I'm trying to build a backup script that creates a full tarball from my system each night. To do this I followed the tutorial here.

So to test it out I decided to create a manual backup:

tar -cvpzf backup.tar.gz --exclude=/backup.tar.gz --one-file-system / 

When I try to run this command I get the error:

tar: /run/: file is on a different filesystem; not dumped

This results in an exit code of 1. However, I want to run this command in a script and if the returncode is 0 I want to move the output file, otherwise delete it. If I understand correctly from the the tutorial linked above the --one-file-system implies that /run/ is ignored. But why do I get the error then?

For completness sake, the script (WIP) is shown below:


# Location to store backups
# Current date
DATE=$(date +"%d.%m.%YT%H.%M")

# Check if the file already exists. Should never be the case though.
if [ ! -f /tmp/$TAR ]; then

    echo "Changing dir to /"
    cd /
    # Create tarball
    echo "Creating tarball"
    tar -cvpzf /tmp/$TAR --exclude=/tmp/$TAR --one-file-system /

    echo "Exit status: $retcode"

    if [ $retcode = 0 ] ; then
        echo "Moving file.."
        # Move the file
        mv /tmp/$TAR $STORAGE/$TAR
        echo "Done!"
  • 1
    You are mistaken; you get the message about the path being ignored because you asked tar to be verbose with the -v switch. That does not cause it to have a non zero exit status. What can cause a non zero exit status however, is when it warns that the contents of a file changed while it was backing it up, which happens when you are trying to backup a filesystem that is in active use.
    – psusi
    Dec 2, 2014 at 19:00
  • Aha, this makes sense. I was indeed under the presumption that the ignore error was causing the exit code 1. Thank you. If you post this as an answer I will gladly accept. Dec 2, 2014 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


You should declare --one-file-system first before the exclusion rule. There is note from the same guide you followed.

If you want to exclude all other mounts other than the current - by this I mean partitions mounted to directories - then use the --one-file-system option appended before the exclusion rules. This has the effect of stopping tar from crossing into any other mounts in any directory including /mnt or /media.

  • That is indeed the case, but I do not explicitly ignore any directories like bin or sys. These ignores are implied by the --one-file-system. So in fact it is a verbatim copy of the command stated in the guide. Dec 2, 2014 at 14:14
  • I was referring to your --exclude=/tmp/$TAR
    – f01
    Dec 2, 2014 at 16:44

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