How to view ACTUAL Time Machine changes...

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by martinmartin, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. martinmartin macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Is there a way to view files that Time Machine is actually updating?

    For example, I backed up yesterday before leaving work, and when I came into work, Time Machine said it was backing up 800+MB.

    I have no idea why it would be backing up 800+MB when I haven't done much on my computer in between yesterday and today.

    I do have Parallels and Entourage and those files/databases are already listed on my 'Do not backup' list...

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    You can look into the backup folders on the drive and see the files.
  3. martinmartin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Thanks, but unless I'm misunderstanding, looking into the backup folders on the drive just basically shows me all of the content on my computer - not what the 800mb of recent backups consisted of...
  4. OMG! iPhonez! macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2009
    I don't quite get Time Machine. After writing a simple page of HTML/CSS in a text editor for about an hour, Time Machine decided it needed to back up all 12.3 GB of it.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Look at the specific folder that was created on your external drive. Not just the recent backup folder. The dated folder should only have what was changed.
  6. martinmartin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Now I think I'm definitely confused - please see the attached picture - which folder should I look at? If I click on any one of these, it takes me to 'MacBook Pro HD' and if i click that, it shows me 'Applications, Developer, Library, Systems, Users, etc' (basically everything on my computer I think).


    Attached Files:

  7. evilgreg macrumors regular


    Aug 13, 2007
    It's probably podcasts that downloaded within iTunes.
  8. PeggyD macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2007
    Covington, WA, USA
  9. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    That looks like it just reads the system logs, which are available just viewing the console.

    I'm guessing the OP wants to view which files actually change. I think Time Tracker does that, but it's in early stages.
  10. martinmartin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    You are right.

    Time Machine just kicked in again...506MB! I really wish I knew what it was doing...

    I'll give Time Tracker a shot, but like you said, it looks pretty bare.
  11. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    I have similar 'issues'. I say 'issues', because I don't let it bother me. It's my backup harddrive, so I just let it do what needs to be done.

    I narrowed down one area that may be causing huge backups (ie. 1GB in the span of a few minutes between backups) - iPhoto. I backed up, opened iPhoto added like a couple photos, then closed and backed up again. 1GB. I think certain database files/folders are read as one large one so changes are re-backed up. Remember, Time Machine doesn't parse out changes within a file - if a file is changed, it backs it up again, I believe. For example, filename change? Re-backup.

    I don't mind. It's the only way to be sure!
  12. martinmartin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007

    that's a good point - i did do a lot of cropping in iphoto around this time period - maybe that's where all of the backups are coming from...

    thanks for the idea
  13. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    I've since downloaded TimeTracker to check. If you have a lot of photos - I have over 20,000 - then it's definitely the culprit. There're a couple of files within the iPhoto Library called and or something like that. At a guess, they store all the small thumbnail images for fast viewing, as these are like 200 and 400MB each. You can bet that if they did store thumbnail data that every time you imported new pictures, they would record the thumbnails in there, causing the file to change, and thus be backed up again. TimeTracker indicates that these files are the largest to change after an import to iPhoto.
  14. michaelant macrumors regular


    Apr 8, 2006
    I haven't tried TimeTracker, but I just downloaded BackupLoupe and it seems to be doing exactly what you asked for in your initial question.

    if it works for you, throw him some money like I'm going to. it lists your changed files that got backed up, in column view, sorted by size, so it's really easy to see what's going on. no, I don't know this guy, it just seems to be very well done.

    I discovered that because I changed the name of a folder that had 7 GB of music in it, it got backed up again. so now I can go into time machine and remove the backup of that folder when it had its old name, and reclaim my 7 GB on the external drive.

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