tarfile — Read and write tar archive files
New in version 2.3.
Source code: Lib/tarfile.py
tarfile module makes it possible to read and write tar
archives, including those using gzip or bz2 compression.
zipfile module to read or write
.zip files, or the
higher-level functions in shutil.
Some facts and figures:
read/write support for the POSIX.1-1988 (ustar) format.
read/write support for the GNU tar format including longname and longlink extensions, read-only support for the sparse extension.
read/write support for the POSIX.1-2001 (pax) format.
New in version 2.6.
handles directories, regular files, hardlinks, symbolic links, fifos, character devices and block devices and is able to acquire and restore file information like timestamp, access permissions and owner.
open(name=None, mode='r', fileobj=None, bufsize=10240, **kwargs)
mode has to be a string of the form
'filemode[:compression]', it defaults to
'r'. Here is a full list of mode combinations:
'r' or 'r:*'
Open for reading with transparent compression (recommended).
Open for reading exclusively without compression.
Open for reading with gzip compression.
Open for reading with bzip2 compression.
'a' or 'a:'
Open for appending with no compression. The file is created if it does not exist.
'w' or 'w:'
Open for uncompressed writing.
Open for gzip compressed writing.
Open for bzip2 compressed writing.
'a:bz2'is not possible. If mode is not suitable to open a certain (compressed) file for reading,
ReadErroris raised. Use mode
'r'to avoid this. If a compression method is not supported,
If fileobj is specified, it is used as an alternative to a file object opened for name. It is supposed to be at position 0.
tarfile.open()accepts the keyword argument compresslevel (default
9) to specify the compression level of the file.
For special purposes, there is a second format for mode:
tarfile.open()will return a
TarFileobject that processes its data as a stream of blocks. No random seeking will be done on the file. If given, fileobj may be any object that has a
write()method (depending on the mode). bufsize specifies the blocksize and defaults to
20 * 512bytes. Use this variant in combination with e.g.
sys.stdin, a socket file object or a tape device. However, such a
TarFileobject is limited in that it does not allow random access, see Examples. The currently possible modes:
Open a stream of tar blocks for reading with transparent compression.
Open a stream of uncompressed tar blocks for reading.
Open a gzip compressed stream for reading.
Open a bzip2 compressed stream for reading.
Open an uncompressed stream for writing.
Open a gzip compressed stream for writing.
Open a bzip2 compressed stream for writing.
TarFileCompat(filename, mode='r', compression=TAR_PLAIN)
Constant for an uncompressed tar archive.
Constant for a
gzipcompressed tar archive.
Deprecated since version 2.6: The
TarFileCompatclass has been removed in Python 3.
Base class for all
Is raised when a tar archive is opened, that either cannot be handled by the
tarfilemodule or is somehow invalid.
Is raised when a compression method is not supported or when the data cannot be decoded properly.
Is raised for the limitations that are typical for stream-like
Is raised for non-fatal errors when using
TarFile.extract(), but only if
The following constants are available at the module level:
The default character encoding:
'utf-8'on Windows, the value returned by
Is raised by
TarInfo.frombuf()if the buffer it gets is invalid.
New in version 2.6.
POSIX.1-1988 (ustar) format.
GNU tar format.
POSIX.1-2001 (pax) format.
The default format for creating archives. This is currently
12.5.1. TarFile Objects
TarFile object provides an interface to a tar archive. A tar
archive is a sequence of blocks. An archive member (a stored file) is made up of
a header block followed by data blocks. It is possible to store a file in a tar
archive several times. Each archive member is represented by a
object, see TarInfo Objects for details.
TarFile object can be used as a context manager in a
statement. It will automatically be closed when the block is completed. Please
note that in the event of an exception an archive opened for writing will not
be finalized; only the internally used file object will be closed. See the
Examples section for a use case.
New in version 2.7: Added support for the context management protocol.
TarFile(name=None, mode='r', fileobj=None, format=DEFAULT_FORMAT, tarinfo=TarInfo, dereference=False, ignore_zeros=False, encoding=ENCODING, errors=None, pax_headers=None, debug=0, errorlevel=0)
All following arguments are optional and can be accessed as instance attributes as well.
name is the pathname of the archive. It can be omitted if fileobj is given. In this case, the file object’s
nameattribute is used if it exists.
mode is either
'r'to read from an existing archive,
'a'to append data to an existing file or
'w'to create a new file overwriting an existing one.
If fileobj is given, it is used for reading or writing data. If it can be determined, mode is overridden by fileobj‘s mode. fileobj will be used from position 0.
fileobj is not closed, when
New in version 2.6.
The tarinfo argument can be used to replace the default
TarInfoclass with a different one.
New in version 2.6.
If dereference is
False, add symbolic and hard links to the archive. If it is
True, add the content of the target files to the archive. This has no effect on systems that do not support symbolic links.
