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Whyy

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 20, 2022
78
71
I purchased an external SSD for my M1 Mac Mini and am waiting for it to arrive.

My question has to do with Time Machine backups and restorations. Over time, with installing and deleting software, the Mac seems to get a pile of leftover software debris. I would not want bits and pieces of uninstalled software that’s still lingering in the system to be restored if I had to restore a backup from Time Machine.

How should I handle Time Machine backups to avoid such a problem? Do I just do partial backups manually? Only copying files from the Mac that I would want preserved in case of a computer failure? Or do full backups not contain leftover debris from uninstalled software?
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
71,210
40,046
If you start omitting stuff you’ll end up regretting it. While you may avoid the cruft you’ll also omit stuff that other apps need or rely

Let Time Machine do what it does best
 
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Whyy

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 20, 2022
78
71
So based on your response, it sounds like a full backup will do just what I feared.

I’ve had this Mac for almost a year now and up till now have mostly been using USB flash drives and cloud storage to backup files. So I don’t have any experience with Time Machine but I’m wondering if I can do something similar to what I used to be able to do on Windows? Do a restore point before making a change to the system and then if I wanted, roll back to the restore point?

If I were to reset the Mac to “factory” settings and then only install the software I’m currently using before setting up Time Machine, could I potentially do a full backup before installing a new piece of software and then if I decide I don’t like it or it doesn’t work for me, then just use Time Machine to restore back to the moment before download? And it completely remove all traces of the software that I want gone?
 

MacCheetah3

macrumors 68000
Nov 14, 2003
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Central MN
APFS snapshots are more akin to Restore Points, I think.



Time Machine does full and incremental backups (i.e., versioning) but it’s mostly intended for selective file/folder recovery (entirely or older versions) or alongside Migration Assistant for full restores (e.g., OS reinstall or new Mac setup).

macos-high-sierra-system-preferences-time-machine-750x430.jpg




Can Migration Assistant + Time Machine do what you’re asking? Yes. However, the process will be at least somewhat tedious and possibly a little unwieldily.
 
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Whyy

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 20, 2022
78
71
Time Machine does full and incremental backups (i.e., versioning) but it’s mostly intended for selective file/folder recovery (entirely or older versions) or alongside Migration Assistant for full restores (e.g., OS reinstall or new Mac setup).

This is actually good news. Thank you! That’s really all I should need.
 

MacCheetah3

macrumors 68000
Nov 14, 2003
1,608
696
Central MN
This is actually good news. Thank you! That’s really all I should need.
A brief video demo:



Do a restore point before making a change to the system and then if I wanted, roll back to the restore point?
Even though Time Machine does automatic incremental backups, this specific scenario might be where you’d utilize the manual backup option:

 

Whyy

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 20, 2022
78
71
Thank you! And I looked at that cleverfiles website that you linked and that seems like a pretty good solution for rollbacks. Doesn’t seem overly complicated.
 
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