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Time Machine Local Snapshots GRRRRR!!

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Amberfool, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    So far I've been loving Lion. I've had a few small bugs, but otherwise the experience has been great, until now. Over the past few days I've been doing some 'spring cleaning' of sorts, going through my computer and deleting things I didn't need anymore.

    This morning, I went in to System Information to look at how much free space I had, and look at that I have less now then I had before. Why? Because in Lion, on portable machines, Time Machine keeps local snapshots. Basically it does the same thing as TM, but stores it on your computer. There is no option to stop this from happening, and you have no control over it. Now I guess it would make sense if you are away from your backup drive for a while, but I have a Time Capsule, and it's been within range for the past week or so, and in fact backed up very recently, and yet I still have these local snapshots taking up space, that I actually was trying to make empty. And it adjusts to how much free space you have, so the more I delete, the more it will take. WTF Apple!!!! :mad:
  2. macrumors 68030


    I have absolutely NO IDEA how Local Snapshots work. I have a MacBook Pro with an external 500 GB Time Machine drive almost constantly connected.

    I would think that when I disconnect the drive, it would continue to back up on my local drive, then, when I reconnect the external drive, it cut/pastes the local snapshots onto the external drive, thus freeing up all the space that was taken up by local snapshots. Is this not how it works?

    I don't see why we can't turn this feature off. Most people make a backup every month, there's no need to keep hourly backups. If your external isn't connected for a few hours, who cares? Chances are you won't do any important work anyway during that time.
  3. macrumors 68000


  4. macrumors 68030

    Or search

    There might be some bugs that will be addressed in 10.7.1 hopefully local snapshots can be adjusted in a future release.

    You can disable with
    sudo tmutil disablelocal

    or click on the Question mark in the time Machine system preferences and read.

    If you have a portable computer, in addition to saving backups on your backup disk, Time Machine saves hourly snapshots of files and stores the snapshots on your computer’s internal drive. If your backup disk isn’t connected, Time Machine continues saving snapshots on your internal drive, and then resumes backing up to your backup disk when you reconnect it.
  5. macrumors member

    That's what I would think too, but that's not how it works. even if your constantly connected, it will still store Local Backups on your hard drive as well, it seems.
  6. macrumors 68030

    In my opinion there are issues with local snapshots. If you don't need them turn them off until Apple fixes it.
    It's a simple concept just not executed correctly.
  7. macrumors member

    I have done, thanks. :) Hopefully they make a better implementation of this feature in the future.
  8. macrumors 6502

    If you don't want to mess with terminal commands you can just set time machine to off and manually back up whenever you want using the time machine menu bar option to "back up now."
  9. macrumors 68030

    I do love the thought of the system keeping a backup for me when my TM disk is not connected, but I want to control the maximum size those backups can grow to, and delete individual files if necessary. Apple has done it's normal Apple magic and taken this control away from the power user. A guy can dream :)
  10. macrumors member

    That takes away the whole point of time machine though. The fact that it does it without me having to think about it, is what makes it such a great feature, if I had to do it manually, that would kind of ruin the point of it.

    So do I! It's a great idea, as I use my computer at school, and being able to use TM when I'm there sounds good to me, but with no user control, it's just a HD hog and a pain in the ass.

    The thing with Apple taking control, is that in many situations I don't mind having the computer doing things automatically. I like the fact that is handles backups, that it now saves my files without me having to think about it, but what I would like to see, is the user being given control over that relinquishing of control.
  11. macrumors 68030


    Damn, Time Machine is such a MESS! It's impossible to understand or control, you can't even access Local Snapshots normally from the Finder, and you don't even know what the size of it is, as the Finder won't display it. So I don't know if I should delete some big files or not, as I have no idea whether the useless Local Snapshots is eating up all the space, or if it's my own files.
  12. macrumors member

    About This Mac>More Info>Storage will tell you how much space Local Snapshots are taking. They show up as backups. ;)
  13. macrumors 68030


    Oh cool, thanks! It appears that no space is taken up by local snapshots, how come? Is it possible that since I have an external drive almost always plugged in, there is no need for local snapshots and they don't get created?

    Also, when I disconnect my external, how come I get an exclamation mark in the Time Machine icon, saying that "The backup was delayed"? Why doesn't it just continue to backup locally then? If I unplug my external for 5 hours, the "last backup time" is 5 hours ago, so local backups aren't being made. So then, when do they get made?
  14. macrumors member

    Well your backup drive is wired, whereas mine is wireless so that might make a difference in how TM sees your machine. I assume that if you left it unplugged for any amount of time you would see Local Backups start to work. If you go in to TM Preferences, it will tell you if it takes local backups or not.
  15. macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    You display a lack of understanding about Time Machine. Just shut up and forget about it. It will work on its own. If you must know, here are some pointers:

    Local backups don’t show up on free space because if you need the space, they will be deleted. Automatically.

