3 Replies Latest reply: May 2, 2014 2:20 PM by braden85
Bob Kazoo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I'm wondering if there is a simple way to delete old TM back ups to an external HD that is not close to being full and simply starting over.


Is it possible in Finder to just select all of the old backup(s) and move them to Trash, then empty the Trash?  The postings I have read lead me to believe it is not that simple.  The external HD is not partitioned, and has no other data on it except for the WD tools that it came with. I've also read that I could just delete the "last" ("latest"?) backup only.  Does that accomplish the same as if all old backups were deleted? To be safe, wouldn't the free space need to be zeroed out as well?


All too confusing for a non-Geek!  Help!

iMac, OS X Mavericks (10.9.2)
  • braden85 Community Specialists Community Specialists (3,225 points)

    Hey Bob Kazoo!


    I think I have found the relevant information to your question regarding deleting Time Machine backups in the following article:


    OS X Mavericks: Remove a backed-up item from your backup disk


    You can move, copy, or delete the Backups.backupdb folder on your Time Machine backup disk as you would other folders. You can also delete folders within the Backups.backupdb folder. You can’t delete individual items inside the dated folders.

    Important: Do not use Terminal or any app other than the Finder to move, copy, or remove items from the Backups.backupdb folder.

    Thanks for using the Apple Support Communities!




  • Bob Kazoo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Braden!  Appreciate your response.  The discussions I had read seemed to imply that it was a difficult matter, but this seems to be easy enough.  I suppose it will create a whopping trash to empty, but would avoid having to erase the backup disk, which doesn't seem to be a quick process either.


    Some of what I read indicated I just needed to delete the last backup, which I suppose would bollix up TM as to what is where and would force it to create a whole new backup, but those comments didn't mention what to do about all the other existing backups.  I've also read the Pondini instructions, but was confused as they seem to skip around.


    So, this seems to be the most straightforward way to go.





  • braden85 Community Specialists Community Specialists (3,225 points)

    Glad I could help, Bob! Thanks for being a part of the Apple Support Communities!