RESTORE(8) System management commands RESTORE(8)
restore - restore files or file systems from backups made with dump
restore -C [-cdHklMvVy] [-b blocksize] [-D filesystem] [-f file] [-F
script] [-L limit] [-s fileno] [-T directory]
restore -i [-acdhHklmMNouvVy] [-A file] [-b blocksize] [-f file] [-F
script] [-Q file] [-s fileno] [-T directory]
restore -P file [-acdhHklmMNuvVy] [-b blocksize] [-f file] [-F script]
[-s fileno] [-T directory] [-X filelist] [ file ... ]
restore -R [-cdHklMNuvVy] [-b blocksize] [-f file] [-F script] [-s
fileno] [-T directory]
restore -r [-cdHklMNuvVy] [-b blocksize] [-f file] [-F script] [-s
fileno] [-T directory]
restore -t [-cdhHklMNuvVy] [-A file] [-b blocksize] [-f file] [-F
script] [-Q file] [-s fileno] [-T directory] [-X filelist] [ file ... ]
restore -x [-adchHklmMNouvVy] [-A file] [-b blocksize] [-f file] [-F
script] [-Q file] [-s fileno] [-T directory] [-X filelist] [ file ... ]
The restore command performs the inverse function of dump(8). A full
backup of a file system may be restored and subsequent incremental
backups layered on top of it. Single files and directory subtrees may
be restored from full or partial backups. Restore works across a net-
work; to do this see the -f flag described below. Other arguments to
the command are file or directory names specifying the files that are
to be restored. Unless the -h flag is specified (see below), the
appearance of a directory name refers to the files and (recursively)
subdirectories of that directory.
Exactly one of the following flags is required:
-C This mode allows comparison of files from a dump. Restore reads
the backup and compares its contents with files present on the
disk. It first changes its working directory to the root of the
filesystem that was dumped and compares the tape with the files
in its new current directory. See also the -L flag described
-i This mode allows interactive restoration of files from a dump.
After reading in the directory information from the dump,
restore provides a shell like interface that allows the user to
move around the directory tree selecting files to be extracted.
The available commands are given below; for those commands that
require an argument, the default is the current directory.
The current directory or specified argument is added to
the list of files to be extracted. If a directory is
specified, then it and all its descendents are added to
the extraction list (unless the -h flag is specified on
the command line). Files that are on the extraction list
are prepended with a "*" when they are listed by ls.
cd arg Change the current working directory to the specified
The current directory or specified argument is deleted
from the list of files to be extracted. If a directory is
specified, then it and all its descendents are deleted
from the extraction list (unless the -h flag is specified
on the command line). The most expedient way to extract
most of the files from a directory is to add the direc-
tory to the extraction list and then delete those files
that are not needed.
All files on the extraction list are extracted from the
dump. Restore will ask which volume the user wishes to
mount. The fastest way to extract a f ew files is to
start with the last volume and work towards the first
help List a summary of the available commands.
List the current or specified directory. Entries that are
directories are appended with a "/". Entries that have
been marked for extraction are prepended with a "*". If
the verbose flag is set, the inode number of each entry
is also listed.
pwd Print the full pathname of the current working directory.
quit Restore immediately exits, even if the extraction list is
All directories that have been added to the extraction
list have their owner, modes, and times set; nothing is
extracted from the dump. This is useful for cleaning up
after a restore has been prematurely aborted.
The sense of the -v flag is toggled. When set, the ver-
bose flag causes the ls command to list the inode numbers
of all entries. It also causes restore to print out
information about each file as it is extracted.
Restore creates a new Quick File Access file file from an exist-
ing dump file without restoring its contents.
-R Restore requests a particular tape of a multi-volume set on
which to restart a full restore (see the -r flag below). This is
useful if the restore has been interrupted.
-r Restore (rebuild) a file system. The target file system should
be made pristine with mke2fs(8), mounted, and the user cd'd into
the pristine file system before starting the restoration of the
initial level 0 backup. If the level 0 restores successfully,
the -r flag may be used to restore any necessary incremental
backups on top of the level 0. The -r flag precludes an interac-
tive file extraction and can be detrimental to one's health (not
to mention the disk) if not used carefully. An example:
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
restore rf /dev/st0
Note that restore leaves a file restoresymtable in the root
directory to pass information between incremental restore
passes. This file should be removed when the last incremental
has been restored.
Restore, in conjunction with mke2fs(8) and dump(8), may be used
to modify file system parameters such as size or block size.
-t The names of the specified files are listed if they occur on the
backup. If no file argument is given, the root directory is
listed, which results in the entire content of the backup being
listed, unless the -h flag has been specified. Note that the -t
flag replaces the function of the old dumpdir(8) program. See
also the -X option below.
-x The named files are read from the given media. If a named file
matches a directory whose contents are on the backup and the -h
flag is not specified, the directory is recursively extracted.
