Deleting old Time Machine backups from another Mac?

jent

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 31, 2010
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My entire family and I back up to a Time Capsule and it works great. I no longer live at home and when I visit I don't bring my old MacBook with me (which accounts for half a terabyte of backup data). Now that I'm on my new MacBook Air, what can I do to safely delete my old MacBook Time Machine backup on the family's Time Capsule? Thanks!
 

Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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While on the family network, just start Finder and click on Time Machine at the left, then look at the backup sets like I show in my screen cap. From the backup name and date figure out which one is for your machine. Then just select it and do command-delete to delete the file (it is actually a sparse bundle disk image). If it is a large file, it will take some time to delete. That's it.

 

jent

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 31, 2010
712
173
Weaselboy, thanks for the suggestion and screenshot! I just want to cautiously ask if that has the ability to corrupt anything on the Time Capsule or Time Machine backups for other family members. A few forums posts in the Apple Community Discussions board say to use the Terminal and not to do what you said, and I'm wondering why that might be.
 

Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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Weaselboy, thanks for the suggestion and screenshot! I just want to cautiously ask if that has the ability to corrupt anything on the Time Capsule or Time Machine backups for other family members. A few forums posts in the Apple Community Discussions board say to use the Terminal and not to do what you said, and I'm wondering why that might be.
Each backup set has its own sparse bundle like the two you see in my Finder window. One has nothing to do with the other and can safely be deleted. I have done it several time when I got new machines.

I think the terminal commands are talking about deleting older version of the same backup set?
 

jent

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 31, 2010
712
173
Should it take several hours to delete a Time Capsule Time Machine backup?
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
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California
Should it take several hours to delete a Time Capsule Time Machine backup?
It could. In your original post you said your Macbook TM backup is about 500GB? Last time I deleted about 25GB when I swapped MacBooks, I think it took 15-20 minutes or so. So with yours being much larger, I suppose a few hours could be required.

Did you turn off TM backups in your Macbook before you started this? Otherwise it might try to do a backup while you are deleting maybe and hang things up?
 

jent

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 31, 2010
712
173
It could. In your original post you said your Macbook TM backup is about 500GB? Last time I deleted about 25GB when I swapped MacBooks, I think it took 15-20 minutes or so. So with yours being much larger, I suppose a few hours could be required.

Did you turn off TM backups in your Macbook before you started this? Otherwise it might try to do a backup while you are deleting maybe and hang things up?
I got my MacBook, disabled Time Machine, it didn't delete the Time Machine backup, and even though I was not at my parents' home on their wifi, I was still able to remote start deleting (I have about 100GB left to delete which I'll do when I'm back from school).

On that note, could I theoretically back up to a Time Capsule on a different wifi network since I was able to delete a backup off one yesterday?
 
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