Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Oct 28, 2009 8:49 AM by jfd01
David Whitmer Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Hello,

For some reason my Time Capsule is not deleting the oldest backups to make room for the new ones and I cannot figure out how to change that because it not been backing up my iMac files for over a month. Is there a place I am not seeing to change this setting?

Thank you,

David

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • David Whitmer Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Correction: I need to figure out how to change this because. Please help!
  • Yves Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)
    I have the same problem. I thought that time machine when it is backing up to for example a time capsule (like i have 1TB) it should delete the oldest data to replace it with newest ones, but it doesn't do that. How can i fix this ?

    thanks
  • Glenn Carter Level 4 Level 4 (3,360 points)
    David, you don't give us much information to go on.

    First, how do you know the TC is full?
    If you are getting an error message, what exactly does it say?
    How many Macs are backing up to the TC?
    How do you know the iMac has not been backed up in a month?

    Open the Time Machine Preferences.
    If the iMac has failed to perform a scheduled backup "Latest Backup" will have either "Delayed" or "Failed" beside it. Click the tiny red icon beside it. What exactly does it say?

    Try initiating a backup by going up to the Time Machine menu and selecting "Back Up Now".
    What happens?
    If it fails, what exactly does the error message say?

    Let us know and we will be able to help you. Cheers!
  • David Whitmer Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hello Glenn - I apologize - here are some answers:

    First, how do you know the TC is full? I open TM preferences and it says that there is only 30MB of memory left out of 460GB.

    If you are getting an error message, what exactly does it say? No error - the icon with the little arrow circling the clock indicates that there is a backup preparing, but it never follows through and I do not get an error message. It is supposed to warn me when it deletes onld backups, but I have never received it. I am thinking that I need to find the TC preferences instead of the TM prefs?

    How many Macs are backing up to the TC? Just my iMac backing up to TC.

    How do you know the iMac has not been backed up in a month? If I go into TM the last available backup is from late March 2009.

    Try initiating a backup by going up to the Time Machine menu and selecting "Back Up Now".
    What happens? If it fails, what exactly does the error message say? Like I said, it says that it is backing up...I will try to stop the backup and then start another though hold on...Okay it looks like it is just going to do what it always seems to do - prepare backup for a while and inconspicuously stop with no error message, but I will wait for a half hour and see before I post this...Yeah - it is still preparing after a half hour! I think there must be something wrong...

    Thanks,

    David
  • Glenn Carter Level 4 Level 4 (3,360 points)
    David Whitmer wrote:
    Hello Glenn - I apologize - here are some answers:

    First, how do you know the TC is full? I open TM preferences and it says that there is only 30MB of memory left out of 460GB.


    Are you storing other files/folders on there besides your Time Machine backups? That is highly unusual that it would get that low without Time Machine beginning to delete old backups. If you are storing other files I would suggest attaching a USB hard disk to the USB port of the TC and using that for other files/folders. Leave the TC for Time Machine backups only.

    If you are getting an error message, what exactly does it say? No error - the icon with the little arrow circling the clock indicates that there is a backup preparing, but it never follows through and I do not get an error message. It is supposed to warn me when it deletes onld backups, but I have never received it. I am thinking that I need to find the TC preferences instead of the TM prefs?


    The only place to configure the TC is in the Airport Utility. If you have the setting checked in the Time Machine Prefs, it would tell you when old weekly backups are being deleted. I have never seen Time Machine backups get so large as to only leave 30MB left without starting to delete old weekly backups. Something is wrong.

    How many Macs are backing up to the TC? Just my iMac backing up to TC.

    How do you know the iMac has not been backed up in a month? If I go into TM the last available backup is from late March 2009.

    Try initiating a backup by going up to the Time Machine menu and selecting "Back Up Now".
    What happens? If it fails, what exactly does the error message say? Like I said, it says that it is backing up...I will try to stop the backup and then start another though hold on...Okay it looks like it is just going to do what it always seems to do - prepare backup for a while and inconspicuously stop with no error message, but I will wait for a half hour and see before I post this...Yeah - it is still preparing after a half hour! I think there must be something wrong...


    Well, with no space left, nothing is going to happen. Time Machine needs room to move files around. Without that room Time Machine is trapped.

    You have a couple of options. You can launch the Time Machine browser and free up some space. How far back do your backups go? What is the date of the earliest backup when you enter the Time Machine Browser?

