How long will deleteing Time Machine backups take?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Toebex, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. Toebex macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    #1
    Hey everyone,

    So recently I needed to delete a time machine backup of a harddrive i no longer use by opening Time Machine and selecting "Delete all backups of *drive name*" I did this about 1.5 hours ago now and the progress bar is still in a 'loading' phase (not frozen!)

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    I am attempting to delete backups of a drive which contained 700GB worth of files. Two questions really:

    1) Am I doing this the right way or should I delete every individual folder in the Time Machine drive for that hard drvie?

    2) How long does this take on average?

    Thanks again for the help everyone!
     
  2. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #2
    You're doing it right. In order to maintain the integrity of its internal database, Time Machine needs to handle the deletion of individual files/folders. Manipulating the folders inside the Backups.backupdb folder manually is a very bad thing to do.

    Considering the size of the drive in question, this will indeed take quite a while. There may be well more than 700 GB of backups of that 700 GB of data-- at least one full backup's worth, plus smaller incremental backups, scattered across countless folders. This will be an exercise in patience.
     
  3. Toebex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    #3
    Patience is something I have for these types of situations. Thank you for the fast and detailed reply! I'll let everyone know how it goes when I can :cool:
     
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #4
    Whether you did the right thing depends.

    If you backed up two hard drives, then you did exactly the right thing. The one hard drive will be removed from all the different versions that Time Machine has stored. It also takes a bit longer because Time Machine must be very, very, very carefully so if you lose power in the middle of this operation, no harm is done.

    If you backed up just one hard drive, and you wanted to wipe out your Time Machine backup completely, then you could have erased the whole Time Machine backup drive.

    Usually the feature "erase from all backups" is used to wipe out some secret document leaving no trace whatsoever.
     
  5. Toebex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    #5
    I backed up two and wanted to delete one, so that is good news! On average, how long should it take? 5 hours? 10? A day?
     
  6. Toebex thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    #6
    Ok, so using the "Delete all backups of *name of disk*" took about 7hours and 25 minutes. Well worth it though, thank you to everyone for your help!
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    Seems to me if you want to delete all the backups on a drive, isn't it easier just to re-initialize the drive using Disk Utility, and "start fresh" ???
     
  8. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #8
    In this case, the OP was backing up multiple separate drives and wanted to get rid of the backups of only one of those drives, keeping the other backup intact.
     

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