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Is there an easy way to store the usual file attributes like modification time and permissions of a tree to some file, and reapply them later?

This would be useful in many situations where compressing, backup tools, file transfer or copying to less capable file systems result in losing the timestamps or permissions.

Maybe tar could do that in some odd way?

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tar doesn't need any odd way to do it, there is a -p switch to save permissions (it's used by default by the superuser).

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Yes, but I want to store the attributes alone. I use other tools to store the files, but they do not reliable store attributes. So I like to use something that is able to store attributes but don't neccessary the file contents. – dronus Aug 28 '13 at 13:20

Look up fsarchiver

It stores all attributes and files. However, I don't think you can just store the attributes alone.

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