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Time Machine won't delete old backups to make space for new ones

76493 Views 31 Replies Latest reply: Oct 24, 2013 10:39 AM by Alec V. RSS
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Jeremy Davis3 wrote:

     

    I am having a similar problem.  I have 10.7.3 and havw two internal HD. I am backing up my system HD - 500G onto another internal that is 1000G.  Nothing else is on the internal.  It says it is full and no matter what I do, it does not erase the old versions. 

    It sounds like TM is doing a very large or full backup.  See #C4 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting.  If that doesn't clarify it, see #A1 there to get the messages from one of the failed backups.  Copy and post them here.

    Why do I need more than double the space to back up a hard drive

    If Time Machine has to do a full backup, there won't be room for the oldest backup plus a new one, plus workspace.

  • Jeremy Davis3 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    The message I get is:
    Time Machine could not complete the backup.

    This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires 85.78 GB but only 26.05 GB are available.

    Time Machine needs work space on the backup disk, in addition to the space required to store backups. Open Time Machine preferences to select a larger backup disk or make the backup smaller by excluding files.

     

    I read through the help links you posted, but there is too much computer jargon for me to follow with what I'm supposed to do.

    I have 330 Gigs on a 500 Gig drive that I want time machine to back up on my 1000Gig drive.  I recently installed the Internal drive (it is 3000Gig but partitioned into 2kG and 1kG with the 1kG available as my backup).  I set TM to run automatically and want it to delete old versions as space is needed.  I should have enough room for two full versions (though I only need one) with 1000Gigs.  How do I make that happen?

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Jeremy Davis3 wrote:

     

    I have 330 Gigs on a 500 Gig drive that I want time machine to back up on my 1000Gig drive.  I recently installed the Internal drive (it is 3000Gig but partitioned into 2kG and 1kG with the 1kG available as my backup).

    Ah, the rest of the story.  You didn't mention the 2 GB partition before.  How much data is on it? 

     

    Go to Time Machine Preferences > Options.  What's shown for Estimated size of full backup under the exclusions box there?  Most likely, that includes whatever's on the 2 GB partition.

     

    Internal partitions are included in backups automatically, so if you don't want it backed-up, you must specifically exclude it, by clicking the plus sign under the exclusions box, selecting tha partition, clicking Exclude, then Save.

     

     

  • Jeremy Davis3 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    That did it.  Didn't know it backed up every drive.

     

    THANKS!

  • Steve Starratt Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    After reading all the comments here I see that Apple has not fixed this problem I am running Mountain Lion 10.8.2 and I just started getting this message.  As far as I am concerned if Time Machine won't automatically delete the old backups it is useless.  I can't beleive Apple thinks the average Mac user will be able or want to manually delete their old backups.  If anyone at Apple reads this, I would love to hear your reason for this problem not being fixed.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    There really isn't a problem with Time Machine not deleting old backups.

     

    It does delete old backups, if it can.  There are some circumstances where it can't, such as if the backup disk is too small, or there's too much other stuff on it, or there's a directory problem.

     

    See #C4 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting.  See the explanation for the message you're getting;  if that doesn't clarify things, please start a new thread in the Mountain Lion forum -- this is the Leopard forum, and there are some differences in how Time Machine works.

     

    Post the wording (or a screenshot) of the message (see #C2 in the Troubleshooting link if you've forgotten it), plus details of your setup -- how much data Time Machine is backing-up, where the backups are (external HD, Time Capsule, 3rd-party NAS, etc.), and how large the backup drive is.

     

    And no, Apple does not monitor these forums for content, so will never answer here.

  • iamtiredoftryingtothinkofauniqueusername Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    agree 100%

     

    i am a software engineer with 15 years experience and i can tell you that not fixing these issues this is a load of crap.

     

     

    look apple, i am paying 3 times what the hardware/software is worth (comparable to the competitors). the reason i do this is because I WANT IT TO WORK OUT OF THE BOX. i am paying UP for quality. you are failing to deliver on your end of the bargain.

     

    if i wanted to spend my saturdays trolling support boards i would run ubuntu.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    iamtiredoftryingtothinkofauniqueusername wrote:

    . . .

    look apple,

    You are not talking to Apple here.  This is a user-to-user forum.

