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How can I tame Time Machine?

3614 Views 37 Replies Latest reply: Jul 29, 2009 6:51 PM by Scott Radloff RSS
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Jul 27, 2009 7:38 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry McJunkin wrote:
    . . .
    Well...I may not have TTPro much longer either, registration or not


    That might be a bit of overkill. Surely it's other features are worth something?

    Currently, Disk Utility is repairing a BUNCH of stuff on my Passport drive (TM drive) and has a few minutes left. When that drive has been repaired, I assume I can then go in and remove all the TTPro Protection/My Passport files that are going to be in each backup on that drive (using FAQ #12)? Or, I suppose I could just let TM iron itself out and in 30 days things would be normal?


    Yes, either way. But removing all the backups of those files (you delete them all in a single operation), will apparently gain a lot of space, so your remaining backups won't have to be deleted so soon.
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • dbsneddon Level 4 Level 4 (1,525 points)
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    Jul 27, 2009 8:24 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    May I ask why you are using SuperDuper to backup your "My Documents"
    folder to the same disk that they are already being backup up to via
    Time Machine? Just curious.

    Dave
    MacBook 13", Mac OS X (10.5.7), iMac G5 (10.5.7) iBook G3 (10.4.11)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Jul 27, 2009 8:28 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry McJunkin wrote:
    Pondini,

    Thanks so much for all the help. I repaired the Passport (took about an hour), then deleted all instances of /TechTool Protection/My Passport/ on Time Machine using the "correct procedure' in item 12 of the FAQ. The end result was I gained back 174 GB of on the 300 GB Passport drive (Time Machine).


    Wow! and Yay!

    I should be able to just let Time Machine do it's own deletions from now on. I do use that drive for one other thing...backing up My Documents and a few other things into a separate folder using SuperDuper, but that has been configured for a year with no interaction problems.


    If you ever have to delete all your TM backups (or all the SuperDuper backups), take the opportunity to Partition the drive, so TM has it's own, exclusive space. That may prevent problems in the future. See items #3 and 6 of the FAQ.

    Glad it's all sorted out now, and thanks for the star!
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Jul 27, 2009 8:36 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Good plan.

    I use CarbonCopyCloner to update a clone daily (while I'm snoozing); plus Time Machine; plus some small items to my iDisk daily and others weekly via Backup; plus some CDs/DVDs in my safe deposit box.

    I, too, have learned over the years . . . backups are one area where +Paranoia is Prudent!+
    iMac G5 1.8 GHz PowerPC, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,015 points)
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    Jul 27, 2009 9:59 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    I guess, then I do not understand why you use TTP to do anything to your TM backup drive. Unless your system is having serious problems I see no need to even use TTP or any other maintenance utility. But I surely wouldn't mess with the TM drive using anything but Disk Utility. Except for Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper 2.5 I don't know of any disk utility known to be wholly compatible with how TM does backups.
    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
  • Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
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    Jul 28, 2009 12:03 AM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry,

    I'm with Kappy on this one. And, I'll even take it further....

    First, let's discuss how Time Machine does "its thing," and some of the advantages it has. As Pondini has already mentioned, each and every backup is a complete backup of every file from your "source" (every file that has not been explicitly excluded by you). And yet, not much more disk space is required to make these successive backups. That's because Time Machine uses multi-linked files. While a given backup will contain all of the many thousands of files that exist in your source installation, almost all of those files (all the files that haven't changed in between backups) will point to data that has already been stored on the backup volume, when prior backups have been made. File "B" and its data has already been copied, so Time Machine merely creates a new "hard link" that points to file "B's" data when making a subsequent backup file file "B." In this way, file "B" can be backed up hundreds of times, all without consuming more disk space than a single iteration of file "B" requires.

    At its most powerful, Time Machine can be used to restore your entire installation- from any backup that has been retained on the backup volume- in very short order. It is a powerful recovery tool, but this power can also be used to migrate your entire installation to a new machine or merely a new hard drive. It's a great tool, not just for creating redundancy, but for making that redundancy work for you.

    And there's the point that I want to stress: A backup strategy is only as good as its ability to restore you to full functionality in time of need. Treated well, Time Machine will do just that.

    So, what do I mean by "treating it well?" First, let it run in isolation, without additional "backup" software getting in the way. Ideally, it should have its own external drive with which to work, but at the very least, give it a dedicated partition on an external. Also, give it exclusive access to that drive when it runs (this should not really be necessary, but every little bit helps).

    Those disk errors are cause for concern, even if they have been repaired. Disk repair routines, when they are successful, only fix problems with the file system; they do not do anything to recover file data that may have been lost. If a file was damaged by the disk error, it will remain damaged after the repair. If said file is part of a backup that you need to restore in the future, you will be in trouble. With Time Machine, this problem is multiplied by the number of backups it has made and kept, since lost data for a single file will impact every backup that contains that same file.

    I strongly recommend that you format the volume you will use for Time Machine, then allow it to start a new sequence of backups. Do so only after you have ascertained that by removing your backup "history" you will lose no unique files that exist only in older backups.

    Once you have done this, and you have Time Machine working on backups that you can trust, then you can consider other alternatives. Redundancy is good, but only if it doesn't get in the way of functionality. I consider my Time Machine backup(s) as protection for my installation of OS X, and my installation of OS X as protection for my backup(s). They are both equally important, and I can recover or migrate fully from either one as well as the other. Any other backup I make- regardless of the extent or means- is gravy.

    Scott
    17" Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
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    Jul 28, 2009 12:05 PM (in response to Larry McJunkin)
    Larry,

    At this point, I intend to format the TM drive, and based on your reply, either use it only for TM or preferably partition it with a 30 GB area for the SuperDuper backup of the critical files in My Documents.


    There's no reason why you cannot do as you suggest. In fact, I usually do recommend that users create a second partition for their own use, when a backup drive is considerably larger than need be for Time Machine's purposes. Part of that recommendation, however, is that the first partition be used for Time Machine (the one at the top of the graph in the "Partition" pane). By doing this, one always has the option of removing the second partition in order to expand the Time Machine partition into the free space (Partitions can only be expanded toward the end of the drive).

    One caveat, though!! Do not allow SuperDuper to run concurrently with Time Machine. If SD is running automatically, and it happened to be making a backup at the same time as Time Machine, it would probably not cause any problem. But, would you want to risk it? I wouldn't.

    I did understand from the earlier posts that the real problem had been identified, and that you had taken steps to prevent it from recurring. I just wanted to make sure that you also took the additional steps to insure that Time Machine continued to work as well for you as it has in the past

    Scott
    17" Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.7)

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