How to Delete SOME Time Machine Back-ups from External Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by erikaq, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. erikaq macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2014
    i had a 2T external drive connected to my imac. i was running time machine with back-ups going to the 2T drive. then, i ceased using the imac as my primary computer and plugged the 2T drive into my laptop just so i could access the files from the imac.

    then, the 2T drive broke. the information was saved and copied onto a 1T drive which is now connected to my laptop. i want to delete all but the most recent of the backups from the imac from the 1T drive. with only 1T i don't have enough space on the drive to use it for the things for which i really need it.

    i have seen the instructions for removing select back-ups via time machine. i can't do this as time machine doesn't recognize this drive and just wants to reformat it. what in the world can i do to get rid of all those daily back-up files but preserve the last one so i can access the files i need on my laptop??

    can anyone help me?
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Disk drives are dirt least compared to Macs. ;)

    Get a 3-4TB external drive for your library and a 4-6TB external drive for you TM backups. Don't try to use one drive to do both the library and TM backups. That would be having all your eggs in one basket.

    There should be good HDD and SDD sales before and during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale days.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    How was the data copied from the old 2TB drive to the newer 1TB drive? If you didn't use a sector-sector cloning type app you probably destroyed the iMac's backup file. If the files are not destroyed, the iMac should be able to read it. Your laptop won't be able to read but should be able to migrate the backup data to another drive.

    Otherwise you could open the backup file but it is very difficult to figure out what is safe to delete. I think you are just going to have to start with a fresh backup of the iMac.

    Sorry, copying TM Backups just doesn't work because of the linking structure, I think. TM looks for specific sector, and on the second drive the sectors aren't the same.... .
  4. erikaq thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2014
    coldcase, i hadn't even dug into the files that were 'saved' until your post. now that i look, most everything is there in name only. in other words, i've lost most of what was on the original damaged 2T drive. luckily, most of it is still on the imac so i can wipe this drive, do one back up, and then connect the drive to the laptop to have access to the files like i wanted to. i've lost some important data.... i feel sick.

    MCAsan, your suggestion is wise, but 'dirt cheap' for some is a small fortune to others. it is to me. would that i could solve this so easily. i would never have been relying on the single, gifted 2T drive in the first place. thank you for your suggestion, though.

    the best to you both. and thank you.
  5. priitv8, Nov 9, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014

    priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    I am quite sure, I've got one copied over to another drive. I used OS X command line cp but with specific option
    -p(reserve) Extended Attributes/ACL-s as well. -R(ecursion) through the full structure is given. And obviously the -v(erbose) option to see the full beauty of it :D
    There is one thing I can't say right now - this copy might transfer you all the backup folder, but it might create files instead of hard links at the destination. Meaning huge size increase and duplication of files.
    Then again, on second thought - copying the sparsebundle should be no different from any other file, because all TM finesse is wrapped inside the virtual filesystem of sparsebundle, no?
    To be honest, all my TM migrations must have been the sparsebundles, as I have only network backups in my ecosystem.
  6. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA

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