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File Modification While Tar is in Progress



I am using tar to take backups of multiple files and directories and some of the files are about 500Mb. What happens when archiving of a large file using tar (plus compression switches) is in progress and the file is altered by some other program ? What do I need to do to make sure that my archive is not corrupted ? For example, the large file in question could be an IMAP mailbox on a Mail Server where I cannot afford to stop either the MTA or the IMAP server to prevent the file from getting altered.

Thanks,

Manish Kathuria


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