    *Recovering Backup Space*
    If you have discovered that large unwanted files have been backed up, you can use the Time Machine “time travel” interface to recovered some of that space. Do NOT, however, delete files from a Time Machine backup disk by manually mounting the disk and dragging files to the trash. You can damage or destroy your original backups by this means.

    Additionally, deleting files you no longer wish to keep on your Mac does not immediately remove such files from Time Machine backups. Once data has been removed from your Macs' hard disk it will remain in backups for some time until Time Machine determines that it has "expired". That's one of its’ benefits - it retains data you may have unintentionally deleted. But eventually that data is expunged. If, however, you need to remove backed up files immediately, do this:

    Launch Time Machine from the Dock icon.
    Initially, you are presented with a window labeled “Today (Now)”. This window represents the state of your Mac as it exists now. +DO NOT+ delete or make changes to files while you see “Today (Now)” at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, you will be deleting files that exist "today" - not yesterday or last week.
    Click on the window just behind “Today (Now)”. This represents the last successful backup and should display the date and time of this backup at the bottom of the screen.
    Now, navigate to where the unwanted file resides. If it has been some time since you deleted the file from your Mac, you may need to go farther back in time to see the unwanted file. In that case, use the time scale on the right to choose a date prior to when you actually deleted the file from your Mac.
    Highlight the file and click the Actions menu (Gear icon) from the toolbar.
    Select “Delete all backups of <this file>”.
    Alternatively, scroll all the way back to the earliest backup.
    Highlight an item in the Finder window and click the Actions menu (Gear icon) from the toolbar.
    Select “Delete backup".
    This will delete only the files/folders that were backed up on this day or week.

    Now exit the Time Machine Browser and see if Time Machine can proceed with a backup. If not we have something else we can try later. Cheers!
  • mfarver Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Glen;

    Oops! In an attempt to free up space on my 1tb Time Capsule (backing up 2 Macs), after I got the error message that my storage space was low (40gb) I did just what you said not to do - I mounted the disc and deleted a month's worth (April-May) of backups. Your statement that such action could damage or destroy my original backups has me a wee bit freaked out. What is the best thing to do now? I have had 5-6 "successful" backups on both machines since I took the action, although I will be approaching the point where I got the original "low storage space" message soon. To be safe, do I have to delete everything and start over with a fresh, complete backup of both machines to be sure that the backups are OK?
  • Glenn Carter Level 4 Level 4 (3,360 points)
    mfarver wrote:
    Glen;

    Oops! In an attempt to free up space on my 1tb Time Capsule (backing up 2 Macs), after I got the error message that my storage space was low (40gb)


    What exactly did the error message say? 40gb would not have triggered a low disk space message. Now what you may have seen was Time Machine telling you it was going to begin deleting backups because there was not enough room for new backups. That is normal and would not have required any action on your part. Time Machine was simply being courteous telling you what it was doing. But it is hard to tell what happened without knowing exactly what the message said.

    I did just what you said not to do - I mounted the disc and deleted a month's worth (April-May) of backups.


    So you when into the backup folders on the backup drive and began dragging folders to the Trash? Or did you enter the Time Machine time-travel interface and deleted backups there? It makes a difference.

    Also you deleted "April-May" of when? 2008 or 2009? Where they the oldest backups? Or more recent backups.

    Your statement that such action could damage or destroy my original backups has me a wee bit freaked out. What is the best thing to do now?


    I wouldn't know without knowing exactly what you did. After deleting the backups, how did Time Machine behave? Did it resume incremental backups? Or did it perform a new full backup of your Macs?

    I have had 5-6 "successful" backups on both machines since I took the action, although I will be approaching the point where I got the original "low storage space" message soon.


    I don't understand, with a 1TB backup drive, why are you so low on space?

    As I said earlier, it depends on which error message you saw. There are 2 potential "low space" errors you might see. An Airport error with a very brief message saying the Time Capsule is low on space. And a Time Machine message saying it is going to begin deleting backups to make room for new backups.

    The first message, is due to storing other files on the TC besides Time Machine backups. The second message is due to Time Machine backups actually reaching the physical limits of the backup drive. The first message means you need to move some of the other files off of the TC. The second message requires nothing on your part - Time Machine will take care of it on its own.

    To be safe, do I have to delete everything and start over with a fresh, complete backup of both machines to be sure that the backups are OK?


