deep inside were not necessary for me. So all I did was something like below:

adm@RServ:~$ tar cvf backup.tar test --exclude=image*

The above command effectively excludes all the sub directories from testdirectory having the string image (eg. image, images, images_old in my case) and creates the backup.tar file. Moreover, the --exclude switch also co-operates the regular expressions so you can specify the regex to filter the directories. As an example, the command below excludes the directories a, b, c, d, and e while creating the tarball.

adm@RServ:~$ tar cvf backup.tar test --exclude=[a-e]

You can exploit this switch for ease several times in your daily works. I hope this helps :)