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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
32,974
13,215
California
If you have TM on and delete files, then empty trash, the files don't really get deleted... rather they get stored in a hidden /.MobileBackups folder as part of local snapshots.

If you turn TM off briefly then back on, that space will be erased and you should see your disk space free up.
 

offtheroad

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
183
1
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I back up to a WD 4TB external HD and it took all night. Next morning I found 5 folders of exactly same size so I deleted 4 of them, emptied trash and I can't reclaim the space back. Running latest ElCapitan 10.11.6 I called Apple and they gave me an app called Capture_Data and I ran that and sent them the data it found, each of about 5 .dmg's 14MB and they couldn't help me. I talked to a senior tech guy. All I want to do is reclaim the disk space without finding a place to put all the stuff on the 4TB to other HD's and reformat it. But I really don't have that option because I only have one empty 1TB HD and I have about 3TB's of data on suspected HD.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
32,974
13,215
California
Next morning I found 5 folders of exactly same size so I deleted 4 of them, emptied trash and I can't reclaim the space back.

This part is confusing me. What exactly were these folders and why did you delete them? By default, Time Machine will backup everything on the drive except some cache files.

Did you just delete these folders from the Time Machine backup in Finder? You should not do that. If you want to delete things from the backup set you should do it from the Time machine interface as described at this link.

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH18855
 

chscag

macrumors 601
Feb 17, 2008
4,622
1,940
Fort Worth, Texas
When deleting old time machine backups and emptying trash I can't reclaim the additional disk space. This was saved to an external HD. Thanks

How are you deleting the backups? Time Machine backups need to be deleted from within Time Machine otherwise the space will not be reclaimed. Each backup that's deleted from within Time Machine will require your admin password before it's deleted. Time Machine backups that are deleted correctly do not go into the Trash.
 

offtheroad

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
183
1
Albuquerque, New Mexico
How are you deleting the backups? Time Machine backups need to be deleted from within Time Machine otherwise the space will not be reclaimed. Each backup that's deleted from within Time Machine will require your admin password before it's deleted. Time Machine backups that are deleted correctly do not go into the Trash.
I just wanted 1 backUp. I don't use time Machine I'm a drag and drop person or Carbon copy cloner but decided to try TM so when I measured each fold in Get Info and the size was all the same I didn't want to use up all that space. I'll try your suggestion.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
32,974
13,215
California
I just wanted 1 backUp. I don't use time Machine I'm a drag and drop person or Carbon copy cloner but decided to try TM so when I measured each fold in Get Info and the size was all the same I didn't want to use up all that space. I'll try your suggestion.
If you have messed around inside that Time Machine backup and deleted things, I think you should erase the whole disk and start with a fresh backup, because you may have broken the backup set.

Also, you may not be seeing what you think you are when you look at those file sizes. Time Machine uses what are called "hard links" in the Time Machine backup. You might see what you think is say three versions of the same folder, when in reality it is just three hard links pointing to the same folder and only using X amount of space and not 3X like it appears.
 

offtheroad

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 14, 2007
183
1
Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you have messed around inside that Time Machine backup and deleted things, I think you should erase the whole disk and start with a fresh backup, because you may have broken the backup set.

Also, you may not be seeing what you think you are when you look at those file sizes. Time Machine uses what are called "hard links" in the Time Machine backup. You might see what you think is say three versions of the same folder, when in reality it is just three hard links pointing to the same folder and only using X amount of space and not 3X like it appears.
I did a Cmd i "get info" on each folder and it showed same size. I simply dragged each folder to trash and emptied each and each as it was emptying showed same about of files.
 
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