time machine question about previously b/u filess

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by elfinway, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. elfinway macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014
    I am trying to understand something. Have osx 10.8.4 and have been backing up w/ tm for a long time. I know that TM will only b/u new files and folders that have been added since the previous back up, but what if I want to access a file that was backed up months before say 8 or 9 months ago? The previous back ups only show what had been recently added. Is there any way to access files that was backed up long before? I hope I am being clear with my question.
  2. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 8, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    Although Time Machine only needs to add recently changed files to the backup disk each time it runs, when you "Enter Time Machine", you get a complete picture of the backed up volume as it existed on the selected date/time. You can browse to any file and restore it. If the file wasn't changed recently, you will be accessing a version that was copied to the backup in the past.

    You can even directly browse the Time Machine disk and get the same effect. It appears as though there are numerous *complete* backups of the file system. Time Machine uses Unix tricks to have many pointers to the unchanged files.
  3. bobcan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2007
    Sunny but Cold.. Canada
    Is the 'earliest date shown' later than __ ..

    I am not sure if you are saying that you are 'looking for a file' that is Dated Previous to what the Time Machine File says available..?? If that is the case, then likely a definite NO.. ** maybe you have Filled Up the Drive and it will then Delete the Oldest Copy as it adds a newer one, that is a design of the device.. and it will continue to do this each time you backup again, as it needs the space to do so..

    If you know approximately WHEN the file was in existence, you can go to the TM Drive, look in it, and open any Backup File (Dates are shown) in Finder as well to look through them, but unlikely to be any different than what Time Machine itself shows from my experience.. ** If you have changed a LARGE Folder by renaming it (or moving another LARGE Folder into one) or some such, it may have re-written over a LOT of Older Backups to achieve the space it needed!! :(
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you don't see anything backed up other then the most recent, then its probably gone. TM will remove older backups as the space fills ups on the hard drive. If you recently upgraded the OS,or made massive changes, then TM will re-backup everything instead of doing a differential backup which of course will eat up your space and may cause TM to remove older backups.

    One final check to see if its there, mount the TM volume in Finder and navigate there instead of using Time Machine.
  5. elfinway thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2014

    Thx for the responses. I understand things a bit better now.

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