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Ignoring Blocks of Zeros

Normally, tar stops reading when it encounters a block of zeros between file entries (which usually indicates the end of the archive). ‘--ignore-zeros’ (‘-i’) allows tar to completely read an archive which contains a block of zeros before the end (i.e., a damaged archive, or one that was created by concatenating several archives together). This option also suppresses warnings about missing or incomplete zero blocks at the end of the archive. This can be turned on, if the need be, using the ‘--warning=alone-zero-block --warning=missing-zero-blocks’ options (see section Controlling Warning Messages).

The ‘--ignore-zeros’ (‘-i’) option is turned off by default because many versions of tar write garbage after the end-of-archive entry, since that part of the media is never supposed to be read. GNU tar does not write after the end of an archive, but seeks to maintain compatibility among archiving utilities.


To ignore blocks of zeros (i.e., end-of-archive entries) which may be encountered while reading an archive. Use in conjunction with ‘--extract’ or ‘--list’.

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