I'm using ClockworkMod Recovery v6.0.4.5.

One of ClockworkMod Recovery's features is that it lets me back up the data stored on my phone's built-in flash memory. The "Choose default backup format" menu lets me choose from among three options:

  1. tar
  2. dup (dedupe)
  3. tar + gzip

What's the difference between each of the three options?

Which option should I choose?

(Note: Elsewhere on this site, there's a related discussion. It speaks more about the dedupe format, but not the other two formats.)

1 Answer 1


The formats

  1. tar

This is essentially snapshots of all partitions each in single file with extension tar. If you make two backups of the same rom with little difference in user apps, two snapshots of tar files are created, consuming more data on your sdcard.

  1. dup (dedupe)

This backup format backups up individual files in the partitions renamed uniquely depending on some hash algorithm. The major advantage of this is it takes up less space on sdcard. If you make two backups of the same rom with little difference in user apps, the second backup only contains changed files. And when you delete the first backup from recovery, the common files are never deleted, so you don't loose your second backup. But it creates many files on sdcard, thereby many indexes.

  1. tar + gzip

It is same as the tar format with gzip compression applied to save some space on sdcard.

Which one should you choose?

Which one to use is upto your choice. I wouldn't recommend dup format as it takes considerable time during operations. But if you donot backup/restore frequently and concerned about the space on sdcard, u may use dup.

  • +1; thank you. Hmm. I'm backing up an almost-full 8 GB Android device onto a 32 GB MicroSD card. I want to create backups every so often, and it would be nice to be able to store dozens of backups on one MicroSD card. So I think I will use dedupe. Still, I'll keep in mind that it's slow; maybe I'll start the backup at a time when I know I won't need to use the device for a while. Aug 26, 2015 at 22:10
  • It's too bad that dedupe is slow. On other platforms, incremental backups are faster than full backups. Mar 10, 2017 at 3:25

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