Using the command:

 drush arr ~/drush-backups/site.tar.gz --db-url=mysql://df_database:password@localhost/df_databaseuser --destination=~/domains/site.kz/public_html/temp

(archive size is ~5gb),

I get this error:

 Unable to untar /home/user/drush-backups/site.tar.gz.                [error]
 Unable to extract site archive tarball to                            [error]

Why does it happen? However, when I try to untar archive lower than 1gb I'm not getting any errors.

  • and what's in your OS error log?
    – Mołot
    Nov 19, 2013 at 13:07
  • 1
    If you can't untar any file larger than 1gb you have a problem with your OS. Can you confirm that this is definitely a Drupal issue by trying that?
    – Clive
    Nov 19, 2013 at 13:12
  • Just tried ~3gb archive. Worked well either. Is there a chance its a problem with a drush config? Nov 19, 2013 at 13:20
  • Try extracting it using tar -xzvf site.tar.gz to determine if it's your OS or Drush/Drupal causing the problem Nov 19, 2013 at 16:45
  • tar xvfz - worked fine. Nov 20, 2013 at 3:00

2 Answers 2


By default the command drush archive-restore creates a unique temporary folder under /tmp (*/tmp/drush_tmp_1394487346_531e303223...*) where it will extract the archived tarball content, and later will move the $doc_root into the $destination - with the option overwrite.

I guess your /tmp folder resides on a separate partition, ~4GB in size; restoring a 3GB archive worked well, but it fails for 5BG. It looks like drush archive-restore works only when the system's temp folder is large enough to accommodate the extracted tarball.

PS. drush archive-restore is defined in archive.drush.inc :

function "drush_archive_restore" (drush_tarball_extract($file, $tmp)), where $tmp = drush_tempdir();

Funtion drush_tempdir() is defined in filesystem.inc - creates a unique temporary directory and returns its path. drush_tempdir() uses drush_find_tmp() which more likely returns /tmp


I got this exact error when I tried the following from a script:

drush arr ${DUMP_DIR}/`ls ./ | grep *.tar.gz` --destination=/home/foo/bar

with a single .tar.gz file in the directory. It turns out my filename was like: `some-file-MM-DD-YY-HH:MM:SS.tar.gz

in this case the : (colons) are not escaped by my shellscript and I get that generic extract error. Renaming my dump file to something simple like dump.tar.gz allows the drush command to complete.

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