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Deleting Time Machine Files

2738 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 4, 2009 10:19 AM by Pondini RSS
James Palmer2 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Sep 28, 2009 3:36 PM
I would like to delete folders/files on an external hard drive that I used for time machine.

I start time machine, select the folder that I wish to delete, use the "sprocket" to select the delete all backups and nothing happens.

What am I doing wrong?
iMac 1.25 G4 and MBP 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5), iLife '08
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2009 5:25 PM (in response to James Palmer2)
    James Palmer2 wrote:
    I would like to delete folders/files on an external hard drive that I used for time machine.

    I start time machine, select the folder that I wish to delete, use the "sprocket" to select the delete all backups and nothing happens.


    Is the folder in question highlighted in blue?
    Does the option +*Delete all backups of+* include the folder name?
    Do you get a confirmation prompt?
    Do you get a prompt for your Admin password?

    You might try doing a +*Repair Disk+* (not permissions) on your TM drive with DIsk Utility, in your Applications/Utilities folder.

    A Restart might reset whatever's got TM confused.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz Intel; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.1), AEBS
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Sep 28, 2009 6:25 PM (in response to James Palmer2)
    James Palmer2 wrote:
    . . .
    Do you get a prompt for your Admin password?

    No


    If you have a lot of backups, it may take a while . . . it appears that TM gathers all the info it needs before it puts up the Admin password prompt, for some reason. That should be fairly quick, if this is just a normal external drive, considerably longer if it's on an Airport Extreme.

    A Restart might reset whatever's got TM confused.

    Do you mean "restart TM?"


    Oh, sorry, no, I meant a restart of your Mac (if the +*Repair Disk+* doesn't help, and you've waited a few minutes for the Admin prompt).
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz Intel; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.1), AEBS
  • Moncrief Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 4, 2009 9:23 AM (in response to James Palmer2)
    I would like to delete my time machine backups from my external HD and do a new one. When I enter Time Machine to do so I get no options for deleting, don't see a "sprocket" etc. If I choose Icons it only opens the folder. I get a bar on the bottom that says cancel on the far the left, today-now in the center and restore on the far right.
    Any suggestions. I dragged the backups to the trash and stopped secure trash because it was taking forever. Thought through Time Machine there might be a "faster" way.
    IMAC INTEL 20" and Black IntelMac Book 13", Mac OS X (10.5.7), Pioneer 111-D in a Galaxy external box, PreSonus Firebox, Digital Reality Mic
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2009 9:45 AM (in response to Moncrief)
    Moncrief wrote:
    I would like to delete my time machine backups from my external HD and do a new one. When I enter Time Machine to do so I get no options for deleting, don't see a "sprocket" etc. If I choose Icons it only opens the folder. I get a bar on the bottom that says cancel on the far the left, today-now in the center and restore on the far right.


    You have to select a backup to delete (from the "cascade" of Finder windows or the timeline on the right). See #12 in the Frequently Asked Questions *User Tip* at the top of this forum.

    Any suggestions. I dragged the backups to the trash and stopped secure trash because it was taking forever.


    Unfortunately, Apple doesn't do a very good job of warning folks: +*Never, ever, change, move, or delete anything in your TM backups via the FInder.+* Your backups are now corrupted; about all you can do now is to erase your TM drive via Disk Utility (in your Applications/Utilities folder).

    Why were you trying to delete backups? Time Machine will automatically delete the oldest backups when it needs room for new ones, unless you have the +Warn when deleting old backups+ box checked in TM Preferences > Options.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.1), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Moncrief Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2009 9:58 AM (in response to Pondini)
    I only wanted the most recent backup. I dragged the folders to the trash manually. I began to empty the trash again without secure trash and it is moving along. The HD I use for back up is a Newertech 1TB. I have a few other files like movies or larger projects until finished. stored there temporarily until I burn them to disks. I can do another backup in about 1/5 hours. My IMac drive is only 250 GB with about 48 available at present. Should I partition the external for a backup partition?
    IMAC INTEL 20" and Black IntelMac Book 13", Mac OS X (10.5.7), Pioneer 111-D in a Galaxy external box, PreSonus Firebox, Digital Reality Mic
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2009 10:19 AM (in response to Moncrief)
    Moncrief wrote:
    I only wanted the most recent backup.


    If you mean you only want to keep a single backup, of the current contents of your system, then Time Machine is not the best app for you. It is designed to do frequent (hourly) "incremental" backups of new and changed items, so of course requires more space than the data it's backing-up (see #1 in the FAQ Tip). Trying to make it do something else will be a constant pain in the asterisk.

    Try CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. They make full "bootable clones" of your entire system.

    I dragged the folders to the trash manually. I began to empty the trash again without secure trash and it is moving along.


    That has corrupted your backups. If you can't erase the disk because of the other files there, drag the Backups.backupdb folder, including any remaining contents, to the trash and empty it.

    The HD I use for back up is a Newertech 1TB. I have a few other files like movies or larger projects until finished. stored there temporarily until I burn them to disks.


    Whatever backup app you use should have it's own, exclusive partition. That's more important with Time Machine, but is true of all of them. See #3 in the FAQ Tip.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.1), dual-band AEBS v. 7.4.2
  • Moncrief Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 4, 2009 10:34 AM (in response to Pondini)
    Thanks Pondini. I got everything Time Machine backup wise deleted. I do understand TM's best use.
    I have Speed Tools Utilites that came with my NewerTech and have Data Backup 3 from Prosoft with that package. For other things I use Drive Genius and Tech Tools Pro. Again thanks. I'll probably partition say about 700GBS for backup? All else is fine on the external HD.
    IMAC INTEL 20" and Black IntelMac Book 13", Mac OS X (10.5.7), Pioneer 111-D in a Galaxy external box, PreSonus Firebox, Digital Reality Mic

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