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Delete Time Machine Backups

29930 Views 34 Replies Latest reply: Jan 5, 2014 12:09 PM by alfieholloway RSS
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Harry Heck Calculating status...
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Jun 2, 2012 3:53 PM

There appears to be several threads regarding deleteing Time Machine backups but I can't seem to get the correct answer to delete the entire backup folder (Backups.backupdb). I move the location of my backups files and they are working fine now so I want to delete the folder on the disk it used to backup to. How can I do that? I have everything backedup to the proper disk so I don't need this folder any longer. Thanks.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Jun 2, 2012 3:58 PM (in response to Harry Heck)

    The easiest thing to do is going to be to erase that hard drive.  Whatever you do, don't try to drag the backup folder to the trash...  that causes problems.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Jun 2, 2012 5:00 PM (in response to Harry Heck)

    Well, in that case, you should be able to delete that folder from the Terminal.  However, you need to be forewarned that the command I'm about to give you is exceedingly dangerous!  It can easily erase everything on your boot drive if there's a minor typo.  So, use this at your own risk.  Also, note that this requires that you are using an administrative account.

     

    In the Terminal, paste (do not type!) the following:

     

    sudo rm -rf 

     

    Make sure there's a space at the end of that.  Then, drag the backup folder onto the Terminal window, which will insert the path to that folder in the command.  Now, back in the Terminal, hit return.  When asked for your password, enter your login password.  (Nothing will be displayed...  that is normal.)  Press return again, and wait for the $ prompt to reappear.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Jun 3, 2012 4:35 AM (in response to Harry Heck)

    If "sudo rm" isn't able to delete that folder, then you'll really need to erase the drive.  Time Machine backups have a very weird file structure that even the Finder can't properly handle.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Jun 3, 2012 11:59 AM (in response to Harry Heck)

    The best backups are the kind you never have to use.  But you still have to have them, or sooner or later you'll wish you did.  I've been saved by backups more times than I could easily count.

  • Marjean54 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 12, 2012 5:02 PM (in response to thomas_r.)

    I tried everything to erase my external hard drive (which I had used with Time Machine), including Disk Utility.  The external hard drive was full and I had to erase something.

     

    I finally downloaded SuperDuper! which I plan to use instead of Time Machine, and SuperDuper! took less than 30 seconds to erase the external hard drive of Time Machine backups.

  • downtownbarber Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 17, 2012 5:57 AM (in response to thomas_r.)

    I'm afraid to erase my backups on my external drive because I'm not sure I have everything I need off them. But keeping them where they are stops me from using the rest of the drive which has over 700GB of free space. There is also a chance that some of the files in the TM backups are corrupted:( It's a real mess, do you have a fix you could suggest? Thanks,

     

    Peter

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Aug 17, 2012 6:24 AM (in response to downtownbarber)

    I don't advise using a backup drive for a secondary purpose. If your backup drive is wastefully large for what you're backing up, you shouldn't use the extra for storage of other items. If you do, where are you backing up those other items? That leads to confusing storage and backup methods. Keep backup drives dedicated to that one task only.

     

    I'd say you should probably buy another drive for storage and then back up both that drive and your internal to the backup that is currently too large (but may be a better fit when backing up two different drives to it). Also, keep in mind the potential for growth, based on what you do. What's way to big today might be just right in a few months.

  • downtownbarber Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 18, 2012 6:19 AM (in response to thomas_r.)

    Ultimately that's what I want to do. I will use my current GoFlex Home 1TB drive for time machine and get a second for storage of photos & videos. But how can I get one copy of each file from the time machine backups on the GoFlex so I can then reformat and start fresh? Is there an easy way or do this or do I have to go through each backup file by file?

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
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    Aug 18, 2012 12:39 PM (in response to downtownbarber)

    I'm not understanding what you're trying to do. Why do you want to start backups fresh on the GoFlex drive? Why not just keep the same backup going?

  • downtownbarber Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Aug 18, 2012 9:28 PM (in response to thomas_r.)

    I'll try to keep this simple... The TM backups on the GoFlex are mostly from my MacBook that I sold in February and a small portion from my MacBook Pro that I bought right after. The backups are from 10/7/2011 until late February or early March 2012. When I got the new MB Pro I did a restore from TM to set it up, but something went wrong, and Apple's Genius Bar concluded that the TM must have been corupted or had corupt files. They wanted me to wipe the MBP and pull everything off one by one to try and isolate the problem. I did wipe it but never pulled everything from the TM, at least not as they suggested. I've pulled a lot of the photos, music, videos, & movies, and I believe most of what's on the TM backups is on my MB Pro and Mac mini, but I'm positive there's more that isn't and I'm overwhelmed by how to get the rest off.

    I think some of the photos I took off the drive might have been one of the problems, because when I ran duplicate annihilator in iPhoto, some of the photos had lost all their metadata. I'm trying to give you as much info as I can without confusing you or myself. This has been quite an ordeal.

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (26,960 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 3:33 AM (in response to downtownbarber)

    I think the Genius Bar is leading you astray. Did you restore the entire system from the Time Machine backup? If so, you undoubtedly ended up with a system that the new MBP was incapable of running. That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the backup. I wouldn't do anything drastic based on that advice just yet.

     

    If you end up wanting or needing to erase the backup and start over, and there's still data in the backup that you haven't restored yet, just use Migration Assistant to import it. Don't import any apps, just documents. Once you've done that, or if you have already got all the documents you need, just erase the Time Machine backup hard drive and start the backups all over again.

     

    One word of warning, though: erasing the backup drive will leave you temporarily without backups. That's never a good idea. You'd be wise to have more than one backup anyway, so get another external hard drive and create a backup using some other software, like Carbon Copy Cloner. (It's always best to have a minimum of two backups, created with two different backup programs.) Make the backup once you have all the data on your machine, but before erasing the Time Machine backup drive.

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