using TAR to backup a home directory

Script started on Wed 28 Jan 2015 10:03:45 AM PST
The following commands demonstrates the creation of a TAR file of the home
directory in order to reimage a Linux system, or to make a backup copy.
Because of the size of the home directory on the real system a /home2/test
directory was created for the demonstration.  Also note where sudo or admin
rights were required.  A user can backup their own home directory, but not
all of /home.

one would mount an external memory stick or drive, or copy the tar file
to a different disk or device in order to update the systme.  If /home
is a separate file system mounted by the system upgrades and reinstallations
are less trouble.

--> du -sh /home
du: cannot read directory /home/lost+found: Permission denied
142G    /home
--> ll /home
total 20
drwx------  2 root   root  16384 Jun 18    2014 lost+found
drwxr-xr-x 39 luser users  4096 Jan 21 12:17 luser
--> sudo mkdir /home2/test
mkdir: cannot create directory /home2/test: No such file or directory
--> mkdir --help
Usage: mkdir [OPTION]... DIRECTORY...
Create the DIRECTORY(ies), if they do not already exist.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
  -m, --mode=MODE   set file mode (as in chmod), not a=rwx - umask
  -p, --parents        no error if existing, make parent directories as needed
  -v, --verbose       print a message for each created directory
  -Z, --context=CTX  set the SELinux security context of each created
                              directory to CTX
      --help         display this help and exit
      --version     output version information and exit

--> sudo touch /home2/test/this-is-a-file.txt
--> ll /home2
total 4
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jan 28 10:05 test
--> ll /home2/test
total 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Jan 28 10:05 this-is-a-file.txt
--> du -sh /home2
8.0K     /home2
--> df -h /home2
Filesystem        Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2          20G   18G 1015M  95% /
--> tar --help
Usage: tar [OPTION...] [FILE]...
GNU `tar' saves many files together into a single tape or disk archive, and can
restore individual files from the archive.

  tar -cf archive.tar foo bar  # Create archive.tar from files foo and bar.
  tar -tvf archive.tar              # List all files in archive.tar verbosely.
  tar -xf archive.tar               # Extract all files from archive.tar.

Main operation mode:

  -A, --catenate, --concatenate     append tar files to an archive
  -c, --create                       create a new archive
  -d, --diff, --compare         find differences between archive and file system
      --delete                        delete from the archive (not on mag tapes!)
  -r, --append                      append files to the end of an archive
  -t, --list                            list the contents of an archive
      --test-label       test the archive volume label and exit
  -u, --update                     only append files newer than copy in archive
  -x, --extract, --get            extract files from an archive

Operation modifiers:

      --check-device             check device numbers when creating incremental
                                         archives (default)
  -g, --listed-incremental=FILE    handle new GNU-format incremental backup
  -G, --incremental             handle old GNU-format incremental backup
      --ignore-failed-read   do not exit with nonzero on unreadable files
      --level=NUMBER        dump level for created listed-incremental archive
  -n, --seek                         archive is seekable
      --no-check-device        do not check device numbers when creating
                                         incremental archives
      --no-seek                     archive is not seekable
      --occurrence[=NUMBER]  process only the NUMBERth occurrence of each file
                                         in the archive; this option is valid only in
                                         conjunction with one of the subcommands --delete,
                                         --diff, --extract or --list and when a list of
                                         files is given either on the command line or via
                                         the -T option; NUMBER defaults to 1
                                         set version of the sparse format to use (implies
  -S, --sparse                      handle sparse files efficiently

Overwrite control:

  -k, --keep-old-files            don't replace existing files when extracting
      --keep-newer-files     don't replace existing files that are newer than
                                         their archive copies
      --no-overwrite-dir     preserve metadata of existing directories
      --overwrite       overwrite existing files when extracting
      --overwrite-dir             overwrite metadata of existing directories when
                                         extracting (default)
      --recursive-unlink     empty hierarchies prior to extracting directory
      --remove-files              remove files after adding them to the archive
  -U, --unlink-first              remove each file prior to extracting over it
  -W, --verify                     attempt to verify the archive after writing it

Select output stream:

      --ignore-command-error ignore exit codes of children
      --no-ignore-command-error   treat non-zero exit codes of children as
  -O, --to-stdout                 extract files to standard output
      --to-command=COMMAND   pipe extracted files to another program

Handling of file attributes:

