How to Split Large ‘tar’ Archive into Multiple Files of Certain Size

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Aaron Kili

Computer Science student at Makerere University. Am a Linux enthusiast and a big fan of FOSS. I have used Linux for one year and six months now. I love to share ideas and knowledge around me and in other places around the world.

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10 Responses

  1. Dan St.Andre says:

    This is an effective explanation of a solution to a common problem. There is another side to these issues that involves initial creation of the large tar archive. The processing to create the archive is likely to take a long time (wall clock). Various events might interrupt that processing before it is complete. Example interruptions might include loss of power, battery depletion, loss of connection to the target disk(s), and so on.

    The tar command does not have the ability to remember which input files and folders have already been processed and resume with the remaining to-be-done files and folders. Instead, the list of files submitted to tar gets determined by the input selection GLOB at the tar command line. I’m certain that readers would be interested in any technique that will enable (1) creation of a list of files, (2) gathering of checkpoint details while files are processed, (3) restart from the most recent checkpoint following an interruption.

    • Ravi Saive says:


      I am totally agree with your point, but to be fact, it is not possible with tar command to resume broken or interrupted process and I think there isn’t any tool does the same….

    • Aaron Kili K says:

      @Dan St.Andre

      Thanks for the appreciation, and as you well expressed your concern, i took out to search for any other powerful Unix/Linux archive creating utilities apart from TAR that can handle the issues you are trying to bring to light.

      TAR is a Unix/Linux standard for this particular purpose, as far as i know(and i stand to be corrected), there is no other utility that can solve the shortcomings of TAR you have mentioned above. Probably in the future, someone will developed a utility that will resolve these issues but at the moment, that is just the way it works.

      But am still on the look out to find a technique or method that you have well explained above, and in case you find one, please always let us know. Many thanks for your feedback.

    • Lewis says:

      The only work around that might work (not tested it personally) is snapshot recovery of a virtual machine running the task, this resilience will not completely recover from last point of blackout though, only since last successful snapshot, furthermore it might involve more resource overhead (disc space, hosting, etc, etc) than initially desired.

      • Aaron Kili K says:


        Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter, as you have mentioned, it can be a long process and requires so much more resources but if necessary then a user can give it a try.

  2. Lars says:

    Nice explanation, but please mention how to puzzle them together again …

    • Aaron Kili K says:


      Thanks for the feedback, we shall update the article to include that.

    • Leonardo Bertolo says:

      Hi, you could just issue

      cat filea fileb filec filed > file.tar

      And there you have your original file back.

      • Ravi Saive says:


        Thanks for the tip, didn’t know about this handy trick, just we’ve included the instructions to combine or join back together files after splitting large tar archive file to the writeup….hope you like it..

    • Ravi Saive says:


      Thanks for finding it useful, as per you request we’ve added a section to join back tar files after splitting to the writeup..

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