How to search for specific filenames in .tar archives


The following commands will search in the .tar archives found in the specified folder and print on screen all files that their paths or filenames match our search token. We provide multiple solutions, each one for a different type of .tar archive depending on the compression used.

For .tar archives

find /media/repository/packages/ -type f -iname "*.tar" -exec tar -t -f '{}' \; | grep "configurations/arm-cortexa9";

For .tar.bz2 archives

find /media/repository/packages/ -type f -iname "*.tar.bz2" -exec tar -t -j -f '{}' \; | grep "configurations/arm-cortexa9";

For .tar.xz archives

find /media/repository/packages/ -type f -iname "*.tar.xz" -exec tar -t -J -f '{}' \; | grep "configurations/arm-cortexa9";

For .tar.gz and .tgz archives

Please note that this commands uses the -o (which is the logical or) parameter on find to search for multiple filename extensions.

find /media/repository/packages/ -type f \( -iname "*.tar.gz" -o -iname "*.tgz" \) -exec tar -t -z -f '{}' \; | grep "configurations/arm-cortexa9";

find Parameters Legend

  • -type f filters out any result which is not a regular file
  • -exec command '{}' \; runs the specified command on the results of find. The string '{}' is replaced by the current file name being processed.
  • -o is the logical Or operator. The second expression  is not evaluated if the first expression is true.

tar Parameters Legend

  • -z or --gzip instructs tar to filter the archive through gzip
  • -j or --bzip2 filters the archive through bzip2
  • -J or --xz filters the archive through xz
  • -t or --list lists the contents of an archive
  • -f or --file=INPUT uses the archive file or device named INPUT
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