1 2 3 Previous Next 44 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2014 11:17 AM by Neil Paisnel
Kelly @ I Need More Sun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

This past weekend, I happened to notice that 3 Events in iPhoto from last summer were missing, about 500 photos worthy. I did extensive system searches, but couldn't come up with anything. So I tried to restore them from Time Machine, assuming that at some point, my toddler must have deleted them from my current iPhoto. But even the oldest backup on my Time Machine, which was from April, didn't have them.

 

This leads me to a few conclusions. Tell me if I'm thinking correctly:

1. The missing Events must have been deleted before the oldest back-up - meaning they got deleted sometime before April 24.

2. I've had my Mac since December, but in June, I was notified that the external hard drive Time Machine was using was full. I gave Time Machine the go-ahead to start overwriting the oldest files.

3. But it appears that because I was overwriting backups, I also permanently lost my pictures.

 

If those assumptions are all true, then:

1. The external hard drive Time Machine is using is 150G. Is there a way I can use that space more efficiently so I have more than a four-six month window into the past?

2. Maybe most importantly: It seems like Time Machine isn't really a great back-up system. It doesn't have an archive of every file I've ever had - like the old HP Simple Save drive I used to use with my PC. It only has archives from the last few months. Do savy Mac users use a separate hard drive - or the Cloud - to store file duplicates?

 

I'm sick over the loss of my pictures, but I've accepted there is nothing I can do at this point. I'm trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. I feel like I trusted Time Machine and it let me down, but that might be because I thought it was doing something that it really wasn't.

 

Many thanks.

 

Kelly


iMac
  • 1. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (24,270 points)

    Time Machine has changed the idea of what a backup is. Before Time Machine, anyone who had even a single backup was a power-user. Professional backup systems costing thousands of dollars would give you maybe a week's worth of backups, asssuming you remembered to swap the tapes every night. Now, people don't notice that files have been deleted for 3 months and blame Time Machine.

     

    The biggest issue here is that your Time Machine backup is way too small. For a Time Machine 150GB in size, you should be backing up a hard drive no larger than 50 GB. I suspect your hard drive is much larger than 50 GB. Get a bigger Time Machine drive if you want it to keep more than 3 months of backups.

     

    I am curious about your question:

    Do savy Mac users use a separate hard drive - or the Cloud - to store file duplicates?

     

    You should only use Time Machine with a separate hard drive. It should be 3 times the size of all the data you are backing up.

  • 2. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Kelly @ I Need More Sun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am curious about your question:

    Do savy Mac users use a separate hard drive - or the Cloud - to store file duplicates?

     

    You should only use Time Machine with a separate hard drive. It should be 3 times the size of all the data you are backing up.

    My fault; I didn't ask clearly.

     

    I was trying to ask what savy Mac users do for back-up. Do they have a 1TB external hard drive for Time Machine to use so they can have more room available? Or do they have a SEPARATE hard drive to use as an archive for important files and/or do they back-up important files to the Cloud?

  • 3. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,850 points)

    As etresoft says, you want your backup on physically separate media.  If you are just using a partition on your boot drive, and that drive dies, you loose your backup and hence everything.

     

    I think ideally you would want an external drive of 2-3 times or even larger for your backup (the larger the drive the further back in time you can go in Time Machine to recover any given file).  That drive really should be dedicated to backups only (not used partially as just extra space).

     

    My old MBP only has a 320Gb drive, but I use a 750Gb  partition on an external drive for time machine (remaining partition is for a full bootable system clone).

     

    And for truly irreplaceable files, those you just cannot deal with loosing, then redundancy is a must.  So that means putting those on something else (another drive is good, small portable hard drives being useful for this - updated maybe weekly but otherwise stored safely away from the primary backup).

     

    I use two portable bus powered drives for my redundant backups, both full system clones.  Each gets updated every week, but otherwise one lives in my filing cabinet at work, and the other in my firesafe at home.  Being bus powered, they just plug into the data ports, and update (I have both SuperDuper and CarbonCopyCloner for making bootable system clones).

     

    We all spend thousands on our computers, more on our camera and video cameras, and more on other gadgets, but so many people bawk at spending a few hundred dollars on some redundant hard drives to safe guard their data and files.  Its penny wise and pound foolish as sooner or later you are either going to absolutely need that backup, or highly regret not having it.

     

    P.S. so I guess I have about $350 or less invested in backup media (each of the portables was around $100 for 500Gb drives, and the 1Tb WD MyBook was less than $150  ?? not absolutely sure as I've had them all for awhile, but I think that is about right for prices at the time.

  • 4. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Kelly @ I Need More Sun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    To clarify: I am using a separate 150G external hard drive that is set aside soley for Time Machine. I'm not using my boot drive, nor is my external drive partitioned.

     

    And I already have a second external hard drive that I use for archival purposes. It's a back-up of important files (mostly picturse and videos) that I typically update about 4x a year. It just hadn't gotten updated for a while because 1. my old PC laptop was stolen in December, so 2. it took me a number of months to get everything transitioned over to my new iMac and then 3. I didn't do it immediately because I thought Time Machine would cover me for a while.