    If Time Machine has resumed incremental backups without complaint then I would say you are fine. Again, it's hard to tell without knowing exactly what the message said. As I suggest to other, and do myself, keep Time Machine backups separate from other data. Either reserve the TC for Time Machine backups only, or attach an other external hard drive to the TCs USB port and begin backing up to that. Cheers!
  • mfarver Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Glenn;

    Thanks for taking the time to respond so completely.

    Additional clarification info as follows:

    1. Message was Low on Space. It appeared as an Aiport Utility Warning (the backup icon at the time showed the explanation point and "delayed") and the yellow light was flashing on my Time Capsule. I continued to have internet access.
    2. I mounted the TC, and went into the backup folders in the iMac Sparse Image Bundle on the HD an dragged the files to the Trash, and then emptied Trash
    3. I restarted and got the same Airport utility warning that disc space was low. I chose the "ignore" choice in Airport Utility. After restart, Time Capsule went back to solid green light.
    4. I can't explain the space issue. My iMac indicates 550gb used on the machine itself (It is the depository of large iTunes & IPhoto libraries) and the Macbook Pro shows 130gb used.
    5. The TC is not used to hold any other files, only as backup for the two machines.
    6. However, when I now mount the TC and "get info" on the Sparse Image Bundles, it shows only 74.44gb on disk for the iMac , and the MacBook Pro shows 210gb on the disk.

    I am concerned that the TC shows only a 74gb Bundle for the iMac. If I were to choose to redo things from scratch, and delete the present TC files, and then do a new backup, is it necessary to use Airport Utility to restore the TC to its factory settings and set it up all over again first before I start.

    Again, thanks for your help.

    m
  • Glenn Carter Level 4 Level 4 (3,360 points)
    Here may be the reason why you saw this message then - and a technique you may be able to use to recover disk space...

    *_Disk Images (sparsebundles) Seem Larger Than Reported / Are Not Resizing_* (For Time Capsule/AirDisk Users)
    At times, it may appear that Time Machine backups are taking up more disk space than what is being reported by the system.

    For example, I have a 500GB Time Capsule. This is what it contains at the time of this writing (each measured by Get Info):

    MacBook Pro 273.36 GB
    MacBook #1 47.66 GB
    MacBook #2 56.5 GB

    That's 377.52 taken. Which should leave roughly 120 GB left. However, Time Machine Preferences reports that only 112.2 GB of disk space is available. Where has roughly 8 GBs gone?

    First, size calculations for disk images are notoriously deceptive. The size reported is not necessarily the size of the disk image, but rather the size of the data contained on the disk image. So if a disk images' size is being reported as 27.22 GB, that means that the image contains 27.22 GB of data. But the disk image itself may very well be occupying several dozen, or even hundreds of GBs of actual hard disk space over and above what Get Info is telling you.

    You can think of disk images (sparsebundles) used by Time Machine as the bellows of an accordion. Unlike a physical storage device, disk images can expand and contract as needed. As the data within the disk image changes over time, the volume the disk image occupies can expand and contract as well. Unfortunately, while the expanding process is dynamic, the contraction process is not. Time Machine will not always free up disk space when the data contained on the disk is reduced in size. As a result, a disk image can occupy much more disk space than the actual data it contains.

    For example, say that you realize that Time Machine has backed up large unwanted files. You can enter the Time Machine interface and delete all backups of these files, thus freeing up space within the disk image for other items. However, this maneuver does not necessarily free up space on the backup drive the disk image is on. The disk image itself still occupies disk space equal to it's largest size before deleting the unwanted files. Essentially, it is possible to delete every backup within a disk image, yet never regain the space occupied by the disk image itself on the hard drive.

    Now, Time Machine is suppose to adjust disk image sizes when the data they contain is reduced. Unfortunately, this only occurs when your Time Capsule hard disks' space is nearing it's physical limits. Then Time Machine performs a compacting procedure to disk images on which the actual data is far smaller than the space occupied by the disk image.

    There is, however, a way to perform this compacting on your own via the Terminal. Here is how it is performed...

    First, turn OFF Time Machine Backups on all Macs backing up to the Time Capsule (TC).
    Next, open a Finder window and click on your TC in the Sidebar.
    If you don't see a blue share folder, you may need to click the "Connect As..." button and enter your Time Capsules password. (Note: NOT your own username and password.)
    Double-click the blue folder that appears in the finder window. The sparsebundle should now be visible. DO NOT mount it, just leave the window open.
    Now, launch Terminal from the Utilities folder.
    At the prompt type in:

    +hdiutil compact+

    ...and then hit the Space bar so that there is a space after +hdiutil compact+.