    Local backups are made when necessary.

    Local backups ARE NOT a substitute for an external Time Machine backup. That’s why your backup shows as delayed.

    Local backups only appear on laptops. That’s because they contain a cocktail backups that you might need when away from home.

    Apple is smart. They realise that a laptop will spend some of it’s time away from the Time Machine backup disk. That’s why they keep some backups (like recent documents, for example) on the local disk, so you can access them whenever you need.

    tl;dr - deleting or disabling the local backups is pointless. They do not affect the user experience in any conceivable way. Just use your computer, instead of obsessing over your ability to control every single thing. That’s a Windows thing.
  16. macrumors member


    Just happened to come across this thread. When looking through Time Machine Backups, the selectable dates on the right are colour-coded so you can tell which ones are local and which ones are on the backup drive; it looks like TM keeps a certain number of weeks of data locally. My guess is that the magic number is 2 weeks. That'd make a lot of sense, as it would mean that once documents "auto lock," older versions are no longer kept locally for them. It would also explain why the "auto lock" setting exists in the Time Machine preferences pane.

    BTW, threads like this are always amusing. We always claim to want more automation, but when such automation replaces manual methods, we complain about the loss of control. It's really interesting...
  17. 3bs
    macrumors 603


    Yeah this kinda freaked me out too. I also noticed that sometimes TM backs up twice which I guess is the local snapshot and the hourly backups.
  18. macrumors 65816

    Yeah but we want things automated that should be automated, not user actions like saving and things that unnecessarily chew up drive space / affect performance like local backups, autosaving, etc.

    I also find it ironic that with SL, Apple really touted the reduced drive footprint, but with Lion they took out installation customisation options, put local backups on by default, made files duplicate themselves on a massive scale, and put in a recovery partition, although that I think was a seriously good idea.
  19. macrumors member

    If you had actually read the thread instead of just responding the most recent post in probably the most rude and condescending manner I've ever seen on an internet forum, then you would know that we have already discussed why local backups happen, but the fact is, if my laptop is at home, I don't need it to make local backups. And of course they interfere with the user experience. They take up space which slows down my machine, something I am actually trying to reverse. And yes, I do want to be able to control my computer, not let someone else decide how it should work, and I think most people would agree that that is not an unreasonable idea.

    Well personally, I like automation in things like Autosave, but I also like being able to control that automation. Just because I'm letting the computer do the work, doesn't mean I don't want to be able to reverse that if necessary.
  20. macrumors member

    I think part of accepting automation is also giving up some transparency. If you think about it, 'transparent automation' --- where not only do things happen automatically, but also the user understands exactly what's gong on --- is really, really difficult. The interesting question then is "what is the right tradeoff for automation vs. transparency?"

    Btw, I'm curious...with Time Machine, have automated local backups hurt anyone? Has a document failed to save because local snapshots have eaten up all the space? Has the extra I/O usage caused other programs to hiccup? If not, then why should one care about micro-managing these things?

    Also, w/regards to your other comment --- isn't it kinda weird that computers normally assume you don't want to save anything unless explicitly commanded to do so? I really like the notion of saving everything and letting me backtrack afterward much better. It's not perfect, but it seems like I'd lose less important data that way.
  21. macrumors 65816

    No, computers should do what the user tells them, so the previous behaviour was quite correct. Auto-recover saving à la MS Office is fine because it protects the user from the computer, e.g. from crashes; auto-save and versions try to protect the user from themselves, which is the start of a dangerous relationship. All that is left is for them to start adding in measures to protect the computer from the user, HAL-like measures. If we can't turn stuff like this off, it's curtains.
  22. macrumors 65816

    Patrick J

    Really. Have you noticed any slowdowns? How exactly do they slow down the machine?

    Haven’t you realised that they effectively don’t take up any space at all, because they are DELETED if the user needs the space, OR if the space on the hard drive goes below a certain point?
  23. macrumors regular

    Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.01.20 PM.png

    you're missing the point that there are some users (like me) who have WAY more than just a little bit of these backups taking up unnecessary space.. here's a screenshot i JUST took after disabling Time Machine (will switch to manual backup option).. 460gb out of my 1TB being taken up by this uselessness.. frustrating when you bought the drives to UTILIZE the space they have! who woulda thought! lol

    Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.01.20 PM.png

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