Can't delete Time Machine backups..external HDD is full!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ebelp, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. ebelp macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Here's my setup:
    Powerbook G4, 10.5.4, WD My Passport 160gb external hdd.

    I did a bunch of searching and it seems that I have a unique problem. My external hdd is almost full from all of the backups that Time Machine has saved. So when I tried to delete some of the old backups (entering Time Machine, selecting the backup, click the gear icon, and choosing to delete that backup), after I enter my admin password to confirm the deletion, the backups disappear from Time Machine, however, the backup files are still on the external hdd. They never get deleted. Therefore, my external hdd is still full.

    So I took another route and simply deleted the folder off my external hdd that had all backup files, through the Finder. Now they don't appear on my external hdd, however, when I "Get Info" the storage space has not changed, it is still very close to capacity.

    Does anyone know what's causing this, or should I just reformat the drive and start over?
  2. adversecamber macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2008
    Why delete them?

    Time Machine will delete the oldest back-ups as necessary when the drive is full.

    And when you deleted the files, did you then empty your trash? If you didn't, the data is still accountable.
  3. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020


    May 7, 2003
    Saint Augustine, FL
    I believe the situation he's in is that he was backing up to a non-partitioned disk and time machine grew to take up all the free space, removing any space he could use for other stuff.

    Always TM to a partitioned disk.
  4. adversecamber macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2008
    Ah yes, good point. Personally, I have two external drives - one for TM and one for other rubbish and a periodical drag-and-drop of my entire Home folder.

    When I got my new MBP a couple of months ago, I ran a 'test' and tried to restore the whole thing from TM and all sorts of bits were missed. Namely all my emails and two of my iCal calendars. It kind of shook my confidence in TM and having a HDD fail on me in the past has shaken my confidence in backing-up onto one drive.

    There we go. I'm done.
  5. ebelp thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Well Time Machine eventually started giving me an error and would not perform any new backups: "Unable to complete backup. An error occured while creating the backup directory."

    I assumed this was because there was not enough space on the external hdd to create any more backups, which is why I was trying to delete some of the existing ones.
  6. ebelp thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Ahh...okay, you are correct. My external drive is not partitioned, so I guess I know what my problem is now. I will reformat/partition the hdd and try again, thanks.

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