So I've got an HP-UX 9 box that I'm trying to backup, first to a tape with fbackup, to no avail, and now to a folder shared over NFS. I'm using the command "tar -cvf /nfs/Results/backup.tar /" where the single '/' should mean that I want everything within the root directory to be backed up, but for whatever reason it's only backing up a certain directory within /dev/ and then terminating. I get the feeling it doesn't like how I'm specifying the directory to be backed, so how might I get around this?

1 Answer 1


Your tar probably does not 'like' special files under /dev and then just errors out.

Backing up /dev just as-is is always problematic - e.g. think about reading from /dev/zero or a block device ...

With GNU tar you can easily exclude certain directories from your backup.

Or perhaps you can use some snapshot feature of your HP-UX root filesystem for backup.

  • So I removed the files it was bombing on, which were device files, but they were huge! One was 370MB. After deleting those files, it got past dev without issues. Can't believe I didn't try this before :p Thanks for the input, though! Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 23:40
  • On a related note, since my backup is of the entire system, it's including the NFS share I'm saving the backup to. So I'm making a backup of my backup! What would be the best way to exclude my /nfs/ folder? HPUX tar does not support the exclude command... Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 0:33

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