Time Machine - I just don't understand it

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Tilpots, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #1
    I've searched, I've read and I still don't get it. What gets deleted when my Time Machine Backup HDD gets filled?

    I see no log or file which states _____ has now been deleted. How do I know that my kids first birthday pics didn't get deleted instead of some random preference file? What am I missing here? "Older" backups don't mean anything to me. What is being deleted? I'm very frustrated, please help.
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    What gets deleted is the oldest backup file on the disk. The easiest way to know is to go into Time Machine and move all the way to the back of time per se. Those are the ones that will be deleted first when the disk gets full.
     
  3. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #3
    if the kids birthday files are still on your computer ... they will still be backed up ... Time machine is a restore device ... if you delete the birthday files they will not backup ... TM is not like a external HD for saving a copy of things.

    As long as you have not deleted the pics ... they will always be there
     
  4. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #4
    Provided your backup hard disk where time machine stores it's data is larger than the size of the disk that you are backing up, then Time machine will always keep a backup of the current data on your disk. However over time you may remove or delete files, and create new ones. Time machine will always keep a backup of whatever is currently on your hard disk, but when the time machine disk becomes full then it will delete older backup data that is no longer on the disk that you are backing up. So provided you don't delete your kids photo's then time machine will always keep them backed up.
     
  5. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #5
    That is very helpful information and I thank you both. Could you provide a link to where you both got this information from? I really need to be sure because these are some of my most prized possessions.

    And yes, I have all of these pictures backed up on a third drive in a remote location. I just want to be sure there are 3 backups, and not just one. :)
     
  6. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #7
    Show me the text on that page that describes what the other posters have suggested. I don't see it.
     
  7. karsten macrumors 6502a

    karsten

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    #8
    The "Warn when old backups are deleted" option tells Time Machine warn you when older backups are removed from your backup disk to make space for more recent backups.

    ..

    Additional Information
    Backup disk fills up

    As your backup disk begins to fill up to its capacity, Time Machine intelligently deletes the oldest backups to make room for newer ones (and will alert you if the "Warn when old backups are deleted" option is selected in Time Machine preferences).

    If your backup disk is filling up often causing your oldest available backups to be erased sooner than you might want, consider the following options:

    Use an additional disk for your backups or transfer your backups to a new, larger disk as detailed above. When you connect a new disk for the first time, use Time Machine preferences to select the disk. Tip: You can also browse the original backup disk for past backups by using "Browse other Time Machine Disks"--to see this choice, hold the Option key then click the Time Machine menu in the Finder (to see the menu, "Show Time Machine status in the menu bar" must be selected in Time Machine preferences.

    Reduce the amount of information being backed up by adding to the "Do not back up" list in Time Machine preferences, as mentioned above. Your backup disk will fill up less often.

    Delete file(s) that are no longer needed (such as from your desktop, Documents folder, or other Home folder locations), so they will no longer be backed up. You can also enter the Time Machine restore interface and find files that can be removed from the backup disk itself to conserve space. To do this, select the file(s) and from the Action pop-up menu (gear icon) in the Time Machine Finder window choose "Delete All Backups of...". Be sure to only delete files you are sure you won't need or want to restore later.
     
  8. EmmEff macrumors regular

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    #9
    Files don't get moved by Time Machine. When it deletes old backups, it means it's deleting the historical backups (ie multiple iterations of the photos you speak of). As somebod stated earlier, if the files are still on your Mac, they are backed up.
     
  9. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #10
    I've read that page probably 10 times and I still do not understand what's written to mean as the other posters have mentioned. Is the "intelligently" bit the part I'm not getting? Because really, on that whole page and in the piece you quoted, I don't see them spell out the fact that if it's on your computer, it won't be deleted from a Time Machine backup. Honestly, I'm not trying to be dense. That's not how it reads to me.
     
  10. EmmEff macrumors regular

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    #11
    What would be the point of a back that doesnt actually backup files? Having one copy of anything means it's not backed up.
     
  11. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    #12
    Sorry I have no Links ... I just know how Time Machine works.

    If you were to delete those pics ... TM would keep backing up your system until the TM filled up and over wrote the backup where you had deleted those pics ... then the pics would be gone.

