How to choose directory name during untarring

Say I have a file named ugly_name.tar, which when extracted, becomes ugly_name directory. What command can I use so that the resulting directory name is pretty_name instead?

Asked By: tshepang


This should work:

mkdir pretty_name && tar xf ugly_name.tar -C pretty_name --strip-components 1

-C changes to the specified directory before unpacking (or packing). --strip-components removes the specified number of directories from the filenames stored in the archive.

Note that this is not really portable. GNU tar and at least some of the BSD tars have the --strip-components option, but doesn’t seem to exist on other unix-like platforms.

The dumb way of doing this would work pretty much everywhere though.

tar xf ugly_name.tar && mv ugly_name pretty_name
Answered By: Mat

With GNU tar ≥1.16, use --transform to apply a sed regexp transformation to each file name (the transformation is applied on the full path in the archive):

tar xf foo.tar --transform 's!^ugly_name($|/)!pretty_name1!'

If ugly_name is the toplevel component of all the file names in the archive, you don’t need to bother with precise matching:

tar xf foo.tar --transform 's/ugly_name/pretty_name/'

If you don’t know the name of the toplevel directory, you can still use this method, though you might prefer --strip-components instead.

tar xf foo.tar --transform 's!^[^/]+($|/)!pretty_name1!'

With pax, the POSIX archive utility, use the -s option, which takes a sed-like replacement expression as an argument.

pax -rf foo.tar -s '!^ugly_name($|/)!pretty_name1!'
pax -rf foo.tar -s '/ugly_name/pretty_name/'
pax -rf foo.tar -s '!^[^/]+($|/)!pretty_name1!'

Use this :

tar -xvf ugly_name.tar
mv ugly_name pretty_name
Answered By: Rupesh Mande


As pointed out in the comments, this method does not work for archives that are properly formed, however as another answer shows, you should add --strip-components 1 for this to really work. I have tested with this new option and it works both for archives with a top-level name and ones without.

Original answer

From askUbuntu, this answer worked for me:

tar zxvf ugly_name.tgz --one-top-level=pretty_name


Tells tar to create a new directory beneath
the extraction directory (or the one passed to `-C’) and use it to
guard against tarbombs. In the absence of dir argument, the name of
the new directory will be equal to the base name of the archive (file
name minus the archive suffix, if recognized). Any member names that
do not begin with that directory name (after transformations from
`–transform’ and `–strip-components’) will be prefixed with it.
Recognized file name suffixes are `.tar’, and any compression suffixes
recognizable by See -auto-compress.

Answered By: smac89

Simplest way

tar xvf dml/ugly_name.tar --one-top-level=pretty_name --strip-components 1
Answered By: marquicus
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