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Copying directories using tar and rsync

Submitted by on November 19, 2005 – 11:20 pm One Comment

In this example we use the tar command to copy the contents of the /export/home directory to /temphome. This particular syntax forgoes the creation of an actual tarball file. This can be useful if you are short on disk space.

cd /export/home
tar cf - * | (cd /temphome; tar xf -)

Note there is a space before and after the hyphen.

An alternative to this method is to use rsync. The appropriate rsync syntax would be as follows:

rsync -avu /export/home/ /temphome/

You can also use rsync to update the contents of /temphome to match the contents of /export/home. This will copy files from /export/home that are not in /temphome and will delete file from /temphome that are not in /export/home:

rsync -avu --delete /export/home/ /temphome/
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