Put Time Machine Backups in the Trash - Am I Screwed?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by currins, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. currins macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2010
    Thanks for reading.

    OK, so I did something incredibly stupid. I was having trouble with Time Machine, so I put some old-backups and In Progress backups in the Trash through Finder.

    I now realize that was the WRONG thing to do because I can't delete them or put them back.

    I'm on a 2011 MBP, just updated to the 10.6.8 Supplement.

    I've tried the following:

    Holding down Alt/Option when I empty trash (just prepares ungodly amount of files for deletion and then hangs)
    Trash It (just stalls on unlocking volume, progress bar never moves)
    OnyX (Looked like it was going to work, but progress bar is now hung up)
    Terminal Commands (number E6) from this link http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/Troubleshooting.html

    Nothing seems to be working. If I eject the external drive, the trash items go away, once I plug it back in, they come back.

    I've kept the drive plugged in throughout the trouble-shooting above (otherwise, there's nothing in the trash).

    Would deleting the TM partition work? Keep in mind, I have other things on the drive that I can't move to the MBP drive (only 128 GB SSD). And I have no idea if I have a partition just for TM. How do I check that?

    Any help would be greatly appreciate. As you can tell above, I searched all morning before starting a new Topic. Just haven't had any luck!
  2. Ronnoco macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    United States of America
    Have you tried opening the backups folder and highlighting half of them, then dragging those back to a new folder on the backup drive...then try deleting the remaing folders in the trash? I did this once before and IIRC, this is how I was able to delete the incredibly large files (although it STILL took a LONG TIME to delete)...
  3. currins thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2010
  4. podsorcerer09 macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    That link is broken so I'll describe it here because I had to do this last weekend. Files from your backups that you've deleted are stored in /Volumes/[your drive]/.Trashes/[a number]. When the drive is plugged in you're going to use the
    command to get rid of them. Depending on how much is in the trash it could take a while, so just run it and let it sit.

    I used a few flags on the command to make sure that it would just run -r makes it recursive going into directories, -f stops terminal from prompting you. and -v makes it verbose so you can see your progress. Overall the command was
    sudo rm -rfv /Volumes/[your drive name]/.Trashes/[a number]
    To find that number, cd into the .Trashes file and the just run ls. I haven't found any problems with this approach since last weekend when I ran this command.

    For future references, the proper way to delete time machine backups manually is through time machine itself. When you're in Time Machine, the gear icon changes its functionality and you can delete individual backups from the drive.

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