      --atime-preserve[=METHOD]            preserve access times on dumped files, either
                                         by restoring the times after reading
                                         (METHOD='replace'; default) or by not setting the
                                         times in the first place (METHOD='system')
      --delay-directory-restore        delay setting modification times and
                                         permissions of extracted directories until the end
                                         of extraction
      --group=NAME           force NAME as group for added files
      --mode=CHANGES      force (symbolic) mode CHANGES for added files
      --mtime=DATE-OR-FILE   set mtime for added files from DATE-OR-FILE
  -m, --touch                      don't extract file modified time
                                         cancel the effect of --delay-directory-restore
      --no-same-owner          extract files as yourself (default for ordinary
      --no-same-permissions  apply the user's umask when extracting permissions
                                         from the archive (default for ordinary users)
      --numeric-owner          always use numbers for user/group names
      --owner=NAME           force NAME as owner for added files
  -p, --preserve-permissions, --same-permissions
                                         extract information about file permissions
                                         (default for superuser)
      --preserve        same as both -p and -s
      --same-owner               try extracting files with the same ownership as
                                         exists in the archive (default for superuser)
  -s, --preserve-order, --same-order
                                         sort names to extract to match archive

Device selection and switching:

  -f, --file=ARCHIVE         use archive file or device ARCHIVE
      --force-local                 archive file is local even if it has a colon
  -F, --info-script=NAME, --new-volume-script=NAME
                                         run script at end of each tape (implies -M)
  -L, --tape-length=NUMBER   change tape after writing NUMBER x 1024 bytes
  -M, --multi-volume          create/list/extract multi-volume archive
      --rmt-command=COMMAND  use given rmt COMMAND instead of rmt
      --rsh-command=COMMAND  use remote COMMAND instead of rsh
      --volno-file=FILE         use/update the volume number in FILE

Device blocking:

  -b, --blocking-factor=BLOCKS            BLOCKS x 512 bytes per record
  -B, --read-full-records    reblock as we read (for 4.2BSD pipes)
  -i, --ignore-zeros              ignore zeroed blocks in archive (means EOF)
      --record-size=NUMBER   NUMBER of bytes per record, multiple of 512

Archive format selection:

  -H, --format=FORMAT                create archive of the given format

FORMAT is one of the following:

    gnu                               GNU tar 1.13.x format
    oldgnu                           GNU format as per tar <= 1.12
    pax                                POSIX 1003.1-2001 (pax) format
    posix                             same as pax
    ustar                  POSIX 1003.1-1988 (ustar) format
    v7                                 old V7 tar format

      --old-archive, --portability
                                         same as --format=v7
                                         control pax keywords
      --posix                         same as --format=posix
  -V, --label=TEXT             create archive with volume name TEXT; at
                                         list/extract time, use TEXT as a globbing pattern
                                         for volume name

Compression options:

  -a, --auto-compress          use archive suffix to determine the compression
  -I, --use-compress-program=PROG
                                         filter through PROG (must accept -d)
  -j, --bzip2                        filter the archive through bzip2
  -J, --xz                             filter the archive through xz
      --lzip                           filter the archive through lzip
      --lzma                         filter the archive through lzma
      --no-auto-compress     do not use archive suffix to determine the
                                         compression program
  -z, --gzip, --gunzip, --ungzip   filter the archive through gzip
  -Z, --compress, --uncompress  filter the archive through compress

Local file selection:

      --add-file=FILE            add given FILE to the archive (useful if its name
                                         starts with a dash)
      --backup[=CONTROL]     backup before removal, choose version CONTROL
  -C, --directory=DIR          change to directory DIR
      --exclude=PATTERN               exclude files, given as a PATTERN
      --exclude-backups        exclude backup and lock files
      --exclude-caches          exclude contents of directories containing
                                         CACHEDIR.TAG, except for the tag file itself
      --exclude-caches-all   exclude directories containing CACHEDIR.TAG
      --exclude-caches-under exclude everything under directories containing
      --exclude-tag=FILE     exclude contents of directories containing FILE,
                                         except for FILE itself
      --exclude-tag-all=FILE exclude directories containing FILE
      --exclude-tag-under=FILE   exclude everything under directories
                                         containing FILE
      --exclude-vcs               exclude version control system directories
  -h, --dereference              follow symlinks; archive and dump the files they
                                         point to
      --hard-dereference     follow hard links; archive and dump the files they
                                         refer to
  -K, --starting-file=MEMBER-NAME
                                         begin at member MEMBER-NAME in the archive
      --newer-mtime=DATE     compare date and time when data changed only
      --no-null                      disable the effect of the previous --null option
      --no-recursion              avoid descending automatically in directories
      --no-unquote               do not unquote filenames read with -T
      --null                           -T reads null-terminated names, disable -C
  -N, --newer=DATE-OR-FILE, --after-date=DATE-OR-FILE
                                         only store files newer than DATE-OR-FILE
      --one-file-system          stay in local file system when creating archive
  -P, --absolute-names        don't strip leading `/'s from file names
      --recursion       recurse into directories (default)
      --suffix=STRING         backup before removal, override usual suffix ('~'
                                         unless overridden by environment variable
  -T, --files-from=FILE       get names to extract or create from FILE
      --unquote                    unquote filenames read with -T (default)
  -X, --exclude-from=FILE    exclude patterns listed in FILE

