Time machine help.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by artnotwar, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. artnotwar macrumors member

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #1
    I'm trying to do a time machine backup, and my external HDD is full of time machine backups.
    So I've read that you just need to delete the backups and start again because of the way time machine works.
    What I want to know is instead of deleting all the time machine backups, can I just delete all of the incremental backups instead? That way next time I backup, it won't take all night AND I'll actually have enough space to do a backup.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Stewart21 macrumors regular

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    South Yorkshire
    #2
    You don't need to do anything, TM will delete the older backups itself to make room for new ones.

    You can of course reduce the amount of data TM backs up by specifying files you wish to exclude from backups in TM Preferences. Backup will then take less time. Or you could buy another, larger external HDD which is what I have done, my original 80GB filled up so I bought a 1.5TB drive which will take some time to fill up.

    Stewart
     
  3. artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Hmmm interesting, from what I've read, time machine doesn't automatically delete older backups for you. This has been proven true to me because of the fact that my time machine is no longer backing up due to lack of space on my time machine drive.

    Is there a setting I'm not seeing to enable time machine to delete older backups?

    I would imagine buying a new HDD every time one fills up would be quite expensive. I'm definitely not in any position financially to be doing that.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #4
    First In

    First out. It's always been that way. You need do nothing. TM will delete the oldest backup and replace it with the new one. Simples:)
     
  5. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

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    #5
    If you open Time Machine Preferences it tells you that right there.
     
  6. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Perhaps your preferences are set to NOT delete old backups? (I'm not sure if this is even an option.)

    Default should be delete.
     
  7. artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #7
    Ok, for some reason my time machine doesn't say that as soon as I open it.

    Yes I do agree it must be a setting somewhere that I can change, but the question I'm asking, is WHERE is that setting? I see no setting for this. The only setting I see that has anything remotely to do with this is 'notify when old backups are deleted' and I'm pretty sure that isn't going to change this.
     
  8. Stewart21 macrumors regular

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    #8
    There is no setting that you can change in TM Preferences, by default TM deletes old backups when the backup drive is full, you can't change it.

    Let's have a bit more information. What version of OSX are you using? Do you leave TM on all the time? Is your external HDD on and connected all the time? Have you had a repair or replaced any hardware recently? Have you verified both your internal and external HDD's using Disk Utility?

    Stewart
     
  9. artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #9
    Thank you for your patience.

    I'm using Mac OSX 10.7.2

    I Have time machine switched to 'on' all the time.

    I don't have my external HDD connected all of the time, only when I want to backup.

    I've had no repairs or hardware changes at all since I've had the macbook. Oh and it's a macbook pro early 2011 model.

    To be honest, I don't know. I don't even know what that means. If it makes a difference I have done time machine backups, it's just now the disk is full and won't backup anymore.
     
  10. mstrze, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

    mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #10
    The only thing I can think of is that without the drive being connected all the time, perhaps the backup gets corrupted and your weekly backups are essentially full backups of the entire drive, rather than saving the relatively few files that may have changed over a week's time, it saves the whole thing.

    Therefore, your most recent backup is the only one on the TM (hence it couldn't be deleted without risking losing data) and your current backup is the entire size of your drive again, meaning you couldn't fit it in the empty space you have left.

    So...more pieces to the puzzle:

    How large is your internal drive and how large is your Time Machine drive?

    When you click on the TM logo in order to get it to start a backup right now, does it give you a size of the backup it wants to make?

    How long do your backups usually take? Once a week should easily be 15 minutes or less unless you are downloading Gigs of stuff each week.
     
  11. artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #11
    Yes I think you are correct in what you say in the first sentence. I just don't really understand, what is the solution, to keep it plugged in 24/7?

    Internal drive and external are both the same size, 320 gig.

    The estimated size of next backup is 314 gig.

    Backups normally don't take long. I haven't done a lot of them mainly because of this problem. The first ever one took a long time, after that they didn't take long.
     
  12. mstrze, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

    mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Can you go into TM and go back in time and look at more than one date?

    BTW, it would greatly behoove you to have a drive at least 1.5 times the size of your internal for TM to work as it's designed. I'd recommend at least a 500GB external next time. Those are comfortably under $100 these days.

    My wife accesses her TM backup through WiFi and her backup will get corrupted maybe every other week and have to start from scratch. :(

    Only thing I can say is that perhaps you disconnected your drive before it was finished last time and caused a corruption?
     
  13. Stewart21 macrumors regular

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    #13
    OK, if you have TM turned on but no external HDD connected it stores your backups on your internal HDD until you connect an external HDD. That means after even a day without the external HDD connected you've got quite a lot of data to backup.

    You could keep your external drive connected all the time but that might be impractical as you'll have to lug it about with you. One alternative is to turn TM off until you can connect your external HDD, then turn TM on and select "Backup Now". Let TM do a backup or multiple backups whilst the external HDD is connected. When you disconnect the HDD turn TM off again, this will stop it storing backups on your internal HDD.

