I'm trying to follow this tutorial to full backup my linux / Ubuntu 12.04 after a fresh restore.

my code in fullserver.sh:

tar -cvpf /backups/fullbackup.tar --directory=/ --exclude=proc
--exclude=sys --exclude=dev/pts --exclude=backups .

gives after executing ./backups/fullserver.sh the following error:

tar: Cowardly refusing to create an empty archive Try `tar --help' or `tar --usage' for more information. 
./backups/fullserver.sh: line 2: --exclude=sys: command not found

Any help to resolve this issue? I read somewhere that I have to remove "/" from the tar line, but I'm not sure that this is true...


The command should be just one line:

tar -cvpf /backups/fullbackup.tar --directory=/ --exclude=proc --exclude=sys --exclude=dev/pts --exclude=backups .

It seems you've split it into two lines.

  • Thanks Florian, I did that and get the following ( astra3177:~# ./backups/fullserver.sh tar: /backups/fullbackup.tar: Cannot open: No such file or directory tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now ) – Bill Bird May 2 '15 at 18:16
  • Most likely the folder /backup/ doesn't exist. Use another one or create it using sudo mkdir /backup/ – Florian Diesch May 2 '15 at 18:40
  • The folder is ( backups) and the file .sh is inside it. maybe a problem with folder's permission ( chmod ) ? – Bill Bird May 2 '15 at 18:55
  • I found it YEEEEESSSS, in fact, I should remove "/" from ( /backups/fullbackup.tar), so now it is like that ( backups/fullbackup.tar, and it is work :) – Bill Bird May 2 '15 at 18:56

I encountered this warning when trying to execute the command without specifying the zipped file name. For example:

tar -zcvf directoryName

The warning was not issued when I executed this:

tar -zcvf directoryName.tar.gz directoryName/

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