Fastest way to delete Time Machine backup folder?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Doc69, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #1
    I want to delete my time machine backup folder. I have other files on the disk and can not reformat. In the past, I have dragged the folder to the trash, and even though that worked, the process have sometimes taken hours, and on an old powerbook, it took more than 24h.

    Right now I'm trying the terminal command sudo rm -rf. My aim was to save time by bypassing the trash. But the process has been going on for about 30 min already, and I see "Operation not permitted" after many or most of the lines. Does anyone know what that means?

    What is the fastest way to just delete a time machine backup folder. Surely there must be a way of deleting a folder instantly, without the OS having to go through and verify every file?
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    "Trash" is just a front-end for rm, so you aren't saving any time there. That's your only option unless you reformat.
     
  3. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #3
    Completely wrong.

    rm doesn't put files in the Trash. It just removes them.

    Dragging files to the trash doesn't remove them. It is not until you empty trash that they are removed. Until then they are kept where they are and a note made in the TRASHES file.
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #4
    :rolleyes: Ok, you're right- I should have been more specific. Emptying the trash is a frontend for rm. Sorry, sometimes I expect too much from forum readers.
     
  5. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    #5
    Awful visions of someone using rm and wondering why the file wasn't in the Trash.
     
  6. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    #6
    Sticking sudo in front of it (as in sudo rm -Rf time_machine_backup_folder) should get rid of the permissions errors. Unless you are doing that already.
     
  7. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #7
    Maybe it's just faster to copy the files you want to keep to another disk, reformat the TM volume, and copy them back when done.
     
  8. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #8
    Thanks guys for your replies,

    I was on the phone with a level 2 Apple rep about 2.5h ago. He told me to change permissions on the Backup.backupdb folder before using the sudo rm -rf command. I told him that I was worried this procedure too would take hours. He said he thought it would take a couple of minutes and 30 min tops (2.4GHz Core2 duo MBP). Here we are 2.5h later and it's still applying privileges... I'm wondering how long this could take.

    Before I called Apple I went into the Time Machine app and selected several large folders one by one and chose "Delete all backups for this folder". That freed up about 250GB. I thought that by doing that, there would be fewer files in the Backup.backupdb folder, so it would be quicker to delete. So I'm surprised that applying privileges to the folder is taking so long. Hopefully it will be done soon and deleting the folder won't take as long (but it probably will).

    Apple seriously need to implement a quick way of deleting this folder from within Time Machine. I've already spent 4h today on this and I'm far from done. It shouldn't have to be that way.
     
  9. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #9
    Sure, that would be the ideal way. But as I have almost 1.5TB of additional data on the drive (2TB Drive), that would take a few hours over USB as well.
     
  10. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #10
    I did use the sudo command, but it didn't seem to help as I got the message "Operation not permitted" on almost every line.
     

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