Time Machine: Backing Up Size Growing

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Brett3rThanU, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    So my normal time machine backup kicked off the other day and is still going as I'm typing this message. It's already grown to 14.5GB and it's still growing. Nothing major changed on my system so I have no idea why it's this large. It doesn't even give an estimate of the size so I have no idea how long it's going to go for. Any idea what could be going on here?
  2. macrumors 603


    As long as you give next to no information no one can answer your question.
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    Does time machine do full backups every so often? To my knowledge time machine does incrementals once the initial backup is done. Time machine has been doing incremental backups for weeks now, each size not more than 100MB depending on what I recently did/installed on the system. Now time machine appears to be doing an incremental backup yet it's at 14.5GB in size and still going. Not sure exactly what more information there is to give?
  4. macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    I get this when I'm downloading/updating Steam games. I don't use steam often and I ran all the updates for all the big Valve games. When the first TM backup started, it grew from 100MB, and grew all the way up to about 30GB.

    It was always about 90% 'completed', so it would be '9.0GB of 10.0GB backed up'. Both numbers increased.
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    May 14, 2008
    Hmmm I don't have anything downloading or updating currently.
  6. macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012

    If you are worried about the size of your backups, then there are utilities that can show you exactly what TM just backed up, such as Time Tracker from Charlesoft.

    The same info can also be revealed with a small shell script.
  7. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    What you are discovering is just one of the shortcomings of using T.M. as your backup paradigm.

    There are others that are worse. You realize that you can't boot from a T.M. backup?

    Consider using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a bootable backup clone. It will not "grow" in size. You can archive older versions of your files if you desire (CCC). You can even clone the recovery partition (CCC).

    You won't realize the importance of having a backup clone around until that "moment of extreme need". Far too many posts from others on this forum, who have such moments, and in the turmoil, discover that they can't access their T.M. backups.

    With a cloned backup, you just connect it, turn on the Mac, hold down the option key, and keep holding it down until the startup manager appears.

    Then, select your backup, and you're booted again -- and from there, you can "attack" the problem-at-hand. Try doing that with T.M. ...
  8. macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Go into the Time Machine preferences and have it ignore folders you don't want to back up. That's the best way to trim it down. In my case I have it ignore my Parallels Virtual Machines (for which any change will cause a 20GB backup!) and the download folders.

    Regarding the suggestion to make clones using CarbonCopyCloner (or SuperDuper! or even Disk Utility) -- that's a good plan but IMHO it doesn't replace completely the functionality of TimeMachine which also gives crude but effective versioning. If you really care about backups you should have several different methods and at least one kept off-site.
  9. macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    That's no longer true.
    Holding down <alt> at startup shows a TM backup drive as a bootable option.
  10. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    Did you by chance install the 10.8.3 ML update from a couple days ago? If you did, the next backup is going to be large due to all the changed files from the update.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    You should have both - TM for a nice automatic hourly backup plan that also allows you to go back and find documents in old locations, in prior versions, or with changed names; CCC or SD clone for catastrophes, HDD or SSD failures, OSX upgrade rollbacks, etc. It's really not "one OR another", but "both". No sense saying one is better than the other - they serve different purposes.


    Did you change a folder name or boot disk name possibly? Something as simple as changing the name of something with lots of GB in it can sometimes cause HUGE TM backups. One of the limitations of TM...
  12. macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2010
    I use CarbonCopyCloner, I was not impressed with Time Machine for backups.

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