Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Why rsync exclude hidden files doesn’t work?

Ubuntu 2

Introduction

rsync is a powerful tool used for transferring and synchronizing files across systems. It is widely utilized due to its efficiency and versatility. However, some users have encountered issues when attempting to exclude hidden files or directories using the --exclude option. This article aims to delve into this issue, providing explanations and solutions.

Understanding rsync

Before we delve into the issue, it’s crucial to understand how rsync works. The rsync command synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while minimizing data transfer using delta encoding when appropriate. An important aspect of rsync is its ability to exclude certain files and directories during the synchronization process. This is achieved using the --exclude option followed by the pattern of the files or directories to be excluded.

The Problem: Excluding Hidden Files

Typically, to exclude hidden files and directories, one would use the --exclude option with the pattern ".*" or ".*/". However, some users have found that this approach does not always work as expected.

Potential Reasons and Solutions

Context 1: Incorrect Quotation Usage

One common mistake is not using double quotes around the pattern. The correct syntax should be --exclude=".*". This pattern should work to exclude both hidden files and directories. If you only want to exclude hidden directories, you can use --exclude=".*/".

Context 2: Alternative Pattern

Another approach mentioned by users is using the expression --exclude=".[!.]*", which they found effective in excluding hidden files and directories.

Context 3: Using an Exclude File

A different approach is to create a text file (e.g., exclude_me.txt) and specify the pattern .[a-z]* inside it. Then, you can use the --exclude-from option to exclude the files listed in the text file: rsync -avh --exclude-from='exclude_me.txt' /path/of/Source /path/of/Destination. The -avh options stand for ‘archive mode’, ‘verbose’ and ‘human-readable’, respectively.

Context 4: Incorrect Backslash Usage

It is also possible that the backslash (\) in --exclude="/.*" is pointing the wrong way. The correct way to exclude hidden files and directories would be --exclude=".*". Additionally, it is noted that if you need to exclude directories, you can add a trailing slash at the end of the pattern.

Advanced Rsync Command

For a more comprehensive rsync command that includes the --exclude option to exclude hidden files and folders, you can use the following:

rsync -avh --delete --delete-excluded --exclude=".*" /path/of/Source /path/of/Destination

In this command, the --delete option removes files from the destination that are not in the source, and --delete-excluded removes files from the destination that are part of the exclusion list.

Conclusion

In summary, excluding hidden files and directories using rsync can sometimes be a tricky process due to various factors such as incorrect syntax, version differences, or platform quirks. However, by trying out different variations and consulting the rsync Man Page for further documentation, you should be able to effectively exclude hidden files and directories in your rsync operations.

How can I exclude hidden files and directories in rsync?

To exclude hidden files and directories in rsync, you can use the --exclude option followed by the pattern ".*" or ".*/". For example, rsync --exclude=".*" /path/of/Source /path/of/Destination will exclude all hidden files and directories during the synchronization process.

What should I do if excluding hidden files doesn’t work in rsync?

If excluding hidden files doesn’t work in rsync, there are a few potential solutions. Firstly, ensure that you are using double quotes around the pattern, such as --exclude=".*". Additionally, you can try using the expression --exclude=".[!.]*", which has been reported to be effective in excluding hidden files and directories. Another approach is to create an exclude file and specify the pattern inside it, using the --exclude-from option. Finally, check if the backslash (\) in --exclude="/.*" is pointing the wrong way, as it should be --exclude=".*" to exclude hidden files and directories.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *