Question about Time Machine backups

creativedogmedia

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I am about to pick up a new MBP to replace a 2010 model. I currently have TM backing up everything less a couple of folders from Dropbox to an external drive. When I go to my external drive, I see folders from each day of a backup with all of the information in each folder (replicated each day). Shouldnt it just be one backup with all changes in it? Seems like it's taking up tons of unnecessary space. Thanks.
 

Alrescha

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Jan 1, 2008
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Seems like it's taking up tons of unnecessary space. Thanks.
In the way you mean, it is one backup with incremental changes - but through a clever use of the filesystem, it is made to appear as a separate folder for each backup. It makes it very easy for you to pick a day and find a snapshot of how things were at that exact time.

The same file is not copied over and over again.

A.
 

creativedogmedia

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In the way you mean, it is one backup with incremental changes - but through a clever use of the filesystem, it is made to appear as a separate folder for each backup. It makes it very easy for you to pick a day and find a snapshot of how things were at that exact time.

The same file is not copied over and over again.

A.
Thanks....any harm in deleting all but the most current back up every once in a while?
 

Alrescha

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Thanks....any harm in deleting all but the most current back up every once in a while?
My advice would be to not mess with it. Time Machine does this automatically as the disk fills. Those files are protected by the operating system and you may find that they are annoying to manage manually, not to mention you could confuse Time Machine and have to start all over again.

If you want to have other files out on that disk (otherwise why would you want to delete things?), go ahead. Time Machine will automatically back off, deleting its own backups to keep some free space available. Of course any files you put out there are not going to be backed up by Time Machine.

A.
 

Weaselboy

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Thanks....any harm in deleting all but the most current back up every once in a while?
My advice would be to not mess with it.
+1 Don't mess with it OP, you will just break your backup set.

There is a good article here that explains how the TM file structure works. All those extra files/folder you thought were duplicates are just pointers to the real file.
 

glenthompson

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Thanks....any harm in deleting all but the most current back up every once in a while?
A better action would be to archive the old drive and start a new time machine backup on a new drive. Your old drive has your history going back very far and the new drive is a fresh start.

Lots of different backup strategies out there. Which way you go depends on how important your data is and how much effort and expense you want to expend on getting it back.

As others said, don't muck about with the TM backups.
 

creativedogmedia

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A better action would be to archive the old drive and start a new time machine backup on a new drive. Your old drive has your history going back very far and the new drive is a fresh start.

Lots of different backup strategies out there. Which way you go depends on how important your data is and how much effort and expense you want to expend on getting it back.

As others said, don't muck about with the TM backups.
Thanks...what about deleting all backups from my old MBP once my new rMBP backups are rolling?
 

Bear

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Thanks...what about deleting all backups from my old MBP once my new rMBP backups are rolling?
Are the backups under the same machine name? if so leave them alone. If not, I'd still save them for a while to make sure you don't need anything from it.
 

snberk103

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All good advice above.... I'll just add.... the whole point of doing backups is to have stuff saved for when you need it. Including the stuff you didn't know you needed. Leave TM alone, and don't worry about the space. If you are concerned about space then get a bigger HDD and leave the TM backups alone.

Also... TM is a versioned backup and not a clone. Many people (including myself) suggest that you have both a TM backup and in addition a bootable cloned backup. I use TM to recover from user errors and a nightly bootable cloned backup to recover from hardware errors. I use TM more often than I need the cloned backup.;)
 

creativedogmedia

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All good advice above.... I'll just add.... the whole point of doing backups is to have stuff saved for when you need it. Including the stuff you didn't know you needed. Leave TM alone, and don't worry about the space. If you are concerned about space then get a bigger HDD and leave the TM backups alone.

Also... TM is a versioned backup and not a clone. Many people (including myself) suggest that you have both a TM backup and in addition a bootable cloned backup. I use TM to recover from user errors and a nightly bootable cloned backup to recover from hardware errors. I use TM more often than I need the cloned backup.;)
Another question, I had a ton of email saved "on my computer" in Outlook for Mac. That was also part of my previous backup. How do I restore those particular pieces of data back into outlook? Thanks.
 

flynz4

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Another question, I had a ton of email saved "on my computer" in Outlook for Mac. That was also part of my previous backup. How do I restore those particular pieces of data back into outlook? Thanks.
When you restored your backup to your new machine... you should have had all your old email restored automatically to your new machine.

I guess I am not sure how you restored your existing data to your new machine.

/Jim
 

Weaselboy

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Another question, I had a ton of email saved "on my computer" in Outlook for Mac. That was also part of my previous backup. How do I restore those particular pieces of data back into outlook? Thanks.
A standard Outlook install would save its data in your user Documents folder in subfolder called Microsoft User Data. If you restore the contents of that folder you should get back any locally saved messages from Outlook.

Just understand if you have messages there now, this will overwrite what is there.

Code:
~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/
 

creativedogmedia

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A standard Outlook install would save its data in your user Documents folder in subfolder called Microsoft User Data. If you restore the contents of that folder you should get back any locally saved messages from Outlook.

Just understand if you have messages there now, this will overwrite what is there.

Code:
~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/
I moved over the /Users/username/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/ folder to the new laptop....Since then, I have realized that I lost all email that was stored under "On My Computer" within Outlook for Mac. On top of that, my email is continuously syncing and updating things...on a couple of folders I went in and emptied cache and it deleted all emails in that folder (these are folders under my inbox on the Exchange server). What gives here? How do I get my mail back?
 

