HUGE Time Machine screw up

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by knew2mack, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. knew2mack macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #1
    ok everyone, before you laugh yr a$$ off and say to yourself what an idiot mistake, (hopefully recoverable).....I have a 120 GB external device (hard drive??) that I've been doing my backups with....not knowing, being ignorant & not learning EVERYTHING that I SHOULD have done, every time I did one, I just did the entire contents of the computer. (Was always wondering if there was a way to only do certain things, such as iPhoto, for example-taking lots of pics for candle biz daily --- but never asked - yeah, pretty stoooopiddddd)

    Anyhow, so I go to do one earlier today and there isn't enough room, so I started to delete other ones, knowing that not much had changed (and just this second, I'm realizing that one HUGE change was an upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard - did I screw myself even worse??)

    After deleting a couple of the older ones, I thought that it'd DEFINITELY leave me with more room to be able to save it all - then before my eyes, I see that it says, 'deleting other backups' or whatever they call it - so now - NOW all I have is a failed backup from just a little while ago, time machine STILL says that all I have left on time machine is 11.1GB of 119.69 (see screen shot below) - when I open time machine from the dock, and it brings up what looks like pages behind currently viewing page (best description) there are NONE behind the current one.

    I am so confused - have absolutely no idea what to do next, still have external hd plugged in, went ahead and stuck a flash drive in to 'hopefully' transfer images to - that's another screenshot - when I go back & it allows me to view someting from 'last week' there are so many 'folders' that look like....hard to describe with my limited knowledge, screenshot below and it will not allow me to open it

    ANY SUGGESTIONS --- PLEASE!!!!!


    I'M thinking that if all of the older backups are gone, why isn't there more space on the HD than the 11.1 it's saying???

    what to do - I'm in HIGH ALERT mode with flash drive and HD attached not doing anything until I hear from someone - anyone that can hold my hand thru this process of saving it!! PLEASE and THANK YOU
     

    Attached Files:

  2. tug macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #2
    why are you freaking out friend?:eek:
    do you need anything that you deleted? you don't say if you need to use backups for any reason.
    if you don't need anything from your b/ups don't worry.
    your macs working o.k. right?
    besides you haven't lost anything, go into ext from finder open your 'backupsdb' folder and choose an earlier date folder and its all there.
    that is whats using all the memory.
     
  3. knew2mack thread starter macrumors regular

    knew2mack

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Beach
    #3
    Ok, thank you....

    so if I have, in fact, deleted all of my old back ups, why does the 'available free space' say there is only 11.1 left on the external hard drive?? I just would like to do a complete back up so I can delete some stuff off of the computer - open up some space.

    I have LOTS of photos, which I put some of them on a flash drive, and lots of documents (ebooks) and stuff that I could just put onto a flash drive for future necessity..... I don't have the $$ to buy any more memory - or more external hard drives - so I'm guessing removing stuff from the computer is the best way to free up some space.

    There have been others out there that have suggested that it may be running a little slow because of having so much stuff on it and making more space should help it. I'm not experienced enough with disk utilities, cache cleaner and other things that I have right here on my computer to know how to free up some space either.

    Any help is much appreciated and thanks for getting back to me.

    Oh, to answer your question, is my mac working alright - yes & no - ever since I installed/upgraded to Snow Leopard, using Safari is close to impossible and I'm even noticing that I'm getting that beach ball more than ever on Firefox too..... so as I said, yes & no -


    again, thank you and hold my hand thru any process you suggest - PLEASE!!!

    peace
     
  4. tug macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #4
    ok. this is what i would do if i were you (i have done this myself)

    in the finder sidebar you should see your external hd.

    go into it, there you should see a folder called backups.backupdb.

    open it, now you should see all your backup files,

    now its entirely up to you, but you can delete as many of the files as you wish. what i did was leave only this months b/ups left in the b/up folder.

    this free's up GBs of space from your ext. (mine is a 1tb ext. and it saved me @240gb of space by deleting about 20 files only)

    now don't worry, whatever is on the deleted files will also be in the kept files.

    these are the files that are hogging your ext. that is why it is telling you that you have only 11.1 gb left.
     
  5. tug macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #5
    oh and also, just to explain, you have deleted the b/ups from your time machine, not you ext.hd thats why it shows only a few b/ups when viewing in t/m. when you have sorted this out, if you want, we could then give you a bit of advice on how to free some space up on you internal hdd.

    don't worry everything is fine :)
     
  6. efurtado macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #6
    Hi! I am also backing up stuff to Time Machine so I can free up space on my computer. I bought a Seagate 500 GB GoFlex external hard drive. When I plugged it my computer, the computer asked me if I wanted to use Time Machine. I said yes and it is loading right now. No problems yet (although I really don't know what I am doing!) and am going with the flow for now. Once everything is backed up, will I be able to delete my pictures (not in iPhoto, just in a folder on my desktop, I have an iMac) and videos to free up space on the computer? Thanks!:D
     
  7. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #7
    No, no you can't. You throw it in the trash, and it fails to empty trash. Time Machine backups have strange permissions (at least on 10.6). I've yet to find a way to completely delete an entire Time Machine backup. If you find yourself in this position, the only way out is to format the drive.

