There are a bunch of duplicates of this question but none of them works for me.

I'm trying to make a back up of my ubuntu 16.04. web server on AWS.

Executing commands like so:

sudo su -

tar -cvpzf backup.tar.gz --exclude=/backup.tar.gz --exclude=/proc --exclude=/tmp --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/dev --exclude=/sys --exclude=/run --exclude=/media --exclude=/var/cache/apt/archives /

the latest output I get is this:

tar: /: file changed as we read it
tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors`

How should I make a full backup?

I successfully made a backup of my locally installed Red Hat 4.8.3-9

  • Hi, check out option #2 in this solution from Mohammad Azim. stackoverflow.com/a/37993307/277601. He 'touch'd the backup.tar.gz before the tar command so that the --exclude=backup.tar.gz would work since the file existed.
    – mdiehl13
    Mar 4, 2019 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


Your tar -cvpzf backup.tar.gz ... command puts backup.tar.gz in the current directory (which is the home directory of root, /root, in the default installation). You exclude --exclude=/backup.tar.gz, which, in this case is not the same as $PWD/backup.tar.gz.

cd / and try again, or be consistent with the filename.

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