Time Machine constantly creating new backups, no work actually done

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by AlexNordic, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. AlexNordic macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2018
    St Albans, UK
    Hi all,

    I've been checking why my time machine has gone bananas with large backups that happen too often, but can't find an answer

    I have my time machine on a network drive (WD My Book), so it back ups every night when I get home. Those are normally between 1.15 and 1.8Gb, which I find pretty massive considering that all my work is in the cloud (Google Apps, Figma), a bit of coding and mail. Hardly even open a file.

    Those backups take normally 5-6 hours to complete, which makes me feel if my macbook is actually a backup machine that happens to allow me to do other work on the side. But the part that I find more bonkers is that as soon that 1.x Gb backup has finished, it starts a new one about 250-300Mb. Seriously? During those 5-6 hours I've only browsed a few webs and keep everything closed to ensure time machine runs as fast as possible. It has done that twice already this morning, with TM doing yet another one as I write.

    So I've done tmutil compare and find out that TM considers that tons of files that I never touch have changed. For example apps I never use (VLC, iTunes), entire wordpress backups (with ALL the images) that I haven't looked at in years. Added /Library/cache/ and /Library/fonts, which is nuts because that's not new.

    File is too big but here are some bits and bobs.

    Any idea how to solve this madness? I'm starting to wonder whether it's WD's My Book, and I should do weekly backups on a wired HDD instead.

    partial output of a tmutil compare:
    + 42.8K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/zh_TW.lproj/iPod License.rtf
    + 94.4K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/zh_TW.lproj/iPod touch License.rtf
    + 4.9K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/zh_TW.lproj/iTunesExtraGridView.png
    + 9.2K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/zh_TW.lproj/iTunesExtraGridView@2x.png
    + 3.6K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/zh_TW.lproj/iTunesExtraListView.png
    + 5.6K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/zh_TW.lproj/iTunesExtraListView@2x.png
    + 391.9K /Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/XPCServices/VisualizerService.xpc
    + 151.4M /usr/bin
    + 24.9M /usr/include
    + 130.9M /usr/lib
    + 86.1M /usr/libexec
    + 613.5M /usr/local
    + 45.5M /usr/sbin
    + 495.4M /usr/share
    + 93.0M /usr/standalone
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    That's one of the prime reasons why I see no reason or purpose in using TM --- it just "backs up" over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...

    I prefer a cloned backup with CarbonCopyCloner (or one could use SuperDuper instead).
    The backup runs when I want it to...
  3. AlexNordic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2018
    St Albans, UK
    Yes, I got that already from the other threads.

    Any idea on why TM could behave like this? Is it normal? I assume this doesn't happen to everybody.
  4. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
  5. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    Same here. I got tired of hearing my rather loud external drive spin up every hour, so I used Time Machine Editor to switch it to twice a day.

    People love to crap on Time Machine on here, but it's a hell of a lot better than not backing up and has saved my @$$ on many occasions. I also use CCC, which is awesome, for 1x/month backups which are kept offsite.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 24, 2018 ---
    There's tons of stuff on your machine that gets changed just because it's running, and Time Machine is doing its job by syncing everything so you basically have hourly snapshots of your whole Mac. It's normal behavior. If the noise is bugging you, Time Machine Editor is a nice way to cut down the frequency.
  6. ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    LOL, that's exactly what it's designed to do.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    ignatius wrote:
    "LOL, that's exactly what it's designed to do."

    Yes, and that's also exactly why I don't use it.

    I don't need 20 backups of essentially the same thing.

    I DO need one or two cloned backups that I can reach for and boot from in a "moment of extreme need".

    That strategy has worked for me for 30 years of Mac'ing.
  8. ignatius345, Sep 26, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018

    ignatius345 macrumors 68020

    Aug 20, 2015
    Haha, it's that "essentially" that will get you when you need a current version of something that got corrupted or which you need to recover an earlier version of. ;)

    And I would never advise a casual Mac user to avoid Time Machine. CCC is a wonderful tool, but most users aren't going to a) spend money on it and b) get around to using it regularly enough to protect their current data. It's great that you've been doing manual clones for 30 years or whatever, but Time Machine is a "set it and forget it" solution for casual users.

    Yeah, I keep bootable CCC clones around too (kept offsite, thanks), and have for at least the last 10 years, but I honestly can't remember the last time I had to actually boot from one. Nice to know if a meteor hits my house I'll be protected though :)
  9. AlexNordic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2018
    St Albans, UK
    Problem solved indeed. I've been using this for a week now and I'm very happy with how it works.

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8 September 23, 2018