     

    And obviously, it did. It's just that my files got deleted a while ago, and I didn't notice, and by the time I did, Time Machine had moved on. I realize it's a perfect storm of events here, not something "wrong" with Time Machine. But that's also why I'm interested in getting advice about the best way to move forward, so this doesn't happen again.

  • 5. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    vkehayas Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)

    I agree with etresoft that your backup disk seems a bit small -I have found references in the internets that you should at least have 1.5x the disk you are backing up.

    If you are looking, though, for an option that deletes no files no matter what you might want to check

    www.crashplan.com

    as I plan to do (if you use your own disk its free -suggested by Lifehacker).

  • 6. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (24,270 points)

    Kelly @ I Need More Sun wrote:

     

    Do they have a 1TB external hard drive for Time Machine to use so they can have more room available? Or do they have a SEPARATE hard drive to use as an archive for important files and/or do they back-up important files to the Cloud?

    Yes to all.

  • 7. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (17,850 points)

    Kelly, look at how far back your Time Machine backups go now with the 150Gb drive - now figure how much further back your saved backups would have gone had you had 6-7 times that much storage space before TM started deleting the oldest backups.

  • 8. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Csound1 Level 8 Level 8 (35,455 points)

    Kelly @ I Need More Sun wrote:

     

    To clarify: I am using a separate 150G external hard drive that is set aside soley for Time Machine. I'm not using my boot drive, nor is my external drive partitioned.

     

    And I already have a second external hard drive that I use for archival purposes. It's a back-up of important files (mostly picturse and videos) that I typically update about 4x a year. It just hadn't gotten updated for a while because 1. my old PC laptop was stolen in December, so 2. it took me a number of months to get everything transitioned over to my new iMac and then 3. I didn't do it immediately because I thought Time Machine would cover me for a while.

     

    And obviously, it did. It's just that my files got deleted a while ago, and I didn't notice, and by the time I did, Time Machine had moved on. I realize it's a perfect storm of events here, not something "wrong" with Time Machine. But that's also why I'm interested in getting advice about the best way to move forward, so this doesn't happen again.

    Use a much larger drive for Time Machine, at the very least make it 3 times the size of the internal, more is better here.

  • 9. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Dennis Bolt Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Kelly

     

    This thread has been helpful to me as well.

     

    I just got a 3tb seagate drive at costco for $129 which is awfully cheap and well worth the investment. (external space gets cheaper by the day...). My current iMac HD takes up a tad less than 1tb, so my TM backup is roughly three times the size of what it needs.  I'm new to TM backup, as in the past I always manually copied my Docs, photos, music, etc over every couple month to a external, but I think I will do both now. TM for hourly/daily/monthly and then move absoultely vital stuff every Quarter for permanent archive.

  • 10. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Kelly @ I Need More Sun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    That's exactly what I'm doing right now, Dennis. Time Machine is efficient. But it didn't work for me, because I wasn't aware that something had gotten deleted.

     

    So now, I use Time Machine as an emergency backup. And every few months, I make a secondary archival backup, using good old copy and paste, of all my important files, which are mostly photos and videos.

  • 11. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    babowa Level 7 Level 7 (23,315 points)

    Since you asked for opinions: I choose not to use Time Machine at all; however, I have 3 external drives @ 1 TB, each with several partitions and containing 2 bootable clones of each system I have (Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion). Additionally, I have extra drag 'n drop copies of all my pics, and any/all personal/financial files and, once a year, I make a "year-end" copy of anything important and burn that to DVDs.

  • 12. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,695 points)

    I use a 2TB drive to back up two Macs with Time Machine. This gives me several months of backup per Mac. One of the reasons this works for me is that I have used the Options button in Time Machine to exclude folders I back up separately because they are huge files (like Windows virtual machines) that I back up separately. I don't want Time Machine churning on those huge files and piling up backups of them.

     

    It's important to remember the difference between a backup and an archive. It sounds like you know that because you're already keeping a separate archive drive. The files on the archive drive won't get deleted when Time Machine runs out of space on the backup drive.

    Kelly @ I Need More Sun wrote:

    I was trying to ask what savy Mac users do for back-up. Do they have a 1TB external hard drive for Time Machine to use so they can have more room available? Or do they have a SEPARATE hard drive to use as an archive for important files and/or do they back-up important files to the Cloud?

     

    I have the Time Machine backup so I can get to versions of files. But I also maintain two bootable clones per Mac that are created with SuperDuper, and one of each Mac's clone drives is rotated off site so that if my home is completely destroyed or burglarized, I still have a complete bootable system that can be attached to a new Mac and used immediately.

  • 13. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    Joshua V Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I used to use a 4TB drive for my time machine. that is untill my mac died :'(

  • 14. Re: Time Machine not a true backup?
    John Potts Level 4 Level 4 (3,100 points)

    You should only use Time Machine with a separate hard drive. It should be 3 times the size of all the data you are backing up.

     

    Etresoft: could you briefly say why the separate hard drive needs to be three times the size of the data being backed up? I'm not questioning the veracity of your comment - I'm just curious to know. I could guess that twice the size is important, because of swapping etc, but why three times?

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