Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

How can I tame Time Machine?

3618 Views 37 Replies Latest reply: Jul 29, 2009 6:51 PM by Scott Radloff RSS
1 2 3 Previous Next
Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 27, 2009 5:20 PM
I have a single-user Mac with very few applications, only about 600 songs in iTunes and a very modest iPhoto library. Yet Time Machine, keeping 30 days of backups, nearly fills my 300 GB Passport external drive. On my Mac hard drive I only have a grand total of 45 GB of used space and 98% of that doesn't change, or if it does it's just a change, not more data. I don't even use Apple Mail...I use Gmail.

If very little is changing I don't see why Time Machine should using nearly 300 GB of space for 30 days worth of backups. How can I tame this beast? I'm tired of TechTool telling me I am running out of space on the Passport drive every few days.

In the past I've just manually deleted the old five or six days worth of T.M. backups, but that is another problem in itself. It takes Finder HOURS to delete the hundreds of thousands of files each time I do this. I like Time Machine, but I'm about ready to turn it off and go back to SuperDuper. Thanks for any ideas.
Unibody MacBook - 24" Cinema Display, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,095 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 5:31 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Two problems: 1. Deleting files manually from the TM backup; 2. Then continuing to allow TM to backup.

    What you are doing is guaranteeing that TM will first take hours to reconcile the indices that are now out of sync because you've manually deleted files from the backup. This in turn takes an inordinate amount of time just to perform the deletions. Then the next time TM does a backup it will have to backup the whole thing all over because although you've deleted files in the backup you haven't actually deleted them from your hard drive. So I suspect after 30 days you've probably amassed dozens of backups for most of the files on your hard drive. Each new backup adding incrementally to what's already on the backup drive.

    If you don't want files backed up by TM, then put them into the TM Exclude list in TM preferences. If you want to remove files from a TM backup this should only be done using the TM application. If you don't wish to have the incremental backups on an hourly basis because it doesn't fit your needs, then don't use TM for backups. You may indeed be better off with SuperDuper!, Carbon Copy Cloner, or SilverKeeper.
    Mac Pro 2.66 Ghz; MBP Unibody; MBP C2D 2.33 Ghz; MBP 2.16 Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.7), iMac C2D 17"; MB 2.0 Ghz; 80GB iPod Video; iPod Touch; iPod Nano 2GB
  • Josef Kowalewski Level 4 Level 4 (1,915 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 5:36 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Hi,
    I don't know if this is what's causing your problem, but I came across this article the other day - http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20090708114919183

    Regards
    2.66 Quad-Core Intel Xeon, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Lyssa Level 6 Level 6 (14,780 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 5:38 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    You're very lucky that you haven't had problems after deleting stuff using Finder.

    Might want to get the Time Machine Buddy widget and check the logs during a backup:
    http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/status/timemachinebuddy.html

    What you're seeing doesn't sound too unusual to me. Does TM delete old backups when the drive is full?

    ~Lyssa
    13" White Macbook; 160 GB black iPod Classic ^_^, Mac OS X (10.5.6), iBook G4 1.07 GHz (10.4.11); 3G iPod 15 GB (4.5 years running smooth!)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 6:05 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    In addition to the other excellent posts and suggestions, once you get your TM disk in order, do two things:

    First, do a +Repair Disk+ (not permissions) on it, via Disk Utility in your Applications/Utilities folder. That will repair any problems in the directory, etc., that might have been caused by the deletions.

    Then, since it does sound like you may have extra-large backups, Click here to download the TimeTracker app. It shows most of the files saved by TM for each backup (excluding some hidden/system files, etc.).

    That will help you find what's taking so much space. Post back with file/folder name(s) and paths if you find some big things you don't recognize.
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 6:28 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry McJunkin wrote:
    @Pondini:

    Repair Disk on the Passport...or the Mac hard drive? Assuming the Passort.


    Yes.

    With regard to the Tech Tool package, if you're using the Tech Tool Directory option, look at this file/folder:

    ~/Library/Application Support/TechTool Protection/<name of internal HD>

    I'm not sure why you'd need that if you're running Time Machine, but if that (or similar) files are rapidly filling-up your TM drive, and you do want to run them, just exclude them from Time Machine, via TM Preferences > Options.
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,095 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 6:37 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Did you not state that you have been repeatedly deleting backed up files you did not want on the TM backup drive? Thousands of files? Did I misunderstand this statement:

    In the past I've just manually deleted the old five or six days worth of T.M. backups, but that is another problem in itself. It takes Finder HOURS to delete the hundreds of thousands of files each time I do this.


    What I said was that each time you delete these files manually you force TM to re-backup the files. Since each backup is an incremental addition to what's already on the drive, more and more drive space is consumed.

    In other words you are mismanaging the TM backup. See some of the other replies you've received.
    Mac Pro 2.66 Ghz; MBP Unibody; MBP C2D 2.33 Ghz; MBP 2.16 Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5.7), iMac C2D 17"; MB 2.0 Ghz; 80GB iPod Video; iPod Touch; iPod Nano 2GB
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 6:53 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry McJunkin wrote:
    . . .
    I may not understand TM...but I've been in the computing business for 25 years and something like this just doesn't compute.


    Welcome to the club! I've been at it about twice that long, and I'm here to tell you that Time Machine is a whole new sort of critter!

    Under normal circumstances, it manages to do only incremental backups hourly, of what's been added or changed, but each backup is, in effect, a *full, complete copy of your entire system* at the time of that backup!

    Even stranger, when it automatically deletes your oldest backups to make room for new ones, all the remaining backups are still, in effect, full, complete copies!

    You might be interested in these:

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/10/12/roadto_mac_os_x_leopard_timemachine.html
    and: http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2007/10/mac-os-x-10-5.ars/14

    and perhaps the Frequently Asked Questions post at the top of this forum.
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2009 7:09 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry McJunkin wrote:
    . . .
    Here's the specific problem...every day TechTool Pro is adding about 10GB of files into this folder, but rather than exclude them from TM I need to figure out how to stop TTPro from adding them. I don't want them on the Mac hard drive, either. If I can't do this, then I'll just dump TTPro, which is a shame as I paid for it.


    Those specific files are from the +TechTool Pro Directory Protection+ option. I don't have that app, but there has to be a way to turn it off. Try the Help, if any; their website (support and/or forums), or this article I found via Google: http://www.mymac.com/showarticle.php?id=3688

    You'll probably have to delete the files yourself, and if you want, you can delete all of TM's backups of them via the procedure in item 12 of the Frequently Asked Questions post at the top of this forum.
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
1 2 3 Previous Next

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.