Finding hidden "locked" files after emptying trash

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Leeannimal, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Leeannimal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #1
    So I'm trying to delete duplicate copies of my TimeMachine back-ups on an external hard drive (WD 1T Passport) in order to free up space. I put several of the back-ups in the trash (maybe 8 or so) and tried to "empty the trash".

    The computer processed a long time, counting the files etc., then I got a pop up window that alerted me that some of the files were "locked". Never having seen this before I was concerned and chose "delete only unlocked files". Bad move apparently.

    Now the external hard drive had no space freed up, and I can no longer find those files in the trash. Yes, I've rebooted, removed the hard drive etc. etc., but the files cannot be seen on that drive, and there is NO space freed up.

    Anybody know how to find those "locked" files on an external hard drive after an empty cycle had been attempted and they were bypassed?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. firestarter, Feb 13, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011

    firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #2
    You can't free up time machine space like that.

    Time Machine doesn't have any duplicates! It only stores files once, and then each day creates links to files which haven't changed. So although each new backup looks like it's a whole load of new files, taking space up - it actually isn't.

    If you delete a day, you're just deleting a load of links - which effectively takes a tiny amount of space. There may be a few real files in there (if that file was only seen in that particular backup) - but in general you're wasting your time.

    How big is the disk that this is backing up from? How much space do you think the backup is using?
     
  3. Leeannimal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #3
    My MacBook hard drive is 320 gigs. The external is 1T.

    I hear what you are saying about the links etc. Time Machine backs up every hour when I have the hard drive plugged in. It's kind of maddening. These duplicates I'm trying to delete are only an hour apart from another copy, with no new work or changes in my files. Now I usually only run the back-up when I get the message every 10 days or so.

    Being a photo/video artist, I am constantly adding new material to my work and hard drives. Right now I'm in this vicious cycle of backing up and removing to create new space on my computer and hard drive, only to fill it again quickly. I always back up images and video to DVDs as well.

    So as for the original question about finding hidden "locked" items that have been put in the trash, any idea on that? Thanks so much for your time!
     
  4. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #4
    Don't worry about the locked items in the trash. They're gone now.

    If you're constantly cycling files on your main drive, and you have copies of these backed up elsewhere, then go to the TimeMachine preferences and take this directory out of your time machine backup. That's the only way you're going to stop it from growing out of control.

    This is what I do. For me, TimeMachine backs up my setup, emails, small documents etc. (stuff that it's annoying to keep backing up manually). Larger media files I do back up manually, and I keep out of TimeMachine.

    You might want to partition your 1TB disk (say into two) and only have TimeMachine back up into a smaller space. This way, it will kill older files to stay within space.
     
  5. Leeannimal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #5
    Thanks for that advise about what TimeMachine backs up and to partition my drive. Both great ideas to help me fix some of the space control problems in my life.

    However the locked items are not gone, for sure. I chose NOT to delete them when emptying the trash, and no new space was created on the drive.
     
  6. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #6
    They were just links - so they effectively took no space.

    The way these 'hard links' work on the Mac, is that each backup links to the same files (if they're unchanged). There are therefore lots of links pointing at the same file. The file itself will ONLY be deleted if ALL the links to it are removed. So, removing a few backups (as you did) will effectively do nothing. You would need to delete every backup that links to the data for the data itself to go.

    These locked links (they were probably in use, so couldn't be deleted) were cleared by the OS when you restarted.

    Personally, if I were you I'd make a really good independent backup of everything (use SuperDuper!) or suchlike. Then re-partition the 1TB drive (which will clear it) and start again with fresh TimeMachine options to leave your media files from the backup.
     

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