Clearing info off Time Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by robitusson, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. robitusson macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2009
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    Thailand
    #1
    I used the time machine for a while to back things up. I hate using it and I can't retrieve things easily. I can never find anything on it. So now I want to clear the external hard-drive that everything's stored on and just back up things my own way.

    So here's my question: how do I get all the information and files and everything off the external hard-drive stored elsewhere and clear the whole thing?

    Is there an easier way to do this apart from individually going through each time machine date and clearing things off manually?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Ivan P macrumors 68030

    Ivan P

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    #2
    Open Disk Utility (Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility), select the drive that the Time Machine backups are stored on and press "Erase". It'll do exactly what it says :)
     
  3. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks very much. I will do that when I'm finished.

    But I want to get the data off first. Is there a way of getting all the data off in one swoop?
     
  4. benzslrpee macrumors 6502

    benzslrpee

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    #4
    get the data off? can't you just get into the backup drive and copy the folders you see into another drive?
     
  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #5
    in the time machine backup image (or folder), there is a shortcut (folder has an arrow on it) to the latest backup. you can open taht folder and be ensured that all the files/folders from there are the most up-to-date data.

    i would provide screen shots, but my Time Capsule is currently broken :(
     
  6. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    There are different files on each back up. I backed up to the external once a week while I used it. After I'd back up I'd delete the files off the computer hard drive because they were on the external. So now I have about 15 weeks of back-ups with different files on each back up. It's a nightmare finding something so I want to get the whole lot off the external and wipe it.
     
  7. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #7
    haha uh oh thats a bit silly. not sure what to do :\
     
  8. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I am certainly never going to use time machine again. ;)
     
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #9
    thats your call.. i have had a wonderful experience with TM
     
  10. Killerbob macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 25, 2008
    #10
    Hi,

    The only things that messed up the functionality of TM was your own actions, sorry:rolleyes:

    KB
     
  11. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 27, 2009
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    #11
    Too true.

    Obviously it's strictly only a back up facility. What I would do from now on is just drag important files I want to back up onto an external hard-drive every week. That way you can just plug in the hard-drive when you want to find something and there it is.

    With TM I never know what week something was saved so it's a pain in the neck to find. I don't know how it's supposed to be used as they intended but it doesn't seem to suit.

    Thanks for the help all.

    Still if anyone knows how to get the data off without opening every backup day and removing it manually please let me know.
     
  12. Cinematographer macrumors 6502a

    Cinematographer

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    #12
    Or you could read the support pages and use TM as it is meant to be used. Actually, it works really great. ;)
     
  13. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Possibly in future. It doesn't help me get what I want off it for now though.
     
  14. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

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    Near London, UK.
    #14
    That's stretching the definition of backup so far it breaks :eek:

    That's not 'back up' that's moving files to a different drive. If that's all you want to do, you should realise that (1) they aren't backed up any more than the initial file was, and (2) you broke TM by messing with it like that so its no wonder you don't like it ! To recover the files you want you'll just have to browse through the backups with finder and copy any you like the look of. Nothing to do with any TM deficiencies any more than if you'd taken a sledgehammer to your car engine and now were complaining it wont run properly !

    FWIW there is a third party app you can use that (so that article says) which gives you a lot more info about exact dates and durations of TM files down to individual level, never used it but might be worth looking at? Though probably not on your randomly corrupted TM backups.

    For future use, just be aware you aren't doing backups, you are just moving files to different media, a different thing entirely. Though, how on earth you are going to find one file you copied at some point in the past, when you can't even use TM to click on a specific date on the right hand side of the screen and then see the exact date and time emblazoned in large letters at the bottom of the screen, is beyond me :D
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G4

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    "I am certainly never going to use time machine again"

    Get CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

    Either can produce fully-bootable backups that are a mirror-image of your source volume.

    Far, far superior to Time Machine.
     
  16. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

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    #16
    In what respect? Lets say, I edited a file 3 times. How am I going to recover the middle one of those images from a single CCC backup? Oh, I cant.
    Or, maybe, I do a CCC backup every week (or even, every night,and how many people do that?). Late day, I have a HD failure. How can I recover everything that changed since my last backup? Oh, I can't.