    Next, drag the sparsebundle in question from the Finder window into the Terminal window. This will complete the command.
    Now, with the Terminal window in focus, hit Enter.
    Eventually, you will see something like this...

    +Starting to compact…+
    +Reclaiming free space…+
    ..............................................................................
    +Finishing compaction…+
    +Reclaimed 5.4 GB out of 217.9 GB possible.+

    Repeat this procedure for each sparsebundle contained on your TC.
    Finally, remember to turn Time Machine backups back ON on all Macs backing up to the TC.

    Performing this on each of the disk images on my TC yielded a total of about 5.5 GBs of recovered space. Now, instead of 112.2 GB, Time Machine preferences is reporting 117.6 GB available. That’s not much space recovered because I perform this procedure relatively often. I have recovered up to 28 GBs at one time though.

    I hope it was helpful and resolved your issue. Cheers!
  • geefunk3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Glen, thank you so much for this tip!! I've been searching high and low to find out how to free up space on my Time Capsule. This was extreeeeemely helpful, as was your other post (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1758564) suggesting to use Disk Utility to repair the sparse bundle. I was getting the same error that person had: "hdiutil: compact failed - internal error" until I tried Disk Utility. THANK YOU!!
  • Megan Hart Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    David Whitmer wrote:
    Hello,

    For some reason my Time Capsule is not deleting the oldest backups to make room for the new ones and I cannot figure out how to change that because it not been backing up my iMac files for over a month. Is there a place I am not seeing to change this setting?

    Thank you,

    David

    Launch Time Machine from the Dock icon.
    Initially, you are presented with a window labeled “Today (Now)”. This window represents the state of your Mac as it exists now. DO NOT delete or make changes to files while you see “Today (Now)” at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, you will be deleting files that exist "today" - not yesterday or last week.
    Click on the window just behind “Today (Now)”. This represents the last successful backup and should display the date and time of this backup at the bottom of the screen.
    Now, navigate to where the unwanted file resides. If it has been some time since you deleted the file from your Mac, you may need to go farther back in time to see the unwanted file. In that case, use the time scale on the right to choose a date prior to when you actually deleted the file from your Mac.
    Highlight the file and click the Actions menu (Gear icon) from the toolbar.
    Select “Delete all backups of <this file>”.
    Alternatively, scroll all the way back to the earliest backup.
    Highlight an item in the Finder window and click the Actions menu (Gear icon) from the toolbar.
    Select “Delete backup".
    This will delete only the files/folders that were backed up on this day or week.


    I have tried and tried to do this...I never see the Gear icon on the toolbar. When I enter Time Machine (is entering it different than Launching it?!) I see no toolbar. I can choose the backups to restore from and I can find old files I no longer want backed up, but I find no toolbar, action menu, nothing. No way to delete anything!

    What on earth am I missing?!

    M
  • Colin Robinson Level 6 Level 6 (8,305 points)
    Megan Hart wrote:
    I have tried and tried to do this...+I never see the Gear icon on the toolbar+. When I enter Time Machine (is entering it different than Launching it?!) I see no toolbar. I can choose the backups to restore from and I can find old files I no longer want backed up, but I find no toolbar, action menu, nothing. No way to delete anything!


    Hi Megan,

    Have a look at this link:
    [Mac 101: Time Machine|http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427]

    If you scroll down to the screen shot of the Time Machine window in the *Restoring files from Time Machine backups* section the Gear icon is visible to the left of the Search box in the Finder window. It is not on the Time Machine toolbar (which only shows Cancel - Today (Now) - Restore).

    Hope that's the answer to your question

    Regards,
    Colin R.
  • Megan Hart Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Hi, Colin, thanks for the answer. It actually as something to do with the view window -- there's a small "button" on the right side that expands the window in regular view, and if that's not done you can't do it inside Time Machine. Expanding it shows the gear.

    However, deleting backups of unnecessary files doesn't seem to be retrieving any free space on the time capsule!!

    M
  • Bob Timmons Level 10 Level 10 (91,740 points)
    Your backups are all stored in what is called a sparsebundle file, which behaves somewhat differently than a normal file.

    As you add data to the sparsebundle, it expands and indicates that it is growing. If you delete for example, a Gig of data, the sparsebundle file will appear to stay the same size.

    It will only get "bigger" again when it expands again to store more data.

    There is a Terminal command sequence that you can use if you want to know the exact size of the sparsebundle file, but I wouldn't be concerned.
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