Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tar Extract a Single File(s) From a Large Tarball

SkyHi @ Thursday, August 20, 2009
Q. I've couple of large tarballs such as www.tar and images.tar. Is it possible to extract a single file or a list of files from a large tarball such as images.tar instead of extracting the entire tarball? How do I extract specific files under Linux / UNIX operating systems?

A. GNU tar can be used to extract a single or more files from a tarball. To extract specific archive members, give their exact member names as arguments, as printed by -t option.
Extracting Specific Files

Extract a file called etc/default/sysstat from config.tar.gz tarball:
$ tar -ztvf config.tar.gz
$ tar -zxvf config.tar.gz etc/default/sysstat
$ tar -xvf {tarball.tar} {path/to/file}
Some people prefers following syntax:
tar --extract --file={tarball.tar} {file}
Extract a directory called css from cbz.tar:
$ tar --extract --file=cbz.tar css
Wildcard based extracting

You can also extract those files that match a specific globbing pattern (wildcards). For example, to extract from cbz.tar all files that begin with pic, no matter their directory prefix, you could type:
$ tar -xf cbz.tar --wildcards --no-anchored 'pic*'
To extract all php files, enter:
$ tar -xf cbz.tar --wildcards --no-anchored '*.php'


* -x: instructs tar to extract files.
* -f: specifies filename / tarball name.
* -v: Verbose (show progress while extracting files).
* -j : filter archive through bzip2, use to decompress .bz2 files.
* -z: filter archive through gzip, use to decompress .gz files.
* --wildcards: instructs tar to treat command line arguments as globbing patterns.
* --no-anchored: informs it that the patterns apply to member names after any / delimiter.