    Each type of backup has their own pros and cons, but to say that CCC is 'far superior' with no qualification, is plainly ridiculous.
     
  17. Jackyl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    #17
    Clear hard drive

    Just open disk utilities, highlight the External hard drive and click erase. Zoom. the disk's erased and in new condition.
     
  18. DaveF macrumors 6502a

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    NoVA
    #18
    They are an excellent complement to Time Machine. They do quite different jobs so it's simply mismatched to say one solution is better than the other.

    I use TimeMachine as is to copy changed files every hour. This is useful if I accidently delete an email or screw up a work-in-progress: I can easily go back in time (so to speak) and recover that one file from an hour, or a day, or a week, ago.

    I also use SuperDuper! to make a weekly clone of my harddrive. This is a bootdisk in case of catastrophic failure of my harddrive. It's completely overwritten each week, and only weekly, so it's no useful for overcoming my own minor errors. But as a bootable system, it provides a faster and easier safety net for major problems (or OS X upgrades) than Time Machine does.

    I also have a daily online backup for key data files. If, say, my house were to burn down, both the SuperDuper! and Time Machine backups would be lost. The off-site backup via Mozy protects critical data against ultimate catastrophe. But it's too slow and too limited to provide a complete recovery system and too infrequent to give short-term recovery like Time Machine. So it complements the other two.

    Using a variety of backup tools per their design and intentions gives robust data safety for both fast, major, and monumental failures.

    As for the OP: I simply don't understand how he was using Time Machine nor what he wants to recover from it. Time Machine is a snapshot of the hard drive. Clone the hard drive and you have TimeMachine's latest backup.

    If he wants the incremental backups from TimeMachine, then he has them: they're there in the TimeMachine archive. Unplug the drive and set it aside. Or clone it to another drive (with SuperDuper or CCC). But without TimeMachine to parse the data structures, it's pretty useless. And since he seems to want to never use TimeMachine again, why keep it?
     
  19. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    It's my fault, I know it. I just thought that files would be a lot easier to find when they were saved.
     
  20. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    That's what I want. Thanks for the advice.
     
  21. robitusson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    I want to clear the data off each incremental backup. Each back up contains a lot of data.

    I was looking for a way to take all the data off the time machine in one go, rather than going through each incremental backup clearing everything off manually from each.
     
  22. DaveF macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 29, 2007
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    NoVA
    #22
    Ah, so you just want to use SuperDuper! (or other) to clone the TimeMachine backup to some other drive? It's easy. Plug in the other drive and use SD! or CCC to clone from one to the other. Then use Disk Utility to erase your original drive and use as desired.
     
  23. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #23
    You have no concept of how TM works. Each backup doesn't contain a lot of data unless that data has been modified. TM just save references to the original backup until it's been changed, then it updates the backup with the new file. You still have access to the older file as well as the new one.

    The best way to see when backup were done for a particular file is to navigate to the file, open your window to column view, then hit the time machine icon. Then you can click through each window and see the modification dates as you go back in time. Frankly, it's really a no-brainer so I don't see what your problem is.

    With Superduper! and CCC, you'll have to run backups of the selected drive and it will copy files that have changed. The trouble is if you have to retrieve a certain file created at a certain date or time. Good luck doing that. The ideal situation is to use TM and Superduper! side-by-side. That's what I do.
     
  24. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    #24
    First off DaveF that is an excellent explanation and example of a good backup strategy and it's what I would recommend to others. I've mentioned a similar strategy in a past thread but it's nice that you took the time to write it all down. Complementing each other is the right word because each backup method alone has its flaws.

    I think I understand what the OP mistakenly thought how he could use Time Machine. It seems that he thought he could simply delete files on his computer and assumed that TM would always keep a copy of those files. He's not using TM as strictly a backup system but also as a storage for files no longer on his computer.

    This is a big mistake because TM will eventually delete older timeline backups when the hard drive it's using becomes full. TM is not meant for people who are trying to move their files to a different hard drive for storage.
     

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