If ignore_zeros is
False, treat an empty block as the end of the archive. If it is
True, skip empty (and invalid) blocks and try to get as many members as possible. This is only useful for reading concatenated or damaged archives.
debug can be set from
0(no debug messages) up to
3(all debug messages). The messages are written to
If errorlevel is
0, all errors are ignored when using
TarFile.extract(). Nevertheless, they appear as error messages in the debug output, when debugging is enabled. If
1, all fatal errors are raised as
2, all non-fatal errors are raised as
TarErrorexceptions as well.
The encoding and errors arguments control the way strings are converted to unicode objects and vice versa. The default settings will work for most users. See section Unicode issues for in-depth information.
New in version 2.6.
The pax_headers argument is an optional dictionary of unicode strings which will be added as a pax global header if format is
New in version 2.6.
Alternative constructor. The
tarfile.open()function is actually a shortcut to this classmethod.
If a member occurs more than once in the archive, its last occurrence is assumed to be the most up-to-date version.
Return the members of the archive as a list of
TarInfoobjects. The list has the same order as the members in the archive.
Return the members as a list of their names. It has the same order as the list returned by
Extract all members from the archive to the current working directory or directory path. If optional members is given, it must be a subset of the list returned by
getmembers(). Directory information like owner, modification time and permissions are set after all members have been extracted. This is done to work around two problems: A directory’s modification time is reset each time a file is created in it. And, if a directory’s permissions do not allow writing, extracting files to it will fail.
Never extract archives from untrusted sources without prior inspection. It is possible that files are created outside of path, e.g. members that have absolute filenames starting with
"/"or filenames with two dots
New in version 2.5.
Extract a member from the archive to the current working directory, using its full name. Its file information is extracted as accurately as possible. member may be a filename or a
TarInfoobject. You can specify a different directory using path.
See the warning for
Extract a member from the archive as a file object. member may be a filename or a
TarInfoobject. If member is a regular file, a file-like object is returned. If member is a link, a file-like object is constructed from the link’s target. If member is none of the above,
add(name, arcname=None, recursive=True, exclude=None, filter=None)
Add the file name to the archive. name may be any type of file (directory, fifo, symbolic link, etc.). If given, arcname specifies an alternative name for the file in the archive. Directories are added recursively by default. This can be avoided by setting recursive to
False. If exclude is given it must be a function that takes one filename argument and returns a boolean value. Depending on this value the respective file is either excluded (
True) or added (
False). If filter is specified it must be a function that takes a
TarInfoobject argument and returns the changed
TarInfoobject. If it instead returns
TarInfoobject will be excluded from the archive. See Examples for an example.
Changed in version 2.6: Added the exclude parameter.
Changed in version 2.7: Added the filter parameter.
Deprecated since version 2.7: The exclude parameter is deprecated, please use the filter parameter instead. For maximum portability, filter should be used as a keyword argument rather than as a positional argument so that code won’t be affected when exclude is ultimately removed.
On Windows platforms, fileobj should always be opened with mode
'rb'to avoid irritation about the file size.
gettarinfo(name=None, arcname=None, fileobj=None)
TarInfoobject from the result of
os.stat()or equivalent on an existing file. The file is either named by name, or specified as a file object fileobj with a file descriptor. If given, arcname specifies an alternative name for the file in the archive, otherwise, the name is taken from fileobj’s
nameattribute, or the name argument.
You can modify some of the
TarInfo’s attributes before you add it using
addfile(). If the file object is not an ordinary file object positioned at the beginning of the file, attributes such as
sizemay need modifying. This is the case for objects such as
namemay also be modified, in which case arcname could be a dummy string.
TarFile. In write mode, two finishing zero blocks are appended to the archive.
Changed in version 2.4: posix defaults to
Deprecated since version 2.6: Use the
A dictionary containing key-value pairs of pax global headers.
New in version 2.6.
12.5.2. TarInfo Objects
TarInfo object represents one member in a
from storing all required attributes of a file (like file type, size, time,
permissions, owner etc.), it provides some useful methods to determine its type.
It does not contain the file’s data itself.
Create and return a
TarInfoobject from string buffer buf.
New in version 2.6: Raises
HeaderErrorif the buffer is invalid..
New in version 2.6.
tobuf(format=DEFAULT_FORMAT, encoding=ENCODING, errors='strict')
Changed in version 2.6: The arguments were added.
TarInfo object has the following public data attributes:
Name of the archive member.
Size in bytes.
Time of last modification.
File type. type is usually one of these constants:
GNUTYPE_SPARSE. To determine the type of a
TarInfoobject more conveniently, use the
Name of the target file name, which is only present in
TarInfoobjects of type
User ID of the user who originally stored this member.
Group ID of the user who originally stored this member.
A dictionary containing key-value pairs of an associated pax extended header.