File name transformations:

      --strip-components=NUMBER          strip NUMBER leading components from file
                                         names on extraction
      --transform=EXPRESSION, --xform=EXPRESSION
                                         use sed replace EXPRESSION to transform file

File name matching options (affect both exclude and include patterns):

      --anchored       patterns match file name start
      --ignore-case                ignore case
      --no-anchored              patterns match after any `/' (default for
      --no-ignore-case           case sensitive matching (default)
      --no-wildcards              verbatim string matching
      --no-wildcards-match-slash   wildcards do not match `/'
      --wildcards       use wildcards (default for exclusion)
      --wildcards-match-slash      wildcards match `/' (default for exclusion)

Informative output:

      --checkpoint[=NUMBER]  display progress messages every NUMBERth record
                                         (default 10)
      --checkpoint-action=ACTION   execute ACTION on each checkpoint
      --full-time      print file time to its full resolution
      --index-file=FILE         send verbose output to FILE
  -l, --check-links               print a message if not all links are dumped
      --no-quote-chars=STRING  disable quoting for characters from STRING
      --quote-chars=STRING   additionally quote characters from STRING
      --quoting-style=STYLE  set name quoting style; see below for valid STYLE
  -R, --block-number          show block number within archive with each
      --show-defaults            show tar defaults
      --show-omitted-dirs    when listing or extracting, list each directory
                                         that does not match search criteria
      --show-transformed-names, --show-stored-names
                                         show file or archive names after transformation
      --totals[=SIGNAL]       print total bytes after processing the archive;
                                         with an argument - print total bytes when this
                                         SIGNAL is delivered; Allowed signals are: SIGHUP,
                                         SIGQUIT, SIGINT, SIGUSR1 and SIGUSR2; the names
                                         without SIG prefix are also accepted
      --utc                            print file modification times in UTC
  -v, --verbose                    verbosely list files processed
      --warning=KEYWORD            warning control
  -w, --interactive, --confirmation
                                         ask for confirmation for every action

Compatibility options:

  -o                                    when creating, same as --old-archive; when
                                         extracting, same as --no-same-owner

Other options:

  -?, --help                         give this help list
      --restrict          disable use of some potentially harmful options
      --usage                        give a short usage message
      --version                      print program version

Mandatory or optional arguments to long options are also mandatory or optional
for any corresponding short options.

The backup suffix is `~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX.
The version control may be set with --backup or VERSION_CONTROL, values are:

  none, off          never make backups
  t, numbered      make numbered backups
  nil, existing      numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise
  never, simple    always make simple backups

Valid arguments for the --quoting-style option are:


*This* tar defaults to:
--format=posix -f- -b20 --quoting-style=escape --rmt-command=/usr/lib/rmt

--> sudo tar cvfz home2.tar /home2
tar: Removing leading `/' from member names
--> ll
total 32
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users  4205 Jan 28 09:49
-rw-r--r-- 1 root   root    346 Jan 28 10:06 home2.tar
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users 20480 Jan 28 10:06 how-to-preserve-home.RAW
--> file home2.tar
home2.tar: gzip compressed data, from Unix, last modified: Wed Jan 28 10:06:50 2015
--> uncompress home2.tar
gzip: home2.tar: unknown suffix -- ignored
--> gunzip home2.tar
Archive:  home2.tar
  End-of-central-directory signature not found.  Either this file is not
  a zipfile, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part archive.  In the
  latter case the central directory and zipfile comment will be found on
  the last disk(s) of this archive.
unzip:   cannot find zipfile directory in one of home2.tar or
  , and cannot find home2.tar.ZIP, period.
--> tar xvfz home2.tar
--> ll
total 36
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users  4205 Jan 28 09:49
drwxr-xr-x 3 luser users  4096 Jan 28 10:04 home2
-rw-r--r-- 1 root   root    346 Jan 28 10:06 home2.tar
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users 20480 Jan 28 10:06 how-to-preserve-home.RAW
--> ll home2
total 4
drwxr-xr-x 2 luser users 4096 Jan 28 10:05 test
--> ll home2/test
total 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users 0 Jan 28 10:05 this-is-a-file.txt
--> ll
total 36
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users  4205 Jan 28 09:49
drwxr-xr-x 3 luser users  4096 Jan 28 10:04 home2
-rw-r--r-- 1 root   root    346 Jan 28 10:06 home2.tar
-rw-r--r-- 1 luser users 20480 Jan 28 10:06 how-to-preserve-home.RAW
--> exit

Script done on Wed 28 Jan 2015 10:08:08 AM PST

--> cat how-to-preserve-home.RAW | col -b > how-to-preserve-home.txt
--> rm -f how-to-preserve-home.RAW ; vi how-to-preserve-home.txt

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