    Of course you could use other backup software that gives you more control about when and what you backup - I'm thinking Super Duper or something like that, I use it as well as TM - belt and braces approach. Either way keep TM turned off until YOU want a backup.

    You might have to delete some backups manually in order to get things back to a workable state and I think you need to look at just what you're backing up and exclude some stuff that doesn't need backing up. For instance if you've got original install disks for apps do you need to back them up from your HD?

    You also need to find out what Disk Utility does and how to use it. HDD's do get corrupted and need fixing, Disk Utility will tell you if your drives need repairing. Go to the Apple Support pages online and learn about Disk Utility, you can screw your machine up with it so make sure you've educated yourself before doing anything. This might not make sense to you but I verify my disk and permissions once a month to make sure my machines are OK.

    Stewart
     
  14. mstrze, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

    mstrze macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Sorry, but this is not true. It only backs up to the TM drive. It keeps track of which files have changed since the last backup, so it does store that I suppose, but in no way does it store the TM backup on the internal. If the drive is not connected, it does nothing except warn you during the first attempt that the drive is missing.

    And after a day of not being connected, there will not necessarily be 'quite a lot of data to backup'. It all depends on what you have downloaded or changed in that 24-hour period. After the initial backup, TM ONLY writes changed file information to the Time Machine drive. So, if you ripped a few DVDs...sure, that's several GB...but on a normal day, the file size of each update will be small...even if you only connect the drive every 24 hours. (Of course you lose the ability to go back to a file you changed within the last hour or two if you only upgrade every day or once a week)

    My wife used to only backup once a month and we never turned TM off on her MacBook, nor did any TM files gets stored on her internal drive. We would connect the external directly through FW and it would take about 30 minutes and then be finished backing up the files that had been changed.
     
  15. Stewart21 macrumors regular

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    #15
    Quote from Apple support on how TM works

    "If you have a portable computer, in addition to saving backups on your backup disk, Time Machine saves hourly snapshots of files and stores the snapshots on your computer’s internal drive. If your backup disk isn’t connected, Time Machine continues saving snapshots on your internal drive, and then resumes backing up to your backup disk when you reconnect it."

    To back this up I have seen this happening on my MBA and a search of these forums will reveal other threads where people have been wondering where all their internal storage has gone and TM is the culprit because they do not have a backup drive connected.

    Stewart
     
  16. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #16
    Seems that this was added in Lion. My wife had been using Snow Leopard at the time. Sorry about that.

    I still argue the size of the backup file over a 24 hour period will not be unwieldy, remember only items that have changed are placed into the backup.

    And there is no way that the OP would have a 314GB backup waiting unless the Time Machine image/drive somehow became corrupted. That is the entire content of the 320GB internal I assume.

    I have seen sources that show that the average daily amount of data Time Machine needs to back up is under 100MB.
     
  17. artnotwar, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011

    artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #17
    Thanks everyone for the help, you've been very helpful and patient.

    So what I'm going to do is turn time machine off and do manual 'back ups'. I only had time machine switched to 'on' because I didn't know WTF I was doing.

    it's all making a bit more sense now.

    Also, about the time machine backing up to your internal disk, I've had my time machine on and no external plugged in for months and haven't noticed an loss of space. I'm not saying anyone is wrong, just saying what's happened for me.

    Also, I'll definitely look into the whole disk verifying thing. I've used disk utility a few times and to format drives, but I don't think I've used the disk verifying feature yet.

    Thank you all again for your help.
     
  18. Stewart21 macrumors regular

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    #18
    Thanks for the apology. I think you are right that something is corrupted. That's why I suggested verifying the disks might be useful. In fact I would probably verify both disks, verify permissions and then reformat the external HDD before doing a backup. My iMac has been running for two days without an external HDD connected and the backup when I connected it tonight was 450MB, just did some surfing, downloaded 30 e-mails and imported 10 photos to iPhoto then deleted and trashed (iPhoto trashed, then Finder trashed) 9 of them.

    Stewart
     
  19. artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #19
    Ok, so I just went to verify my external HDD, and I click on the drive, and the 'verify' button is greyed out :(

    Also, I switched time machine to 'off'. Now when I go into launchpad to open time machine, nothing happens when I click on it. grrrrrrrrrrrrr! How can such a simple thing turn into such a nightmare.
     
  20. Stewart21 macrumors regular

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    #20
    Don't panic. Shut everything down and power down then back up, iMac first then the external HDD. See if it's there now.

    Stewart
     
  21. artnotwar thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #21
    I just verified both disks, external is fine.

    Internal shows three red error messages. It's not looking good.


    Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
    Checking file systemPerforming live verification.
    Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
    Checking extents overflow file.
    Checking catalog file.
    Checking multi-linked files.
    Checking catalog hierarchy.
    Checking extended attributes file.
    Checking volume bitmap.
    Volume bitmap needs minor repair for orphaned blocks
    Checking volume information.
    Invalid volume free block count
    (It should be 7200162 instead of 6449847)
    The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.
    Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Start up your computer with another disk (such as your Mac OS X installation disc), and then use Disk Utility to repair this disk.
     

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