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CFileTar 1.0 - pack and unpack file archives

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18 Nov 2001CPOL
A class for packing and unpacking file archives.


CFileTar is a C++ class [written using plain C++ and a little Win API] that allows you to tar and untar files. People who are familiar with Unix will surely have used the tar archiving utility. This class attempts to provide a rather simple version for Win 32 programmers. Please note that this class does not produce unix-style tar files. It uses it's own custom format to tar and untar the files.


  • MFC not required
  • Tar multiple files into a single archive
  • UnTar files either singly, or as a whole from the archive
  • Query a tar file for information
  • Works with text and binary files


Tarring files

Tarring several files into a single tar archive can be easily achieved through the following steps.

CFileTar ft;
ft.SetHeaderDescription("This archive contains several pdf/doc files");

//Let's add some doc files
ft.AddFile("Proposal.doc","First project proposal");
ft.AddFile("ProjectPlan.doc","Project plan");
ft.AddFile("ProposalFinal.doc","Final proposal");

//Now some PDFs
ft.AddFile("SRS.pdf","SRS doc template");
ft.AddFile("DDD.pdf","Detailed design doc template");

//Let's tar it now...

Querying tar files

Sometimes, you might want to retrieve information about a tar file. CFileTar provides a couple of static functions just for this purpose.

CFileTar::TarHeader t;
cout << "Number of archived files : " << t.GetCount() << "\r\n";
cout << "Description of tar file : " << t.GetDescription() << "\r\n";

You can also retrieve information about individual files.

CFileTar::TarIndex ti;
for (int y=1;y<=t.GetCount();y++)
    cout << "File Index : " << y << "\r\n";
    cout << "File Name : " << ti.FileName << "\r\n";
    cout << "File desc : " << ti.Description << "\r\n";
    cout << "Size : " << ti.Size << "\r\n";

Un-Tarring files

Un-Tarring individual files :-



Un-Tarring all files in a tar file :-


Function Reference



Remarks :- Creates a CFileTar object.


BOOL SetHeaderDescription(char *strdesc);

Return Value :- This will return true if the header was successfully set, else it will return false.

Parameters :-

strdesc - This is the header description string

Remarks :- Use this function to set the tar file's header description. This will prove useful when querying tar files.


const char* GetHeaderDescription();

Return Value :- This will return the tar file's header description

Remarks :- This function can be used to retrieve a const char* to the header description.


void SetFilePath(char *path);

Parameters :-

path - This is the directory to search for the files being added to the tar archive.

Remarks :- Set the file path before adding files into the archive. You may change the file path any number of times, as you keep adding files from different folders.


int AddFile(char *fname, char *desc);

Return Value :- Returns 0 if the file was successfully added to the list of files, else it returns 1.

Parameters :-

fname - The filename of the file to add, excluding the directory where it resides

desc - A description which is saved as meta-information on a per-file basis.

Remarks :- This function won't actually add the files to the tar. Instead it will add the filename with meta-info to a list of files to be tarred. The physical archiving process only takes place when the CreateTar function is called.


int CreateTar(char *TarFName, char* TarPath=NULL);

Return Value :- Returns 0 if the tar was successfully created, else returns 1

Parameters :-

TarFName - The filename of the tar file to create, excluding the directory path.

TarPath - The directory to create the tar file in. If not specified, then the last tar-files directory set using SetFilePath will be used as the default directory.

Remarks :- This is the function that actually creates the tar archive. If several huge files are being tarred, this function will obviously take quite a bit of time.


static int GetTarInfo(char *TarFile, TarHeader *pTarHeader);

Return Value :- Returns 0 if successful, else returns 1.

Parameters :-

TarFile - Fully qualified path and filename of the tar file.

pTarHeader - A pointer to a TarHeader object, that receives the information

Remarks :- Use this function to retrieve the Tar file header and the total number of files in the tar archive.


int GetCount();

Return Value :- Returns the number of files in the tar archive.

Remarks :- Call this function on the TarHeader object that has been passed to a successful GetTarInfo function call.


const char* GetDescription();

Return Value :- Returns the tar header description.

Remarks :- Call this function on the TarHeader object that has been passed to a successful GetTarInfo function call.


static int GetFileInfo(char *TarFile, TarIndex *pTarIndex, int index);

Return Value :- Returns 0 if successful, else returns 1.

Parameters :-

TarFile - Fully qualified path and filename of the tar file.

pTarIndex - A pointer to a TarIndex object that will receive the information.

index - Index of file within the archive. The index is one-based.

Remarks :- The TarIndex object that we pass will contain the required information after a successful call to this function.


struct TarIndex
    long Start;
    long Size;
    char FileName[_MAX_FNAME];
    char Description[256];

Start - This is the start position of the file within the archive. The user need not bother with this field.

