7 Replies Latest reply: Apr 6, 2008 7:10 AM by GW Schreyer
bealby Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I need to force a new, complete, time machine backup from scratch.

I ran out of space on my backup hard drive.
I wanted to wait a few months before buying a time capsule, so I thought I could save some space on my backup by starting again from scratch.
I erased my external backup hard drive and threw everything in the trash and renamed it.
However, the time machine backup still seems to want to keep all the versions, making the required backup size too big for my external hard drive.
How can I force TM to zero all its backup info out and start from scratch with a clean new backup.

Macbook pro, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • William Lloyd Level 7 Level 7 (20,980 points)
    Format the target drive.
  • SharonZ Level 2 Level 2 (475 points)
    I don't understand what you mean by "TM still wants to keep all the backup versions" - What's to keep if you trashed everything? (did you empty the trash?).

    If you changed the name of the drive, you probably (did, or should have) selected it in the Time Machine pref pane as the target backup drive, and that should've forced a new backup. (And, yes, reformatting should do it, as another poster suggested, but I'm still very puzzled by the "keep all the backup versions" comment because there's nothing to keep...

    Also, you don't have to start from scratch if your backup disk is full. You can use Time Machine's Delete Backup on big folders or files to get rid of all their copies; you can get rid of certain backup dates (without waiting for Time Machine to get rid of the oldest) and, most of all, use the Exclusion List in the Time Machine preference pane to exclude gigantic files from being backed up (if you don't need them).

  • bealby Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for your suggestions which are all good.
    What happens when I deleted all the backups and renamed the discs is that TM (I think) did not reset the caches - or equivalent - that store the directory structure. So it still seems that it thinks the other backup is still there.

    I did not want to selectively backup info as the whole beauty of time machine is the total/seamless aspect,
    to cut a long story short and bought a time capsule, so problem solved, for now.
  • GW Schreyer Level 4 Level 4 (2,985 points)
    Take William's suggestion. Reformat the backup drive.
  • Jeremy P Level 3 Level 3 (740 points)
    Why didn't you just keep going letting Time Machine erase backups as necessary as it ran out of room?
  • flyyer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Re-formatting the backup drive is not a good idea if you have any other data on it.

    I am using Time Capsule exclusively for Time Machine Backups for my Desktop Mac and three different Powerbooks.

    I would also like to do a new backup "from scratch" for one of my Macs without having to delete the whole drive! Every other backup software gives me this option!

    I am also not willing to let Time Machine run until it is out of disk space because this is conflicting with the backups of the other computers.
  • GW Schreyer Level 4 Level 4 (2,985 points)
    then do the equivalent for a remote drive

    erase the sparsebundle for the backup that you want to start over

    - gws