I have a Drupal 8 installation in a directory called my-D8. I want to update it to drupal 8.3.1, and I've downloaded drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz. I have both in my sites directory:

/d/sites $ ls
drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz  my-d8/

When I try to extract the archive, it puts everything in a directory called drupal-8.3.1, which I expected. However, I want all the files and subdirectories of that directory to overwrite (and add to) the existing my-d8 directory.

I tried the mv command, but in my shell, it refused to overwrite existing non-empty subdirectories.

$ mv drupal-8.3.1/* my-d8/
mv: cannot move 'drupal-8.3.1/core' to 'my-d8/core': Directory not empty
mv: cannot move 'drupal-8.3.1/modules' to 'my-d8/modules': Directory not empty

Googling around, I found this AskUbuntu answer, but when I tried it, it didn't quite to the trick:

$ tar -xvf  drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz --directory=my-d8  --strip-components=1
... ^C

Instead of overwriting files in the repo's root, it simply put the subdirectory in the repo:

$ ls my-d8/drupal-8.3.1/
autoload.php  composer.json  composer.lock  core/  README.txt

Edit I tried dope-ghoti's answer, and upon close examination, it didn't work:

$ ls
drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz  my-D8/

$ tar -zx -f drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz -C my-D8

$ ls my-D8/drupal-8.3.1/
autoload.php  composer.json  ...

$ cd my-D8/

$ git status
On branch master
Untracked files:
  (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)


nothing added to commit but untracked files present (use "git add" to track)

How can I easily extract the archive files and directories into their respective places in my repository?

$ tar --version
tar (GNU tar) 1.29
  • tar -C will set the directory into which to perform the extraction operation.
    – DopeGhoti
    Apr 19, 2017 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


From the manual:

       change to directory DIR

This alters the working directory of the tar process. You can also use --strip to remove the first component of the filenames (e. g. drupal-8.3.1/) in the archive. So, you can:

tar --strip=1 -zx -f drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz -C my-d8

If your tar doesn't have --strip, it should at least have --transform:

tar --transform 's_drupal-8.3.1/__' -zx -f drupal-8.3.1.tar.gz -C my-d8
  • 1
    Right back atcha - --strip seems to be the missing link here.
    – DopeGhoti
    Apr 19, 2017 at 21:28

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