Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to append a .txt file to my already created .tar archive file. But the following error is showing up:

    tar -rvf kits.tar example.txt
    tar: This does not look like a tar archive
    tar: Skipping to next header
    tar: Archive contains obsolescent base-64 headers
    tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors

Kindly explain this

share|improve this question

migrated from Dec 8 '12 at 19:07

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Are you sure this is a tar archive and not a compressed one? What does file kits.tar say? – Nikos C. Dec 8 '12 at 19:03
You sure it's not compressed? what does file kits.tar report? it is possible that older versions of tar would report this error instead of the more sensible 'cannot update a compressed archive' – Petesh Dec 8 '12 at 19:04
I'm not seeing a programming question here. – Paul Tomblin Dec 8 '12 at 19:04
@Nikos : u might be right, when i do : tar -xzvf kits.tar I see this: gzip: stdin: decompression OK, trailing garbage ignored tar: Child returned status 2 tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors – dig_123 Dec 8 '12 at 19:20
Can you rename it to kits.tar.gz or kits.tgz and try again your tar xzvf kits.txt example.txt? – ott-- Dec 8 '12 at 20:14

It's probably a compressed tar archive with the wrong extension (it should be .tar.gz).

This can happen when you download a tar.gz (or tar.bz2) file, as some browsers try to be smart and save it as a .tar without actually decompressing it, or don't decompress it correctly.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.