Time Machine backing up 30 GB's at a time!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by A1SteakSauce, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. A1SteakSauce macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2008
    I have a MBP, and every few days I back it up using time machine. For some reason it's been scanning hundreds of thousands of files and than it backs up tons of GB's. Like today it tried to back up 30 GB's but the last time I backed it up was 4 days ago, and I doubt I changed THAT much stuff on my laptop. Is this normal? If not, what can I do to fix it.
  2. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2008
    i actually have a somewhat similar situation, i only back up my TM everyday or every other day as for i don't change too much...yet a couple times i noticed it scanned over 400,000 files (rather quickly though) but then it only backed up like 50MB or so.

    i had no idea what the deal was but i would like to know as well how it finds loads of files like that! i haven't even had my MBP for a month yet, i only have like 20,000 files on my account (which is the only account) and i doubt there are over 400,000 files for the OS itself, though i could be wrong!
  3. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    There is a great little 'prerelease' app from http://www.charlessoft.com/ called "TimeTracker". What it does is scan your Time Machine backups and tell you exactly what was backed up. It's a great initial tool to troubleshooting your Time Machine activities.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't work fully under Snow Leopard (it only reports how much was backed up, but not the exact files).

    I followed the use of Time Machine since it came out -I'm not that technical, but I have noticed a lot of interesting behaviour.

    For example, if you manually alter a file inside a wrapped-up folder such as the iPhoto Library, it will see that as a change and backup the ENTIRE library again (I was messing about with invisible files inside it a couple times). I think it doesn't do this any more, but who knows, since I don't really want to envoke it any further. Also, regarding iPhoto, if you so much as make a change when opening iPhoto (change an image, for example), it will recreate the iPhoto library database. This will envoke a backup up of the associated database files, which can be GBs, depending on your library size.

    30GB is kind of a big backup, so it's worth checking out to see what you are changing. Keep in mind, the more 'non-default' options you use (third party add-ons, apps etc), then it's possible those options alter things that Apple have not accounted for (and to be honest, should be a responsibility of the third-party developer. Of course, I've seen default configurations do weird things in TIme Machine also, but it's easier to troubleshoot.

    Good luck.


    You're in luck! With some stroke of fortune in timing, looks like Time Tracker was updated a week ago (first time I've seen since for nearly a year), and it's now working with my Snow Leopard time machine. You should easily be able to see what files are being backed up.
  4. A1SteakSauce thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 17, 2008
    Thanks soooo much. I'm definitely going to try it out and see what it does. Hopefully I will be able to figure out what giant motherfolder it keeps backing up.
  5. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005

    Cool! Keep in mind, that it's prerelease software, so who knows if it messes anything up. It sounds harmless (just reads your time machine drive), but just sayin'.

    I just used it, if that's any consolation, and the developer is the developer of Pacifist, another very useful app.

    Please return and let us know what the issue is/was - it will help me to learn.
  6. HelveticaNeue macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2010
    Do you use VMWare Fusion or Parallels on your computer to run Windows? Because Time Machine will back up the entire virtual machine file each time you even open it, which can easily add up to 30GB depending on how many Windows programs you have installed.

    If so, I recommend exempting the virtual machine from your backups in System Preferences.
  7. omlifeom macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2012
    Totally Worked!

    Thanks, I am using virtualbox and that's exactly what was happening. So just excluded it from backups!

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