Time machine- clearing space

Discussion in 'macOS' started by theman, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. theman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    I've been using TM for a bit over a year, and never really needed to use it. I have about 70gb of data on my MBP hard drive, but my external TM drive has bloated to well over 200gb (I only have a 250gb HDD). What would happen if I just went into the Backups.backupdb foler and deleted some of the dated folders? would that be a bad idea? can i just delete the entire thing and start over? I really don't see a use for any of these backups. I've never had to restore a file. I just want to know the best move from here.
  2. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    As Commander Höek said to Cadet Stimpy,
    "Don't Touch It!"

    Time Machine will, upon reaching the Time Machine drive/partition's limit, consolidate earlier incremental backups automatically, which will open up some space as needed. If you delete files in the backup folder, this automatic consolidation will most likely fail and could possibly corrupt your backups.

    Let it be.

    Addendum: You may not have had to restore a file or application up to this point, but the whole idea of Time Machine is to have that ability. As the song goes, "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone..."
  3. trule macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    I've been wondering the same thing...if I don't *need* the incremental backups then I plan to start a new backup (archiving the old one) since this seems easiest and is sure to work.

    I should mention that I use the same disk for other things too, so freeing up space is a consideration for me.

    Deleting the dated folders might also work BUT I would expect that it would more likely result in files missing from your backup.
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    I think that Apple recommends dedicating a drive or partition to Time Machine, and generally avoiding use of that partition for regular storage.

    I have seen a tip to the contrary that is advertised on the Apple support forums, though-- cloning the Leopard install DVDs on the Time Machine backup drive, in case the DVDs end up scratched or lost and you need a full restore.


    ADDENDUM: Here's my Time Machine setup, as an example. I have an iMac with a 250Gb hard drive with two partitions: a ~165 Gb partition for Mac OS X and apps and a 64Gb NTFS Bootcamp partition for Windows.

    Attached to the iMac is a 250 Gb Western Digital external HD, attached via FireWire 800 for maximum speed. That external HD has three partitions: 150 Gb dedicated to Time Machine, 50 Gb or so for extra Mac OS space, and a 30 Gb FAT32 partition that both OS X and XP can read and write.

    The Time Machine drive has only 4 Gb free right now. I know that some Time Machine consolidation has happened, since, when I checked it the other day, it had less than 1 Gb left. My main Mac OS X partition only has 75 Gb used.

    Nevertheless, since I have the other partitions to work with, I don't have to worry about running out of room for my other "stuff," and I can still go back to late 2007 to restore, when I first got my iMac. That's how optimized Time Machine's consolidation algorithms are.

    My recommendation (take with however many grains of salt as desired): If you're comfortable with starting all over with Time Machine, then do so with an external hard drive that has more than one partition. Dedicate a good-sized chunk of it (approximately the size of your main OS X drive or more) to one partition for Time Machine, and use the rest for other storage. Before turning Time Machine back on, try to move very large files (uncompressed audio, movies, etc.) to the secondary partition if feasible so they don't clog up your Time Machine from the get-go.

Share This Page