Can someone explain time machine to me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Soulweaponry, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Soulweaponry macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2010
    I feel so stupid for asking this because it should probably be more obvious and I'm just not picking it up. I googled all over the place and read about it, but i just can't wrap my brain around it.

    I know time machine is to back up your entire system. Does it basically mirror exactly how your machine is at one time? The backups are what i don't understand. The way i backed up stuff on my windows pc was so basic. I just hooked up the external drive and dragged my music/videos over and let it overwrite with the new folders. And if there was anything i didn't want backed up, i deleted it.

    The part that confuses me about time machine's backups is...What if i have a lot of stuff on my macbook right now and i back it up. Then i delete a bunch of stuff i don't like on the macbook. But with external hard drive back up, now, theres a bunch of stuff i don't want on it. When i back up my macbook again, does that change the old stuff or is that like a separate "event" type thing? And if there was stuff in the 1st backup i don't want taking up space, can i go to it and delete it?

    Goddamn i feel like I'm complicating something that should be simple. I haven't done a backup yet because the drive i have isn't formatted to mac's specs, so if i want to back anything up i have to format it and erase all the important stuff thats already on it and i just can't do that
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    A little bit. This should help:
    Time Machine
    Mac 101: Time Machine
    If you prefer to make a bootable clone of your hard drive, I recommend Carbon Copy Cloner.
  3. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2011
    By default, TimeMachine will do a backup of your entire drive every hour, but you can customize and select what files you want excluded. Everything is done automatically, you don't need to touch a thing.

    Your first backup typically copies all your files into a second harddrive. But subsequent backups are just records of the changes to the files you have. So if you accidentally deleted a file at a certain time, all you got to do is TimeMachine back to earlier than that to retrieve the deleted file. Simple as that.
  4. taedouni macrumors 65816

    Jun 7, 2011
    Time Machine in simple terms, allows your Mac to revert to an earlier time. Lets say that you want to roll back 1 hour (lets say you messed something up or replaced your Mac with a replacement one).
  5. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario
    rent back to the future, it will explain everything
  6. chuges macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2011
    it duplicates literally every aspect of your computer at the time of backing up, but keeps all the history versions too. If you delete files on your computer and then use time machine, it will save your current state (without those files) but will still have those deleted files in its history.

    Thus, if you enter TM or restore from it, the backup it shows/uses will be the latest one without those files. However, you will be able to zoom back through the TM history and access those deleted files in the state they were in when you backed your computer up at that point. Doing it this way takes up more space on your external, but allows a perfect restore at any point in your TM history in the event of an accidental deletion or unforeseen tragedy.

    If your HD runs out of space, you can select backup histories to delete. If the "deleted" files were in that certain backup and no others, then that data + space will be permanently deleted. I think TM also automatically deletes backups starting with the oldest version if it knows you don't have any space left.

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