Advanced Time Machine methodology?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Ruahrc, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I just recently got a new external HD which I intend to use to back up my Time Capsule hard drive. While doing so I got to wondering...

    Does anyone use a highly customized Time Machine backup strategy? Rather than the whole-disk set-it-and-forget-it, instead selectively choose specific folders that you want backed up, and let TM's automation handle the rest?

    I am thinking along the following: as you use OS X it (like virtually any OS) collects "junk". old plist files, old application support folders from old apps, etc. TM in its default state archives all of this along with the stuff you really care about.

    If a fatal crash should occur, it is convenient to tell TM to restore everything, but you also miss out on the opportunity to clean up your system as part of the restoration. I guess it's an old windows habit, but I have trained myself to keep a pretty lean machine as far as clutter goes. If I did not have TM, and had to reinstall everything, it would really only be a pretty small selection of applications, and then just restoring my documents/music folders. Stuff like System Preferences, mail account settings, etc. and such I can keep in the cloud with my MobileMe account, and can (theoretically) recover at any time just using my mobileme signin.

    This saves on HD space inside the time machine, as well as the potential to speed up TM backup sessions as it is only copying changed files in "important" folders as opposed to everywhere on the drive. In addition, if you have done something to mess up the system folders/files, TM is dutifully archiving those errors/problems by the hour as well. Doing a straight out restore of the system may just be putting back the problems that a fresh install of OS X would have fixed.

    Given that it does not take that long to install OS X anyways, it might be a more effective method to just back up a smaller number of important folders as opposed to entire drives with TM?

    What do you think

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    There's really no need to have any other methodology except set it and forget it. TM really doesn't have too many options, other then excluding folders and the folders you mentioned really don't amount to too much space.

    I just set it and go

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