New in version 2.6.
TarInfo object also provides some convenient query methods:
Tarinfoobject is a regular file.
Trueif it is a directory.
Trueif it is a symbolic link.
Trueif it is a hard link.
Trueif it is a character device.
Trueif it is a block device.
Trueif it is a FIFO.
Trueif it is one of character device, block device or FIFO.
How to extract an entire tar archive to the current working directory:
import tarfile tar = tarfile.open("sample.tar.gz") tar.extractall() tar.close()
How to extract a subset of a tar archive with
a generator function instead of a list:
import os import tarfile def py_files(members): for tarinfo in members: if os.path.splitext(tarinfo.name) == ".py": yield tarinfo tar = tarfile.open("sample.tar.gz") tar.extractall(members=py_files(tar)) tar.close()
How to create an uncompressed tar archive from a list of filenames:
import tarfile tar = tarfile.open("sample.tar", "w") for name in ["foo", "bar", "quux"]: tar.add(name) tar.close()
The same example using the
import tarfile with tarfile.open("sample.tar", "w") as tar: for name in ["foo", "bar", "quux"]: tar.add(name)
How to read a gzip compressed tar archive and display some member information:
import tarfile tar = tarfile.open("sample.tar.gz", "r:gz") for tarinfo in tar: print tarinfo.name, "is", tarinfo.size, "bytes in size and is", if tarinfo.isreg(): print "a regular file." elif tarinfo.isdir(): print "a directory." else: print "something else." tar.close()
How to create an archive and reset the user information using the filter
import tarfile def reset(tarinfo): tarinfo.uid = tarinfo.gid = 0 tarinfo.uname = tarinfo.gname = "root" return tarinfo tar = tarfile.open("sample.tar.gz", "w:gz") tar.add("foo", filter=reset) tar.close()
12.5.4. Supported tar formats
There are three tar formats that can be created with the
The POSIX.1-1988 ustar format (
USTAR_FORMAT). It supports filenames up to a length of at best 256 characters and linknames up to 100 characters. The maximum file size is 8 gigabytes. This is an old and limited but widely supported format.
The GNU tar format (
GNU_FORMAT). It supports long filenames and linknames, files bigger than 8 gigabytes and sparse files. It is the de facto standard on GNU/Linux systems.
tarfilefully supports the GNU tar extensions for long names, sparse file support is read-only.
The POSIX.1-2001 pax format (
PAX_FORMAT). It is the most flexible format with virtually no limits. It supports long filenames and linknames, large files and stores pathnames in a portable way. However, not all tar implementations today are able to handle pax archives properly.
The pax format is an extension to the existing ustar format. It uses extra headers for information that cannot be stored otherwise. There are two flavours of pax headers: Extended headers only affect the subsequent file header, global headers are valid for the complete archive and affect all following files. All the data in a pax header is encoded in UTF-8 for portability reasons.
There are some more variants of the tar format which can be read, but not created:
- The ancient V7 format. This is the first tar format from Unix Seventh Edition, storing only regular files and directories. Names must not be longer than 100 characters, there is no user/group name information. Some archives have miscalculated header checksums in case of fields with non-ASCII characters.
- The SunOS tar extended format. This format is a variant of the POSIX.1-2001 pax format, but is not compatible.
12.5.5. Unicode issues
The tar format was originally conceived to make backups on tape drives with the main focus on preserving file system information. Nowadays tar archives are commonly used for file distribution and exchanging archives over networks. One problem of the original format (that all other formats are merely variants of) is that there is no concept of supporting different character encodings. For example, an ordinary tar archive created on a UTF-8 system cannot be read correctly on a Latin-1 system if it contains non-ASCII characters. Names (i.e. filenames, linknames, user/group names) containing these characters will appear damaged. Unfortunately, there is no way to autodetect the encoding of an archive.
The pax format was designed to solve this problem. It stores non-ASCII names using the universal character encoding UTF-8. When a pax archive is read, these UTF-8 names are converted to the encoding of the local file system.
The details of unicode conversion are controlled by the encoding and errors
keyword arguments of the
The default value for encoding is the local character encoding. It is deduced
read mode, encoding is used exclusively to convert unicode names from a pax
archive to strings in the local character encoding. In write mode, the use of
encoding depends on the chosen archive format. In case of
input names that contain non-ASCII characters need to be decoded before being
stored as UTF-8 strings. The other formats do not make use of encoding
unless unicode objects are used as input names. These are converted to 8-bit
character strings before they are added to the archive.
The errors argument defines how characters are treated that cannot be
converted to or from encoding. Possible values are listed in section
Codec Base Classes. In read mode, there is an additional scheme
'utf-8' which means that bad characters are replaced by their UTF-8
representation. This is the default scheme. In write mode the default value for
'strict' to ensure that name information is not altered