9 Replies Latest reply: Oct 1, 2009 1:49 AM by miflo
RKGinSJC Level 1 Level 1
I have only been a Mac owner for a little over three months.

I set up Time Machine with an external hard drive three months ago. My Mac hard drive has used 64.16 GB of space out of 249 GB. Ny external drive (300 GB) however was full and deleting on its own in just 10 weeks. Three days ago I erased everything on the external drive and started over. After the first full back up, 50.61 GB of space was taken. Now three days later it is up to 102.54 GB. What am I doing wrong, or what do I need to do to correct.
This is a 'home use only' computer and daily changes are minimal.

Thanks for any feedback.


MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10
    Are you including "other" volumes besides the internal drive? Do you have a Parallels or VM Fusion installation with a large disc image that's getting backed up again and again each hour (doesn't take long to add up to 50 GBs.)

    You might check the console logs to see what's indicated during your recent TM backups (use the Console application in your Utilities folder.)

    For additional help review the three User Tips listed at the top of this forum's topics listing.
  • RKGinSJC Level 1 Level 1
    Thank you for reply, but I am not a computer wiz.

    I do have parallels, but I understood that it did not get backed up on Time Machine.

    I just pulled up the log. Not sure what I should be looking for. Sorry.
  • Lyssa Level 6 Level 6
    The Parallels virtual machine will be backed up UNLESS you specifically exclude it. I'll bet this is where all your space is vanishing.

    Exclude the Parallels virtual machine from Time Machine & use a different method for backing up that data.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10
    Parallels' disc image is backed up along with everything else on your drive you have not explicitly placed in the TM preferences Exclude list. TM does not exclude it automatically. Locate the Parallels folder in your Documents folder and drag the folder to the TM Exclude list in TM preferences.
  • RKGinSJC Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks again.

    These are the five items that show as EXCLUDED from Time Machine back-up:
    1) Back-up
    2) Applications/Firefox.app
    3) Applications/Parallels Desktop.app
    4) Safari4.0Leo.dmg
    5) System Files and Applications
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10
    You have excluded the Parallels application but not the Parallels' pseudo disk drive. You should find them in the /Home/Documents/Parallels/ folder. Exclude that folder.
  • RKGinSJC Level 1 Level 1

    I have added that to the EXCLUDED list.

    I will see how it works.

    Thanks again
  • mahlquist Level 1 Level 1
    I have a similar problem but have been running TM for a while and then it says the backup is too big to proceed. I thought it was suppose to throw away some of the older stuff to make room for the new. If I try and exclused "movies" it still says it needs the same amount of space and won't back it up. What can I do besides erase and start over.
  • miflo Level 1 Level 1
    Hi mahlquist,

    I have exactly the same problem on three macs running SL. Sometimes it simply wants to backup the whole drive instead of creating an incremental backup. The worst thing is that it deletes old backups first (when there is not enough space for an additional complete backup) without asking you if you want it to do that. So, the best solution is to deactivate the automatic backup in TM and start it manually only. Watch at the TM window, see what it is doing when the backup starts. When it starts to delete old backups, cancel the backup, restart your Mac and then try again. In most cases, TM then works again and creates incremental backups. Another bug is that sometimes it backups even folders that are in the list of excluded folders. I didn't manage to break TM of doing that. So I decided for a reinstall of SL on the machine that was affected.

    This is one of the most annoying bugs in SL. TM is nearly unusable in SL. I also tried a complete wipe and install of SL to make sure that it wasn't the upgrade from Leopard that causes the broken TM. But this didn't solve the problem. In general, there are lots of bugs in SL. In the meantime, I would say that SL is one of the most annoying versions of OS X that Apple has ever released. Lots of bugs in such a manner are really new to me as a Mac user for many years.