Previously working rclone backup now giving error "unknown command "rcat" for "rclone""

What is the problem you are having with rclone?

We've been using rclone to backup our database to a Google Drive folder for a couple of years now. The backup is a simple cronjob which runs every 24 hours. It dumps the database, creates a tarball and then uploads to Google Drive. This has run successfully since 2019.

We noticed this week that in late November our backup script stopped working and began giving an error saying Error: unknown command "rcat" for "rclone" (see the full output at the bottom of this post). We haven't changed any configurations on the server that I am aware of. This seems to have happened spontaneously.

Has rcat been deprecated? Or could one of our developers have accidentally removed it? Or could the error be masking something else? We have an unlimited Google Drive account, so I'm confident that the folder is not full. The upper limit on a Google Drive shared folder's contents is 400,000 items. We only have about 600 backups in there at the moment.

Many thanks in advance for the help.

What is your rclone version (output from rclone version)

rclone v1.35-DEV

Which OS you are using and how many bits (eg Windows 7, 64 bit)

Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 9.12 (stretch)
Release: 9.12
Codename: stretch

Which cloud storage system are you using?

Google Drive

The command you were trying to run (eg rclone copy /tmp remote:tmp)

CURRENT_DATETIME=$(date + '%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S')
tar -czf - database-dump.sql | rclone rcat remote:backups/snapshot-$CURRENT_DATETIME.tar.gz /home/user/.rclone.conf

The rclone config contents with secrets removed.

type = drive
client_id =
client_secret =
token = {"access_token": <redacted>, "token_type": "Bearer", "refresh_token": <redacted>, "expiry": "2020-11-19T02:02:48.226083865Z"

A log from the command with the -vv flag

Error: unknown command "rcat" for "rclone"

Did you mean this?

Run 'rclone --help' for usage.
2021/02/25 14:24:13 Fatal error: unknown command "rcat" for "rclone"

Did you mean this?
tar: -: Wrote only 4096 of 10240 bytes
tar: Child returned status 141
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now

Your version predates dinosaurs which is why it does not work.

You can install and should always install from here:

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rcat was only introduced in v1.38 so maybe the versions have got mixed up somehow?

Latest version 1.54 is recommended :slight_smile:

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Yep, updating from dinosaur seems to have sorted it. Weird that it was working before. I'm worried that we might have version conflicts somewhere on the system.

Thanks a million for the help! You've saved me a lot of hair pulling.

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That was exactly the problem, although I'm not sure where/how the version mismatch happened. I'll look into it.

Thanks a million for the help!

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I can see a lot of threads like this. Would love to reduce the work of our support department to the minimal "Please rerun your test after rclone self-update". Assigning the relevant ticket on myself. Will also look into creating an Ubuntu PPA on , will open a ticket later. Other channels of distribution like: online,, rpm-based, snaps, homebrew, chocolatey, etc are out of my scope and schedule. Apparently self-update subcommand is generic enough.

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It is a nice idea. Restic has a nice restic self-update command which works brilliantly. Conceptually it is straight forward, in practice there are lots of OS specific details. If you wanted to work on it though that would be fantastic.

Self update has pros and cons. In rclone's case, I rather pick my updates since there are some major changes at times.

I don't think it should be automatic, but rather when you type rclone self-update.

This should do one of these depending on OS and where the current binary is.

  • run curl ... / | bash
  • download latest .deb and install it
  • download latest .rpm and install it
  • something else on Windows!

well, almost

let me copy another comment from github here. from my observations, github issues have slim chances of being noticed compared to forum threads. (btw, I described this observation in another github issue which I bet you did not see)

Could you make the CI/CD pipeline maintain a file like stable-version.txt (in addition to version.txt) on ? This would unlock the rclone self-update --stable feature

tho i agree with @Animosity022,

perhaps for newbies, the first time rclone is run

This is the first run of rclone, do you want rclone to check for an updated version? (y/n)
y) Yes
n) No (default)

rclone has found a newer version, do you want rclone to install the update? note: root/sudo is needed
y) Yes
n) No (default)


Each time rclone is run, , do you want rclone to check for an updated version? (y/n)
y) Yes
n) No (default)

if rclone is automatically installed by ansible or by Dockerfile, into a container or on headless embedded device, the kubernetes controller will not enter "Yes" to such request. how are going to detect unmanned installations?
KISS (c) Occam

tho my point was about first run, you concern is still valid.

my concern is really about the number of posts in the forum, that would not exist, if the fellow rcloner had updated rclone.
perhaps update the help and support template in the forum.

#### What is your rclone version (output from `rclone version`)
<!-- **STOP and  READ**: Are you on the latest version of rclone v1.54.0? Many newbie problems are solved with a quick update. You can update at 

also, when rclone emits this
Error: unknown command "rcat" for "rclone"
perhaps it should be
Error: unknown command "rcat" for "rclone". This could be due to running an old version of rclone. The latest version is v1.54.0. You can update here

And have error message stalled due to bad network connection? :slight_smile:

Let's take a razor and cut this to

Error: unknown command "rcat" for "rclone". You could use rclone self-update to get latest features.

No matter what last version is. No matter if the reason just a typo.

KISS (c) Occam

P.S. Your updated support template is wonderful!

sure, i agree, if rclone self-update becomes a real thing.
Until then, i like my idea.

still, there should be an update to the help and support template.

I have more ideas about improving rclone issue template here

P.S. Yes I am a dinosaur who still uses github to develop rclone.

I plan it for 1.55 due by april. The main problem nowadays is not about code or tests but getting a PR reviewed.

not sure exactly what is involved; is there is something specific that i can do, please let me know.
i am a windows user.

Version.txt is the stable version on and the beta version on so I think this is done.

You can use

rclone version --check

To see if you are up to date.