    Absolutely do not manually try to delete anything from the Time Machine backup.backupdb folder. It will fail, and then you have a broken backup.


    The reason it says you only have 11GB free is because the backups you tried to delete are stuck in the trash. You can try to empty the trash, but if that fails, you'll be left with formatting your Time Machine volume and starting over.

    Time Machine will delete old backups automatically to free up space.

    ----------

    This is not the purpose of Time Machine. You will lose data doing this.
     
  8. minifridge1138, Oct 28, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011

    minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    #8
    A few things...

    1) How Time Machine Works.
    Time Machine copies most (but not all) of your files from your "regular" hard drive to the backup hard drive. It doesn't copy OS files, or system libraries. It's mostly your personal files and programs that you install. That means you can't boot from a backup because it doesn't have an operating system.

    Let's say you write the first draft of you pullitzer prize winning novel "My pet cat and me" and save it. The first time it is saved to the back up, it is saved as "My pet cat and me".
    Your editor says people prefer dogs, so you rewrite the novel and get "My pet dog and me".

    The 2nd backup doesn't save "My pet dog and me". It saves "cat"="dog". This saves space. Instead of saving a 2nd copy of the file it just saves a list of changes.

    Even though it only saves the first version of files and then changes, the drive will eventually get full. It will do 1 of 2 things: it will tell you to get a bigger hard drive and try again OR it will get the first version of the file, apply the changes from version 2, and then delete the changes. This frees up space.

    This is why TimeMachine runs for a long time (hours?) the first time you do a backup, but runs quickly (seconds or minutes) after that. Considering the number of files on a computer, very few of them change hourly.

    2) Is it safe to delete backups?
    Simple answer: Yes. Deleting the backups doesn't delete the files from your regular hard drive.
    Complex answer: Maybe. If you had a file, backed it up, and then deleted the original file, then the only copy is in the backup. If you delete the backup, then the file is gone. Forever. This may be fine. If you deleted the original file 2 years ago, it's very unlikely you'll need to restore it.

    3) Fixing time machine.
    I have never had any luck 'fixing' a time machine backup. Mine got corrupted when I upgraded to Lion. The only fix i've found is to re-format the hard drive (bye-bye all backups) and the recreate the time machine backup.

    You can contact Apple, search the web, and ask questions here if you want another fix.

    4) Time Machine will not work to save space. It only keeps backups for so long before it deletes them. DO NOT USE IT AS A WAY TO FREE UP SPACE ON YOUR COMPUTER. If you need space, buy an external drive or replace your internal drive with a larger one.
     
  9. tug macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #10
     
  10. tug macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #11
    yes. to do this to free space on your internal hdd,
    go into finder, find your folders containing pics/videos, drag them to your external that is mounted in the finder sidebar, then delete them from where they were situated. then launch them from ext. they will be back on you desktop, and no longer taking space up on your int. hdd. empty trash.

    this can also be done with any app/folders that was not included in the original o.s

    now whenever you open these folders they will launch from the ext. not your int.

    the only thing with this setup is, using a laptop, if you need the said folders, you will need to load them back on your int. hdd to take them with you.
     
  11. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #12
    It's not perfectly safe to do this. I've seen enough broken Time Machine backups to know this. You can delete backups through the Time Machine interface itself, but you're asking for trouble if you throw it in the trash.

    ----------

    There are a few things wrong about this. First, Time Machine will store a copy of your OS unless you tell it not to. Second, Time Machine stores full copies of files. It does not store diffs, as they are called. It does use hard links and directory hard links, but if a file is changed, it stores a full copy of that file. This is why it's a bad idea to have virtual machines inside a Time Machine backup.
     
  12. tug macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #13
    i can't understand why you think that by putting the b/up files in the trash it would cause problems.
    i have done this multiples of times without a single problem.
    perhaps you are doing something wrong my friend.
     
  13. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    #14
    I'm not the one doing it. My customers are doing it. By the time it gets to me, it can't be moved back into place, and no amount of emptying trash, rm -fr, removing attributes, removing ACLs, makes it so that it can be deleted. Maybe they are doing something wrong, but there IS a proper interface in Time Machine itself. If throwing it in the trash fails for anyone, then it's risky, no matter how many other people say it works for them.
     
  14. tug, Oct 31, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011

    tug macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #15
    hi mate,
    i wonder, we might have our wires crossed a little here, are we talking sparse bundle as opposed to backupdb file?
    i know sparse bundles should never be trashed, when i was using apples time capsule (base extreme) and a bit inexperienced, i tried to trash an annoying s/bundle file and ended up reformatting after weeks of the posted troubles.

    the files i don't have any problem deleting are not in the time machine framework, they are in the ext. drive. accessible through the ext. drive mounted in finder.

    sorry for any confusion my friend.
     

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