    The bottom line is ... do not delete things you want to keep. TM makes a copy of your system every time it backs up ... therefore if you do not delete those Pics ... they will always be on your Machine and on your TM backup.

    If you want to save something and then delete it from your machine ... use an external HD to make a copy.

    TM is a restore device ... not an external storage. :cool:
     
  12. brentsg macrumors 68040

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    #13
    Time Machine always contains a backup of your hard drive's contents NOW. It also contains snapshots of your hard drive going back in time. How far back it goes will depend on how much space is available.

    As it needs to free up space it deletes the oldest snapshots first, basically. But it's always going to contain your data as it looks now.

    Oops, made horrible changes to one of your documents.. no big deal, use TM to go back and grab an older version to restore. But eventually that unchanged version will go away because it doesn't exist on your hard drive, and due to space limitations it's going to be deleted at some point in time. If you're looking for some permanent static archive, TM is not it. TM is an evolving archive and the length of time it can contain all depends on how much disk space you give it.

    But seriously, if you can't wrap your head around it and don't trust it then go buy something that you understand.
     
  13. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #14
    Alright. I guess I had a different interpretation of how TM worked from what I had read. I appreciate all of you taking the time to explain it to me. Thanks for the help! It makes a lot more sense now.
     
  14. EmmEff macrumors regular

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    #15
    Out of curiosity, how did you think it worked? I'm not being facetious, I am just curious.
     
  15. Tilpots thread starter macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #16
    I wasn't exactly sure which is why I started the thread. I think Apple's documentation is poorly written and could provide a clearer description. Several posters explained in a sentence what Apple fails to on a whole page. It really never clicked until I was given a better explanation. I didn't understand but now I do. Mission accomplished. :)
     
  16. SteinMaster macrumors 6502

    SteinMaster

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    #17
    I use Time Machine and an external HDD to back-up my MBP. I keep my external HDD in a separate from my Time Capsule. I use SuperDuper to clone my HDD. This reduces my worries about failures with Time Capsule/Time Machine. I also have a second back-up in case my house burns to the ground.
     
  17. EmmEff macrumors regular

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    #18
    FWIW, I run the same scenario as SteinMaster. Time Machine for historical backups and a HD clone taken with SuperDuper!
     
  18. R94N macrumors 68020

    R94N

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    #19
    I just started using Time Machine with a hard drive I got as a gift; I see as something that makes a copy of your exact hard drive and makes changes as you do. I can understand why it could be confusing to people as I agree Apple's information about it isn't really that helpful.
     
  19. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Time machine is a backup solution that works by creating a backup using a schedule that you set when you back it up.

    There's 2 ways it works, 1, a full copy of all info on your disk, 2 referencing the changes you've made.

    Referencing the changes you've made allows the backups to take up a lot less room, and is what still allows you to roll back to a backup of your choosing.

    Anything that remains on you computer hard drive (and if your time machine is big enough will do your subsidiary internal disks) will be archived onto the the time machine disk.

    There are some folders that aren't included in backups, as they're os and application support folders which the applications and os use and save data too as and when...... var/vm, var/tmp and library/caches.

    Be clear that they are not bootable backups, just data backups. If you want a bootable backup you need to look at alternative software.


    As a side note:

    Whilst the time machines available from apple are easily set up and affordable, if you really want to be sure of you're data i suggest buying a raid 1 enclosure and a couple of disks to put in there.

    I've got a newertech guardian maximus pro, with 2 x 2tb western digital hard disks (Raid 1 mirrored configuration).... Its partitioned into 2 X 1gb volumes, the first is a backup drive which time machine backups my 320GB & 650GB internal hard disks and then the other partition is general storage.

    The advantage of this set up is that one disk in the enclosure automatically mirrors all the data on the other disk, so if a disk dies, I buy another 2tb disk, put it in the enclosure and it rebuilds the copy of my backup onto the second disk. If an apple time capsule goes kaput, then bye bye backup. Obviously my set up doesnt help me if it gets stolen/house burns down, so im looking for a good offsite backup solution currently.
     

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