Help restoring/deleting TM backups

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ab2844, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. ab2844 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2010
    Hi, I'm sort of stuck. I've read a dozen forums but none of them deal with my case.

    I needed to delete one folder from 4 back up days in time machine. It wouldn't let me delete just the one folder because it kept saying that I can't modify backed up items. I ended up putting all 4 back up days in the trash (which required my putting in a password). When it prepared to empty I saw there were over 60,000 items and I got scared that something important might be in them. Now, the 4 particular days are not that recent, and not that old. About midway through all my back up days.

    If I delete all 4 of them, will the data in the back ups before or after those days change? Will it affect any of the data I have now?

    I've also tried removing them from the trash and putting them back in time machine after I chickened out. It wouldn't let me do that because it once again said that I can't modify backed up files. When I pressed authenticate to put in my password, I got another error message that said I can't do it.

    So if I can't empty the trash and I can't put the files back, what do I do?

    This is all because of one folder that happens to appear in 4 back up days. My ideal scenario would be to put back those 4 days where they belong in time machine, and remove just the one folder from those days.

    Appreciate the help =]
  2. Laurencia7 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    wow--confused. So you don't want the files, but you didn't erase them?
    Eventually the files will be deleted by time machine after so many backups depending on your size of HD.

    I would go through each folder and select the things you don't want and delete them individually. That way you know what you are deleting.
  3. ab2844 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2010
    I would do that, only all 4 folders are in the trash now. In order to delete some parts of them but not the others, I have to take them out of the trash, which it won't let me do. Well - it won't let me put them back in Time Machine. I can put them back on my desktop, but there are over 60,000 files so that would be bad lol
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    Your TM backups before the first date you deleted are safe.

    However, the integrity of everything else is now compromised. It's never a good idea to delete individual files in an incremental scheme like Time Machine, as future revisions of files and folders often depend on the contents of previous backups. This is why OS X prevents such editing of Time Machine backups.

    There will be no easy way to get those four days, minus the files you originally meant to delete, back into your Time Machine safely.

    My suggestion:
    1. Turn Time Machine off (temporarily).
    2. Move those unwanted files to a new folder on your desktop; the rest can go into another new folder, which you can move into your Documents.
    3. Exclude that unwanted folder in Time Machine Preferences.
    4. Go to Time Machine and select Back Up Now. This will back up everything not excluded.
    5. Now, trash the Unwanted folder and empty the trash.
    6. Turn Time Machine back on.

    You will be left with the contents of the "wanted" files in your Documents and in the newest Time Machine backup. You can now safely delete the "wanted" folder from your Documents, as it is now duplicated in the newest TM backup. Use this newest backup date or later if you need to restore.

    In the future, keep "sensitive" items in a folder that is excluded from Time Machine.
  5. ab2844 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2010

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