The owner, modification time, and mode are restored (if possi-
ble). If no file argument is given, the root directory is
extracted, which results in the entire content of the backup
being extracted, unless the -h flag has been specified. See
also the -X option below.
The following additional options may be specified:
-a In -i or -x mode, restore does ask the user for the volume num-
ber on which the files to be extracted are supposed to be (in
order to minimise the time by reading only the interesting vol-
umes). The -a option disables this behaviour and reads all the
volumes starting with 1. This option is useful when the operator
does not know on which volume the files to be extracted are
and/or when he prefers the longer unattended mode rather than
the shorter interactive mode.
Read the table of contents from archive_file instead of the
media. This option can be used in combination with the -t, -i,
or -x options, making it possible to check whether files are on
the media without having to mount the media.
The number of kilobytes per dump record. If the -b option is not
specified, restore tries to determine the media block size
-c Normally, restore will try to determine dynamically whether the
dump was made from an old (pre-4.4) or new format file system.
The -c flag disables this check, and only allows reading a dump
in the old format.
-d The -d (debug) flag causes restore to print debug information.
The -D flag allows the user to specify the filesystem name when
using restore with the -C option to check the backup.
Read the backup from file; file may be a special device file
like /dev/st0 (a tape drive), /dev/sda1 (a disk drive), an ordi-
nary file, or - (the standard input). If the name of the file is
of the form host:file or user@host:file, restore reads from the
named file on the remote host using rmt(8).
Run script at the beginning of each tape. The device name and
the current volume number are passed on the command line. The
script must return 0 if restore should continue without asking
the user to change the tape, 1 if restore should continue but
ask the user to change the tape. Any other exit code will cause
restore to abort. For security reasons, restore reverts back to
the real user ID and the real group ID before running the
-h Extract the actual directory, rather than the files that it ref-
erences. This prevents hierarchical restoration of complete sub-
trees from the dump.
Use a hashtable having the specified number of entries for stor-
ing the directories entries instead of a linked list. This
hashtable will considerably speed up inode lookups (visible
especially in interactive mode when adding/removing files from
the restore list), but at the price of much more memory usage.
The default value is 1, meaning no hashtable is used.
-k Use Kerberos authentication when contacting the remote tape
server. (Only available if this options was enabled when restore
-l When doing remote restores, assume the remote file is a regular
file (instead of a tape device). If you're restoring a remote
compressed file, you will need to specify this option or restore
will fail to access it correctly.
The -L flag allows the user to specify a maximal number of mis-
compares when using restore with the -C option to check the
backup. If this limit is reached, restore will abort with an
error message. A value of 0 (the default value) disables the
-m Extract by inode numbers rather than by file name. This is use-
ful if only a few files are being extracted, and one wants to
avoid regenerating the complete pathname to the file.
-M Enables the multi-volume feature (for reading dumps made using
the -M option of dump). The name specified with -f is treated as
a prefix and restore tries to read in sequence from <prefix>001,
-N The -N flag causes restore to perform a full execution as
requested by one of -i, -R, -r, t or x command without actually
writing any file on disk.
-o The -o flag causes restore to automatically restore the current
directory permissions without asking the operator whether to do
so in one of -i or -x modes.
Use the file file in order to read tape position as stored using
the dump Quick File Access mode, in one of -i, -x or -t mode.
It is recommended to set up the st driver to return logical tape
positions rather than physical before calling dump/restore with
parameter -Q. Since not all tape devices support physical tape
positions those tape devices return an error during dump/restore
when the st driver is set to the default physical setting.
Please see the st(4) man page, option MTSETDRVBUFFER , or the
mt(1) man page, on how to set the driver to return logical tape
Before calling restore with parameter -Q, always make sure the
st driver is set to return the same type of tape position used
during the call to dump. Otherwise restore may be confused.
This option can be used when restoring from local or remote
tapes (see above) or from local or remote files.
Read from the specified fileno on a multi-file tape. File num-
bering starts at 1.
The -T flag allows the user to specify a directory to use for
the storage of temporary files. The default value is /tmp. This
flag is most useful when restoring files after having booted
from a floppy. There might be little or no space on the floppy
filesystem, but another source of space might exist.
-u When creating certain types of files, restore may generate a
warning diagnostic if they already exist in the target direc-
tory. To prevent this, the -u (unlink) flag causes restore to
remove old entries before attempting to create new ones.
-v Normally restore does its work silently. The -v (verbose) flag
causes it to type the name of each file it treats preceded by
its file type.
-V Enables reading multi-volume non-tape mediums like CDROMs.
Read list of files to be listed or extracted from the text file
filelist in addition to those specified on the command line.
This can be used in conjunction with the -t or -x commands. The
file filelist should contain file names separated by newlines.
filelist may be an ordinary file or - (the standard input).