     

    If you wish to talk to Apple, there are several ways:

     

    Make an appointment and take your Mac (and whatever you're trying to back it up to) to the Genius Bar at your Apple Store: http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/

     

    If there isn't one nearby, contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

     

    Or call AppleCare: if you're in the U.S.: (800) APL-CARE (800-275-2273);  if not, click the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page.  The call is free if your Mac is less than 90 days old, or if you purchased AppleCare and it's under 3 years old.

     

     

    Or, if you want some help from us volunteers, see the previous post.

  • bd2xu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Have to agree, time machine is not working right and it's bothered me for a LONG time.  It cleary says on the time machine preferences window:  "The oldest backups are deleted when your disk becomes full."  It doesn't say it will try to delete old backups but may fail.  This is my third mac book since 2008.  Currently on 10.8, using a Buffalo 1 TB external USB HD and my Mac air has 256 GB of storage.  Since 2008, across 3 machines, multiple operating systems, and multiple external USB drives, I have had this problem.  About every 3 weeks or so I get an error saying Time Machine could not complete the backup because the disk is full.  Well duh!  When the disk is full Time Machine should START the next backup by overwriting the old ones... IT DOESN'T WORK.  And I've been looking on these forums for 3 years for a fix.  What I do evey time is open disk utility, perform an erase to wipe and re-format the whole drive, then run a backup. 

     

    If I'm doing something wrong I'd love to know because this is annoying but for it to go on so long with no fix is downright stupid.  I just installed the Time Machine buddy widget and will post the log the next time I get the error.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    bd2xu wrote:

    . . .

    Currently on 10.8,

    But you've posted in the Leopard (10.5) forum.  While Time Machine is mostly the same, the handling of some circumstances is different on Mountain Lion.

     

    using a Buffalo 1 TB external USB HD

    Just to be clear -- that's a "simple" external HD, that you connect directly to your MBA via a USB cable, right?  Not one of their network (NAS) drives, that you can  back up to wirelessly?

     

    It sounds like there's something else on it, besides your MBA's backups.  If so, what, and how large is it?  Are there multiple partitions?

     

    I just installed the Time Machine buddy widget and will post the log the next time I get the error.

    If it's happened in the last week or so, the messages should still be in your logs. If it's in the last day or two, the widget should show them.  Use it to navigate backwards (via the small arrows) to find the backup in question.  If it's longer, but within about a week, use the Console app as directed in the pink box of #A1 of Time Machine - Troubleshooting.

     

    Or, when you next get the failure message, see #C4 in the same link.

     

    Either way, once you have those details, please post a new thread in the Mountain Lion forum: https://discussions.apple.com/community/mac_os/os_x_mountain_lion

  • bd2xu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    On 10.5 forum, oops sorry.

     

    Yes this is just a 3.5" sata drive in an external case, essentially.  It's a Buffalo model HD-LB1.0TU2.  It's 1 TB, and the only partition is the one I've created and recreated a few dozen times now, as far as I can see within the Mac disk util. 

     

    thanks I will keep initiating backups until i get the error and post the data from your (awesome by the way) widget in the mountain lion folder.  THANKS!

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    bd2xu wrote:

     

    On 10.5 forum, oops sorry.

    Not a problem -- lots of folks get here via a Google search, and never notice.

     

    Yes this is just a 3.5" sata drive in an external case, essentially.  It's a Buffalo model HD-LB1.0TU2.  It's 1 TB, and the only partition is the one I've created and recreated a few dozen times now, as far as I can see within the Mac disk util.

    Be sure it has the GUID Partition Map scheme (although APM works, too).   Master Boot Record (MBR) might be a problem.

     

    Message was edited by: Pondini

  • siamless Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have to delete old backups myself - probably because I use a Drobo as backup device -  it's one of this "OR"s where TM can't do its job...

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Maybe, maybe not.  It depends on what version of OSX you're on and which message you get.

     

    See #C4 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting for details.

  • jimmyk11 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    As a workaround to the issue of Backup Disk filling up, you could always backup Manually using Time Machine.

     

    To do this simply turn off time machine after taking a initial full backup and then do future backups manually from the system bar.  See this article for additional details .... http://nyacomputing.com/how-to-run-manual-backups-using-time-machine/

     

    Note, you will only be able to restore to a point when the initial backup or manual backup was taken.

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