Pruning Time Machine Backups

Discussion in 'macOS' started by blufrog, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. blufrog macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    #1
    Hi,

    My backups are becoming crazy in size, unnecessarily. My backups are now double the size of the entire drive, which is rather nuts IMHO.

    Is there a way to prune Time Machine so only the last version of any file that ever existed is kept?

    Example:

    I create 3 files in January 1990, A, B, and C. I delete A in Feb, B in March, and C in April. Meanwhile, TM has maybe 50 copies of these files because I edited them regularly.

    Is there any way I can clear out all the copies and keep the last version before I deleted them? I want to do this for the entire backup.

    I hope my question makes sense. This way, TM can remain useful, but without the crazy excesses.

    I know TM is only supposed to keep certain data for a while, but the fact I have 160 Gb of data on my hard disk total, and 400 Gb in backups, is silly. I don't need all of it.
     
  2. Fishrrman, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018

    Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    Fishrrman's "nuke 'em!" suggestion:

    Erase the backup drive using Disk Utility, then... start over.
    Works when nothing else does... ;)

    My personal advice:
    STOP using Time Machine, and try CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper instead.
    Both are free to download and try for 30 days.
     
  3. blufrog thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    #3
    I had already considered nuking it and starting over! :D I think I'll do that.
     
  4. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Highly recommend this. Anything else will result in an endless wait as it counts the files to delete even if you do instant delete. Just wipe the disk, or get a new one, and start a new time machine backup.

    Like the poster I quoted, HIGHLY recommend Carbon Copy Cloner. I much prefer it to Time Machine but I use both on two different drives. Love how you can deal with the time machine snapshots with CCC on the main drive.
     
  5. blufrog thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    #5
    Is just deleting the backups folder for TM sufficient (after disabling/removing the TM drive from TM itself)?
     
  6. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #6
    Have to remove the drive from TM itself. Then because it would take an eternity to delete the TM backups on the drive, highly recommended you just format the drive in Drive Utility.
     

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5 December 1, 2018