I have a database with many large objects. A table have a column OID that refers to these large objects. I dump the database daily, including all large objects, with command:

pg_dump --format=c --file=/var/backups/pgsql/db-neos.pgdump \
  --compress=6 --blobs neos

and then I restore it, on a different machine, with command:

createdb neos
pg_restore -d neos /mnt/db-neos.pgdump

but, while all tables are correctly created, large objects aren't.
Instead, an error message is displayed by pg_restore:

pg_restore: [compress_io] decompressione dei dati fallita: (null)
(english: could not uncompress data) 

2 Answers 2


I've faced the same issue some months ago, and I have managed to solve it with a bash script. This is the piece of code that take care to backup large objects, and save it to a local folder (/path/to/destination/lo/folder/) with filename = oid (the filename is important in order to restore lo with same oid) :

echo -e "going to export largeobjects belonging to community $i..." && sleep 2
psql -U <username> -X -c "SELECT file_oid FROM <my_table>" \
    --single-transaction \
    --set AUTOCOMMIT=off \
    --set ON_ERROR_STOP=on \
    --no-align \
    -t \
    --field-separator ' ' \
    --quiet \
    -d <my_source_db> \
| while read file_oid ; do
    echo "Exporting largeobject OID: $file_oid"
    ${PSQL} -d <my_source_db> -c "SELECT lo_export($file_oid, '/path/to/destination/lo/folder/$file_oid');"

Then to restore them I've written this other piece of code:

echo "going to import largeobjects belonging to community $i..." && sleep 2
for f in $LOBJECTS
    echo "Processing $f file..."
    filename=$(basename "$f")

    psql -U <username> -d <my_source_db> -c"
    -- check if largeobject is already present, if it is delete it
    SELECT lo_unlink(${oid});"

    psql -U <username> -d <my_source_db> -c"
    -- import largeobjects
    SELECT lo_import('$f', ${oid});

Out there it may exist a simpler solution, but at the time I've not been able to find it, this is why used this approach. I hope you will be more lucky and find a cleaner solution. I'll follow this post in case I can learn something useful too : )

  • So, you are changing the way backup is done. This is not the same problem I have, and I cannot change my procedure the same way you did. But I wonder, why do you extract all blobs one by one and store them in separate files? pg_dump and pg_restore are able to manage large objects (when the dump is not corrupt...)
    – eppesuig
    Nov 11, 2015 at 15:35
  • If I remember well, the cause was that I didn't found a way to ensure the large object to be imported with the same oid. Oh yes, and because I did not have to export all the largeobject, but selectively dump them in base of some other criteria present in the DB
    – lese
    Nov 11, 2015 at 15:39
  • Indeed this is the opposite: pg_restore uses exactly the same OID, but since a database is part of a cluster, and OID are used among all database in the cluster, it might be that you cannon import a large object because its OID is already taken. What I have to do is: create a new cluster, create a database, then restore on this new cluster. I cannot use a cluster that already include other database because some OIDs are always overlapping.
    – eppesuig
    Nov 11, 2015 at 15:45
  • Ok interesting ! so you just need to change restore on a new cluster and you are done! Can you tell me if with pg_dump is it possible to backup only certain large_objects (select them in base of some creteria)?
    – lese
    Nov 11, 2015 at 15:55
  • I don't think it is possibile to only extract some of them: they are all large objects referred by any table in the database you dump.
    – eppesuig
    Nov 11, 2015 at 16:05

I found the problem: the dump file was corrupt, so while importing large objects, pg_restore failed with message:

pg_restore: ripristino del large object con OID 19659
pg_restore: ripristino del large object con OID 19660
pg_restore: [compress_io] decompressione dei dati fallita: (null)

and it stopped after reaching the end of the file.

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