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I have two hard drives--a system drive and a data drive. The path to the data drive is /storage. Following this post, I went to the root of my filesytem and executed the following command:

tar cvpzf backup.tgz --exclude=/proc --exclude=/lost+found --exclude=/backup.tgz --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/sys --exclude=/storage /

Note that I excluded the data drive (--exclude=/storage) from the backup.

Now I want to restore the system drive but keep the data drive as it is. I should execute:

tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /

From the how-to instructions, I was given the impression that the excluded folders will be disappeared after the restoration because I will need to recreate the folders I excluded. I am worried that the restoration will erase everything in the data drive because there is no /storage in the tar backup file. Is this a valid concern?

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I don't think an existing directory that was excluded by tar will be deleted upon restoring. I think the implication is that if you restore on an entirely blank, virgin system, you'll have to recreate the excluded folders. I suggest you conduct a small-scale experiment by, for instance, tarring your /etc/ directory, ignoring a few subdirectories and files, and then restore that on a temporary directory, to see how it behaves. – roadmr Aug 19 '12 at 15:43
Thanks, roadmr. I tried the experiment you suggested, and result was assuring. – Kai Aug 19 '12 at 22:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

No, they will not be deleted. In general, tar extraction will erase a file or directory only if it is overwriting it with a stored one.

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