Size - This is the size of the file in bytes

FileName - This is the original filename

Description - This is the file description


  • static int UnTar(char *TarFile, char *dpath);
  • static int UnTar(char *TarFile, int index, char *fpath);

Return Value :- Returns 0 if successful, else returns 1.

Parameters :-

TarFile - Fully qualified path and filename of the tar file.

dpath - The directory to extract all files in the archive to. The original filenames will be used for each file in the archive.

index - Index of the file within the archive. One-based index.

fpath - Fully qualified path and filename to be used for the file to be extracted.

Remarks :- The first override of this function will extract all files in the tar archive to the directory specified. The default filenames will be used for each extracted file. The second override is used to extract individual files. For this version, you'll need to specify a fully qualified filename with path for the extracted file.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Nish Nishant
United States United States
Nish Nishant is a Principal Software Architect based out of Columbus, Ohio. He has over 17 years of software industry experience in various roles including Lead Software Architect, Principal Software Engineer, and Product Manager. Nish was a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP between 2002 and 2015.

Nish is an industry acknowledged expert in the Microsoft technology stack. He authored C++/CLI in Action for Manning Publications in 2005, and had previously co-authored Extending MFC Applications with the .NET Framework for Addison Wesley in 2003. In addition, he has over 140 published technology articles on and another 250+ blog articles on his WordPress blog. Nish is vastly experienced in team management, mentoring teams, and directing all stages of software development.

Contact Nish : If you are interested in hiring Nish as a consultant, you can reach him via his google email id voidnish.

Company Website :

Comments and Discussions

GeneralSlight change [modified] Pin
tomb3453618-Feb-07 8:18
Membertomb3453618-Feb-07 8:18 
GeneralSome little changes Pin
Nyarlatotep22-Jan-07 5:06
MemberNyarlatotep22-Jan-07 5:06 
Generalfix FilePath is where bugs come from Pin
MyronLi15-May-06 16:04
MemberMyronLi15-May-06 16:04 
GeneralHeader (revised) Pin
MyronLi15-May-06 21:49
MemberMyronLi15-May-06 21:49 
GeneralBody (revised) Pin
MyronLi15-May-06 21:50
MemberMyronLi15-May-06 21:50 
GeneralSome recommendations Pin
Member 17300935-May-05 0:44
MemberMember 17300935-May-05 0:44 
Generalerror in compress file Pin
Lucas6929-Mar-04 20:49
MemberLucas6929-Mar-04 20:49 
GeneralRe: error in compress file Pin
SchubiMice3-May-05 1:28
MemberSchubiMice3-May-05 1:28 
GeneralI've Tarred and UnTarred but... Pin
Myron Belchmyer27-Oct-03 18:00
MemberMyron Belchmyer27-Oct-03 18:00 
GeneralRe: I've Tarred and UnTarred but... Pin
KevMoore28-Nov-03 0:52
MemberKevMoore28-Nov-03 0:52 
QuestionHow can I set reference to files? Pin
stacxws17-Oct-03 4:34
Memberstacxws17-Oct-03 4:34 
Questionhow do i execute? Pin
Member 3153028-May-03 13:14
MemberMember 3153028-May-03 13:14 
GeneralBig Problem Pin
Eric5423-May-03 9:16
sussEric5423-May-03 9:16 
Generalstdafx.h Pin
staj19-May-03 17:24
Memberstaj19-May-03 17:24 
GeneralRe: stdafx.h Pin
Nish Nishant19-May-03 17:48
sitebuilderNish Nishant19-May-03 17:48 
Generalpassword protection Pin
tomei17-Feb-03 4:47
Membertomei17-Feb-03 4:47 
GeneralRe: password protection Pin
Nish Nishant17-Feb-03 10:46
sitebuilderNish Nishant17-Feb-03 10:46 
GeneralA Bug! Pin
zzmgx16-Nov-02 16:32
Memberzzmgx16-Nov-02 16:32 
GeneralRe: A Bug! Pin
Nish Nishant16-Nov-02 17:15
sitebuilderNish Nishant16-Nov-02 17:15 
GeneralRe: A Bug! Pin
Jose Cruz12-Feb-03 6:08
MemberJose Cruz12-Feb-03 6:08 
GeneralRe: A Bug! Pin
David49326-Jun-03 7:41
MemberDavid49326-Jun-03 7:41 
GeneralRe: A Bug! Pin
Ridgeley Yu1-Jul-03 1:13
MemberRidgeley Yu1-Jul-03 1:13 
GeneralThasnk Nish Pin
13-Apr-02 16:44
suss13-Apr-02 16:44 
GeneralRe: Thasnk Nish Pin
Nish Nishant14-Apr-02 20:02
sitebuilderNish Nishant14-Apr-02 20:02 
GeneralRe: Thasnk Nish Pin
David Wulff14-Apr-02 20:10
MemberDavid Wulff14-Apr-02 20:10 

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Posted 18 Nov 2001


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