I have been requested, against my better advice, to try to ensure that a Drupal site for an associated part of our organisation is up to date, although the site developers left no admin maintenance documentation nor information about any custom setup that they may have done, and now seem to be uncontactable (poor project management on the part of the site owners).

The standard Drupal update did not work, and I now have to try to revert the site back from the drush archive that was taken just beforehand.

However, drush arr (drush archive-restore) says:

Missing required argument: file.

I'm not sure what file I need to specify (our own installation of Drupal is somewhat customised and clear upgrade instructions, working in a different way, are supplied by the maintainers).

Looking in the drush-backups folder, I seem to have two choices:


(the latter of which seems to contain the Drupal files as-is (not as a .tar.gz file))

Is the .tar.gz file from the archive-dump folder the file that drush arr is wanting, and then drush will know how to find the rest automagically?

  • Have you checked the drush archive-restore documentation?
    – sonfd
    Sep 1, 2020 at 18:02
  • Yes, but the documentation is rather terse to say the least, which is why I was asking for clarification/confirmation.
    – dave559
    Sep 2, 2020 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


drush arr is expecting a site archive file as an argument. Its sibling drush command,drush ard, creates a site archive file. (see the drush codebase for more details on how this command works) The /root/.../drupal/ path is a backup drush creates when you run drush up

The /root/drush-backups/archive-dump/ path matches the format of drush ard's default output but if you didn't create this archive file you should inspect it (tar -tvf) to confirm it has the code/files/DB backup within it.

So yes, drush arr will restore from a site backup but you should take necessary precautions since you've inherited an undocumented process.

  • Thank you, that was a clear and helpful explanation of the difference between the two different folders within drush-backups .
    – dave559
    Sep 2, 2020 at 11:46
  • (It turned out that the problem was actually that I had not yet taken the site out of maintenance mode before looking at it again after the update (oops). Oddly, the site was partly-loading, for some reason, rather than displaying a maintenance mode message, and fortunately the update turned out to have been successful, once I corrected this. The site owners have been encouraged again to get proper maintenance documentation from their developers.)
    – dave559
    Sep 2, 2020 at 11:50

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