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I'm trying to setup a cron job to archive/backup /home/username/.mozilla/ directory and all its sub-directories, including hidden files, using tar. I like to run the job at 12:01 AM every night.

Here's what I have planned so far:

crontab -e

1 0 * * * tar -zcf /home/username/Dropbox/Backups/Firefox_Profile_$(date +%b_%d_%Y_"%H-%M").tgz home/username/.mozilla/ && echo "Firefox profile backed up on:" `date` >> /home/username/jobs

Though I have not actually setup the cron job yet, when I run this command in terminal:

tar -zcf /home/username/Dropbox/Backups/Firefox_Profile_$(date +%b_%d_%Y_"%H-%M").tgz home/username/.mozilla/

it does create a compressed archive, but upon exctraction, it creates a directory home > username > .mozilla and its sub-directories.

What I am looking for is:

(1) upon extraction there would be either .mozilla or preferably mozilla (removing the dot), and its sub-directories, including hidden files (no home or username directories).

(2) is tar -zcf the best way to get maximum compression.

(3) keep all the file permissions as it is.

(4) do I need to have [user] (which is "username") in this command: 1 0 * * * username tar -zcf

Thanks a lot.

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    you need to escape % sign with backslash
    – bac0n
    Feb 14, 2020 at 17:32

2 Answers 2

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  1. Use the -C option, like this: tar -zcC /home/username -f output.tgz .mozilla
  2. Read this answer.
  3. Use the -p option.
  4. I do not understand your question.
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    The answer to (4) is no in a user crontab (including that of the root user, as accessed via sudo crontab -e) but yes in the system crontab file /etc/crontab Feb 14, 2020 at 17:44
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    @Jags please also note bac0n's comment above regarding the percent signs - see for example Unable to execute command in cron Feb 14, 2020 at 18:00
  • @Jags he order of options isn't critical but fwiw I would probably write it as tar -czf /home/username/Dropbox/Backups/Firefox_Profile_$(date "+\%b_\%d_\%Y_\%H-\%M").tgz -C /home/username/ .mozilla/. Don't forget the leading / on /home. Feb 14, 2020 at 18:16
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Posting my own answer as, though fliegendewurst's answer helped me somewhat, I wasn't able to complete the command to run a cron job. Comments from bac0n and steeldriver help me figure out the rest.

What's working for me:

crontab -e

1 0 * * * tar -I 'gzip -9' -pcf /home/username/Dropbox/Backups/Firefox_Profile_$(date "+\%b_\%d_\%Y_\%H-\%M").tgz -C /home/username/ .mozilla/ && echo "Firefox profile backed up on:" `date` >> /home/username/jobs

Reference for specifying the gzip compression level using -I option: https://superuser.com/a/1091640

Note: If Firefox is open/running at the time of running this command, you might get a message that a file was being written.

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