Weaselboy

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I moved over the /Users/username/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/ folder to the new laptop....Since then, I have realized that I lost all email that was stored under "On My Computer" within Outlook for Mac. On top of that, my email is continuously syncing and updating things...on a couple of folders I went in and emptied cache and it deleted all emails in that folder (these are folders under my inbox on the Exchange server). What gives here? How do I get my mail back?
What I believe you are seeing is a result of the issue I mentioned about overwriting what is there. If you have On my Mac messages saved as well as using Exchange at the same time, you are going to have a conflict. Can you turn off all the accounts then import that folder to see the messages when you copy them over? You could then export them and reimport after your turn the Exchange account back on.
 

creativedogmedia

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What I believe you are seeing is a result of the issue I mentioned about overwriting what is there. If you have On my Mac messages saved as well as using Exchange at the same time, you are going to have a conflict. Can you turn off all the accounts then import that folder to see the messages when you copy them over? You could then export them and reimport after your turn the Exchange account back on.
So the backup on TM also includes emails "on my computer?" I dont see why they would overwrite/conflict with each other...they arent the same emails. How would I just start over and restore the email piece....I see you say to delete the accounts within outlook...certainly can do that but then what is best way to restore? It can't be from just moving a file over in finder....that seems like a kluge way to do it but it was all I knew....is there a more formal way?

To add some addtl context, I have been out of town the past two days and left my laptop up with no sleep/screensaver/HD sleep and it was still going late last night when I got home....seemingly, the same stuff over and over.
 

Weaselboy

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So the backup on TM also includes emails "on my computer?" I dont see why they would overwrite/conflict with each other...they arent the same emails. How would I just start over and restore the email piece....I see you say to delete the accounts within outlook...certainly can do that but then what is best way to restore? It can't be from just moving a file over in finder....that seems like a kluge way to do it but it was all I knew....is there a more formal way?

To add some addtl context, I have been out of town the past two days and left my laptop up with no sleep/screensaver/HD sleep and it was still going late last night when I got home....seemingly, the same stuff over and over.
Yes, the TM backup of that folder would include all mail stored in Outlook on the Mac. The problem is, you did not migrate over when you setup the new system, but rather you used it a while then later decided to try and move over the old messages. That is why I warned you it would overwrite what is there now and put you back in time where you were when the old back was last completed.

If you want to merge to two now, you may have better luck asking that over on the MS support forums.
 

creativedogmedia

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Yes, the TM backup of that folder would include all mail stored in Outlook on the Mac. The problem is, you did not migrate over when you setup the new system, but rather you used it a while then later decided to try and move over the old messages. That is why I warned you it would overwrite what is there now and put you back in time where you were when the old back was last completed.

If you want to merge to two now, you may have better luck asking that over on the MS support forums.
I am ok going back to the files on the older machine as there wasnt much change. If I start fresh and just import from old MBP would that work? What is official way to do that?
 

Weaselboy

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I am ok going back to the files on the older machine as there wasnt much change. If I start fresh and just import from old MBP would that work? What is official way to do that?
Okay... open Finder and hit shift-command-g then paste in the path below and hit enter. That should get you to the correct folder. Now make a temp folder on the Desktop and drag the contents of the MS data folder into the temp folder just a a backup. Now click the Time Machine menulet then select Enter Time Machine and scroll back in time to the date you want to import then select restore. That should put the contents of the folder back like they were on that date.

Then get out of the TM interface and start Outlook back up.

Code:
~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/
 

creativedogmedia

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Okay... open Finder and hit shift-command-g then paste in the path below and hit enter. That should get you to the correct folder. Now make a temp folder on the Desktop and drag the contents of the MS data folder into the temp folder just a a backup. Now click the Time Machine menulet then select Enter Time Machine and scroll back in time to the date you want to import then select restore. That should put the contents of the folder back like they were on that date.

Then get out of the TM interface and start Outlook back up.

Code:
~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/
Wont the path below take me to the most current state?
 

Weaselboy

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Wont the path below take me to the most current state?
It will take you to the current folder in Finder... yes... but then when you enter Time Machine and scroll back in time to the date you want and restore it will restore from that date with the old data.
 

creativedogmedia

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It will take you to the current folder in Finder... yes... but then when you enter Time Machine and scroll back in time to the date you want and restore it will restore from that date with the old data.
Great, thanks....last question (ok, maybe not)....For my last backup date (3/13/14) on old MBP there are two backups for same day....the MS User Data file is 5GB larger on one of them....assume I should use the larger of the two?
 

Weaselboy

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Great, thanks....last question (ok, maybe not)....For my last backup date (3/13/14) on old MBP there are two backups for same day....the MS User Data file is 5GB larger on one of them....assume I should use the larger of the two?
I would go for the larger.
 

creativedogmedia

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It will take you to the current folder in Finder... yes... but then when you enter Time Machine and scroll back in time to the date you want and restore it will restore from that date with the old data.
Didnt think it would be last question....When I went to that path you gave me, I see two identities there....one is DW and one is DW (Backed up 2014-03-1700.44.24).....dont I want to get rid of these two so that I can start fresh with the backup I am about to restore from?