I'm trying to backup my entire VM on Fedora Linux. I'm using the following command

tar -cvpzf / test/backup.tar.gz --exclude=/test

But when I do that, I come up with this error:

tar (child): /: Cannot open: Is a directory tar
(child): Error is not recoverable: exiting now
tar: Child returned status 2
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now 

Can somebody please explain what I'm doing wrong?


You need to specify the archive name before the directory:

tar -cvpzf test/backup.tar.gz / --exclude=/test
  • Now I'm getting a broken pipe error...any suggestions? – Nicole Louise Jun 6 '17 at 16:17

Name target archive file first:

tar -cvpzf test/backup.tar.gz ...

followed by the directory(ies) to tar:

tar -cvpzf test/backup.tar.gz / --exclude=/test

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