Sincerely asking someone to explain how exactly Time Capsule works (yes I've Googled)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Gildarts, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. Gildarts macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2014
    My dear fellow MR-members,

    Since I've had my Time Capsule. I have been struggling to understand how it works despite knowing how it should work (from Googling, Apple sources etc.).

    My question is basically this: How do I make sure that I can activate the Time Machine feature and go back EVERY day (since purchase date, or from now and onwards).

    So here's my case.
    On may 25th 2013 I purchased a Apple 2TB Time Capsule.

    I've been having trouble with it ever since. More specifically the Time Machine feature. I understand I can go back on the white tabs but not on the purple tabs (as there is no data on the purple tabs).

    The normal way for it to work is that you can go back every day as long as it backs up automatically everyday. I have set it to do this (as far as I know) and it does but there is something strange going on.

    For instance, It's showing 20 white tabs for today, but for 19 of the 20 timestamps of those tabs I wasn't even at home. So how could it have a back up? (is this the local snapshots?!)

    Further more. I make sure I backup everyday, yet other than white tabs for today and a few yesterday and 3 other dates I can't go back at all. The purple tabs go back until april this year.

    This is very strange since last week I could go back as far as April this year with white tabs(albeit with holes, days/weeks some months even missing).

    How do I get this freaking thing to work right? And where are my backups going?! Do I even have any backups at this point?!

    I checked my storage, it says backup 667mb, other 37GB and 26 free of the 128GB. Is this the problem? Do I need more storage? I had the same problem when I had 40GB free so I just don't understand.

    In the Time Machine settings in System preferences I've clicked the option to warn me when it deletes old backups/snapshots. I have never received a single warning.

    Can anyone pleeeeeeeaaaaaasseeee pretty please shed some light on this darn thing.

    By the way, I have it set up as expanding/joining my home wifi network, not as a replacement for my ISP provided router. Also in settings it says the oldest backup/snapshot is from April 11th yet when I enter Time Machine There's not a single white tab in April.

    I could really use some help with this.
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
  3. Gildarts thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2014
    Thanks for the reference but I've gone through that site countless of times.

    My oldest backup shows up as April 11th 2014. Like I mentioned before I bought it on May 25th 2013. So I'm missing a whole year. Where is it?

    And how can I view the April 11th backup with time machine? The purple tabs don't do anything.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Let me try and explain a bit.

    First, read this about the local backups. The local backups are the grey tabs you are seeing there. That data is actually in a hidden folder on your internal drive. That 666MB you see indicated as "Backups" in that storage graphic is the space used by local backups. As your internal disk starts to approach 80% full, the OS will start to purge off older versions of these local backups and with you only having 26GB free... it sounds like that is what is going on and is normal.

    Then the purple tabs are actual data backed up on the Time Capsule disk.

    If you have not changed anything, Time Machine by default will backup once per hour when the machine is on (or even asleep with some newer models). You should see a purple tab along there for every single hour the machine is awake for the most recent 24 hours, then a daily tab for the last month, then a weekly tab beyond that. If you are not, something is wrong.

    When you are sitting there using the machine, do you notice the Time Machine menu item swirling around like it should when a backup is occurring?

    Now to why the backups don't go back to May 2013. Good question. As long as there is space left on the Time Capsule disk it will keep a weekly backup going back indefinitely. Open System Prefs and go to the Time Machine pane and look at how much free space is left on the disk?

    Also, open Console app and type "backup" in the filter at the top and scroll through the Time Machine log entries to see if there are any error messages there showing backups are not occurring.
  5. Gildarts thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2014
    Thanks for the explanation. I was initially running OS X Lion, I have since upgraded to Mountain Lion and I'm currently running Mavericks.

    Maybe the updates caused the loss of data prior to Arpil 2014?

    I also remember being fed up with the device and having it turned off for a while. I also remember resetting it a few times to try to get it to work.

    Did the reset delete the backups? Because I also had normal data (movies, music etc) on the disk and they are still there.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I have seen OS updates make it "start over" for some reason. If by reset, you mean just restarting the TC, no that would not cause any problem.

    After all those updates and everything, I would just erase the TC disk and start fresh if it was me.
  7. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Fully ageed. I would reformat the TC drive and do a backup. Then I would migrate to Yosemite. If you machine runs Mavericks, it should run Yosemite just fine.
  8. Gildarts thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2014
    By reset I meant holding the reset button on the machine and reconfiguring it.

    I'm waiting for OS X 10.1 before I upgrade. Also I don't feel it's necessary to erase the disk at this point in time. I'm currently wrapping up my bachelor in law so I think I'll keep it around for now.

    And also I see no incentive to erase the disk in general it still has 1,5TB free.

    After I graduate I might erase the disk. And start fresh.

    What's really weird is, I reset it last night. And now, in system preferences in time machine it shows me the time capsule twice. And it backs up to both.

    But that can't be right because I only have one. It's really weird.

Share This Page