-y Do not ask the user whether to abort the restore in the event of
an error. Always try to skip over the bad block(s) and con-
(The 4.3BSD option syntax is implemented for backward compatibility but
is not documented here.)
Complains if it gets a read error. If y has been specified, or the user
responds y, restore will attempt to continue the restore.
If a backup was made using more than one tape volume, restore will
notify the user when it is time to mount the next volume. If the -x or
-i flag has been specified, restore will also ask which volume the user
wishes to mount. The fastest way to extract a few files is to start
with the last volume, and work towards the first volume.
There are numerous consistency checks that can be listed by restore.
Most checks are self-explanatory or can "never happen". Common errors
are given below:
Converting to new file system format
A dump tape created from the old file system has been loaded. It
is automatically converted to the new file system format.
<filename>: not found on tape
The specified file name was listed in the tape directory, but
was not found on the tape. This is caused by tape read errors
while looking for the file, and from using a dump tape created
on an active file system.
expected next file <inumber>, got <inumber>
A file that was not listed in the directory showed up. This can
occur when using a dump created on an active file system.
Incremental dump too low
When doing an incremental restore, a dump that was written
before the previous incremental dump, or that has too low an
incremental level has been loaded.
Incremental dump too high
When doing an incremental restore, a dump that does not begin
its coverage where the previous incremental dump left off, or
that has too high an incremental level has been loaded.
Tape read error while restoring <filename>
Tape read error while skipping over inode <inumber>
Tape read error while trying to resynchronize
A tape (or other media) read error has occurred. If a file name
is specified, its contents are probably partially wrong. If an
inode is being skipped or the tape is trying to resynchronize,
no extracted files have been corrupted, though files may not be
found on the tape.
resync restore, skipped <num> blocks
After a dump read error, restore may have to resynchronize
itself. This message lists the number of blocks that were
Restore exits with zero status on success. Tape errors are indicated
with an exit code of 1.
When doing a comparison of files from a dump, an exit code of 2 indi-
cates that some files were modified or deleted since the dump was made.
If the following environment variable exists it will be utilized by
TAPE If no -f option was specified, restore will use the device spec-
ified via TAPE as the dump device. TAPE may be of the form
tapename, host:tapename or user@host:tapename.
TMPDIR The directory given in TMPDIR will be used instead of /tmp to
store temporary files.
RMT The environment variable RMT will be used to determine the path-
name of the remote rmt(8) program.
RSH Restore uses the contents of this variable to determine the name
of the remote shell command to use when doing a network restore
(rsh, ssh etc.). If this variable is not set, rcmd(3) will be
used, but only root will be able to do a network restore.
the default tape drive
file containing directories on the tape
owner, mode, and time stamps for directories
information passed between incremental restores
dump(8), mount(8), mke2fs(8), rmt(8)
Restore can get confused when doing incremental restores from dumps
that were made on active file systems.
A level 0 dump must be done after a full restore. Because restore runs
in user code, it has no control over inode allocation; thus a full dump
must be done to get a new set of directories reflecting the new inode
numbering, even though the content of the files is unchanged.
The temporary files /tmp/rstdir* and /tmp/rstmode* are generated with a
unique name based on the date of the dump and the process ID (see
mktemp(3)), except when -r or -R is used. Because -R allows you to
restart a -r operation that may have been interrupted, the temporary
files should be the same across different processes. In all other
cases, the files are unique because it is possible to have two differ-
ent dumps started at the same time, and separate operations shouldn't
conflict with each other.
To do a network restore, you have to run restore as root or use a
remote shell replacement (see RSH variable). This is due to the previ-
ous security history of dump and restore. ( restore is written to be
setuid root, but we are not certain all bugs are gone from the code -
run setuid at your own risk.)
At the end of restores in -i or -x modes (unless -o option is in use),
restore will ask the operator whether to set the permissions on the
current directory. If the operator confirms this action, the permis-
sions on the directory from where restore was launched will be replaced
by the permissions on the dumped root inode. Although this behaviour is
not really a bug, it has proven itself to be confusing for many users,
so it is recommended to answer 'no', unless you're performing a full
restore and you do want to restore the permissions on '/'.
It should be underlined that because it runs in user code, restore ,
when run with the -C option, sees the files as the kernel presents
them, whereas dump sees all the files on a given filesystem. In partic-
ular, this can cause some confusion when comparing a dumped filesystem
a part of which is hidden by a filesystem mounted on top of it.
The dump/restore backup suite was ported to Linux's Second Extended
File System by Remy Card <card@Linux.EU.Org>. He maintained the initial
versions of dump (up and including 0.4b4, released in January 1997).
Starting with 0.4b5, the new maintainer is Stelian Pop
The dump/restore backup suite is available from <http://dump.source-
The restore command appeared in 4.2BSD.
BSD version 0.4b41 of January 2, 2006 RESTORE(8)