I have a duplicity backup which i am not able to recover with duplicity.

By calling duplicity file:///path/to/backups /path/to/dir, it returns "Local and Remote metadata are syncronized, no sync needed." but the /path/to/dir is empty.

I decrypted all backup volumes and I'm able to view and extract the files from the different difftar files. My only problem is that there are files partitioned and saved in folders named after the files.

Can anyone give me a simple script or at least a hint how to untar these difftar files so i get the actual files instead of the partitioned ones?

2 Answers 2


I think the command you are looking for is more along the lines of

duplicity restore --file-to-restore / file:///path/to/backups /path/to/dir

you may have to use

duplicity -t 3D restore --file-to-restore  / file:///path/to/backups /path/to/dir

or such because the command you ran is to backup, and not restore, so your latest backup might be the empty directory you pointed it to.

  • 1
    Thanks for giving a great example! The man page has some backup examples with file:// target urls, but none with restores. Restoring all files works also without the explicit --file-to-restore / flag (you can use this flag to only restore specific files/dirs): sudo duplicity restore file:///path/to/backups /path/to/dir. Note that adding sudo is necessary to restore files owned by uid 0 (root).
    – TrinitronX
    Apr 10, 2013 at 4:20
  • Is it possible to generate the backups without the difftar format? or any other alternative?
    – jcarlosweb
    Mar 16, 2021 at 14:24

IIRC, for each file you extract the directory named after the file. Then just use "cat" to reassemble the pieces. (eg, "cat my-filename.ext/* > my-new-file.ext").

That works for full backups, not sure how it handles the incrementals.

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