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root@server # tar fcz bkup.tar.gz /home/foo/
tar: Removing leading `/' from member names

How can I solve this problem and keep the / on file names ?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 23 '12 at 15:32

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What exactly is not working as expected? –  Joachim Isaksson Dec 23 '12 at 12:48
It is not a problem. You do not want leading slashes in a tar archive. Seriously. If you want to extract an archive to your system root, specify -C / when extracting it. –  ThiefMaster Dec 23 '12 at 15:31

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Use the --absolute-names or -P option to disable this feature.

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This is the correct answer, but be aware, that in most cases, this is not what you want, cause it results in an archive that extracts in complete paths! –  rubo77 Nov 21 '13 at 10:04
Using the -C / option as described in @Marcus' answer will git rid of the STDERR message if that is your primary goal. –  Matt Sanders Dec 28 '13 at 22:29

This is how I did it by using brute force method: 2>&1 | grep -v "Removing leading".

For example:

tar -cf "$BKUPDIR/${BKUPFILE}.tar" --overwrite --exclude '.*' --one-file-system "$SRCDIR" 2>&1 | grep -v  "Removing leading"
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If you want to get rid of "Removing leading `/' from member names" being printed to STDERR, but still want to leave off those leading slashes as tar wisely does by default, I saw an excellent solution here by commenter timsoft.

The solution involves using -C option to change directory to the root (/), then specifying the file tree to archive without a leading slash, because now you only need a relative path. This does the same thing as a normal tar create command, but no stripping is needed:

tar fcz bkup.tar.gz -C / home/foo/
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It won't work with incremental backups. But a good answer. –  gajdipajti Aug 5 '14 at 7:12

That's actually a feature, not a problem. Archives with absolute locations are a security risk. Attackers could use such archives to trick users into installing files in critical system locations.

Yes, you could use -P. But what's wrong with allowing tar to remove the forward slash, and simply requiring the user of the archive to explicitly do the extraction in the root directory? Then they're consciously impacting critical system locations, and can't do it by accident.

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