borg diff

borg [common options] diff [options] REPO::ARCHIVE1 ARCHIVE2 [PATH...]

positional arguments


repository location and ARCHIVE1 name


ARCHIVE2 name (no repository location allowed)


paths of items inside the archives to compare; patterns are supported

optional arguments


deprecated, use --numeric-ids instead


only consider numeric user and group identifiers


Override check of chunker parameters.


Sort the output lines by file path.


Only compare differences in content (exclude metadata differences)


Format output as JSON Lines.

Common options

Include/Exclude options

-e PATTERN, --exclude PATTERN

exclude paths matching PATTERN

--exclude-from EXCLUDEFILE

read exclude patterns from EXCLUDEFILE, one per line

--pattern PATTERN

include/exclude paths matching PATTERN

--patterns-from PATTERNFILE

read include/exclude patterns from PATTERNFILE, one per line


This command finds differences (file contents, user/group/mode) between archives.

A repository location and an archive name must be specified for REPO::ARCHIVE1. ARCHIVE2 is just another archive name in same repository (no repository location allowed).

For archives created with Borg 1.1 or newer diff automatically detects whether the archives are created with the same chunker params. If so, only chunk IDs are compared, which is very fast.

For archives prior to Borg 1.1 chunk contents are compared by default. If you did not create the archives with different chunker params, pass --same-chunker-params. Note that the chunker params changed from Borg 0.xx to 1.0.

For more help on include/exclude patterns, see the borg help patterns command output.


$ borg init -e=none testrepo
$ mkdir testdir
$ cd testdir
$ echo asdf > file1
$ dd if=/dev/urandom bs=1M count=4 > file2
$ touch file3
$ borg create ../testrepo::archive1 .

$ chmod a+x file1
$ echo "something" >> file2
$ borg create ../testrepo::archive2 .

$ echo "testing 123" >> file1
$ rm file3
$ touch file4
$ borg create ../testrepo::archive3 .

$ cd ..
$ borg diff testrepo::archive1 archive2
[-rw-r--r-- -> -rwxr-xr-x] file1
   +135 B    -252 B file2

$ borg diff testrepo::archive2 archive3
    +17 B      -5 B file1
added           0 B file4
removed         0 B file3

$ borg diff testrepo::archive1 archive3
    +17 B      -5 B [-rw-r--r-- -> -rwxr-xr-x] file1
   +135 B    -252 B file2
added           0 B file4
removed         0 B file3

$ borg diff --json-lines testrepo::archive1 archive3
{"path": "file1", "changes": [{"type": "modified", "added": 17, "removed": 5}, {"type": "mode", "old_mode": "-rw-r--r--", "new_mode": "-rwxr-xr-x"}]}
{"path": "file2", "changes": [{"type": "modified", "added": 135, "removed": 252}]}
{"path": "file4", "changes": [{"type": "added", "size": 0}]}
{"path": "file3", "changes": [{"type": "removed", "size": 0}]}