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Winrar -- command line to add and update an archive

Posted on 2011-09-30
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi, we are using WinRar 4.01 32bit version in WinXP.  
I would like to backup some files to a .rar file.
What is the switches to use if I want to copy all the files to the same archive file so that not all files are added but only the files that are changed or new files.  This way, the process to compress the files (for backup purposes) to a rar file doesn't take as long.
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Question by:McKuser
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Expert Comment

by:Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE
ID: 36894429
In the folder where you've installed WinRar, there should be commandline versions as well, rar.exe and unrar.exe

To create/update a .rar file do this:

rar.exe u <archive> <files...>

Open in new window


If you want to know all options available (a lot), do this:

rar.exe -?

Open in new window


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Author Comment

by:McKuser
ID: 36894882
Thanks. I am aware of the command line options but not sure which one actually does what.  The ones I know are "rar -a -u -f..." which are add, update and freshen respectively.  However, I'm confused as what update and freshen are? Like what is the difference between them.
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVE earned 250 total points
ID: 36895679
Well, "a - add" is clear: just add the files that you list to the (existing) archive. When the archive does not exist, it is created.

"u - update" is updating files that you list in the existing archive when they have been modified, files that you point to that are not modified will not be updated in the archive. Will add new files as well.

"f - freshen" is also updating files that you list in the existing archive, same as u-update but will not add new files to the existing archive.

So the difference between u and f is that one adds new files and the other doesn't, you want to use "u - update" for your backup question.

Note that the "-a -u -f" you write is not correct, commands are written as "a u f" and switches are written with the - character.
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Author Comment

by:McKuser
ID: 36904314
Thanks for the info between u and f.  Makes sense.  

I tried the syntax you mentioned but they didn't work.  I think u and f are switches and must have the dash.  However, rar won't allow me to use more than one switches, so when I used "rar a -u..." it worked.  I guess using both u and f makes no sense since u does the freshen switch also.  
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