Time Machine -- What happens to old files?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ziggyonice, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. ziggyonice macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #1
    I've got two external hard drives: one exclusively for Time Machine backups, and the other for my large media files. I recently cleared my previous Time Machine backups and setup its options so that my media external would also be included in the backup.

    But my question is this: When Time Machine runs out of space on the backup external hard drive, it automatically deletes older backups. Does this mean it would delete even the first backup -- even my media drive files that have been sitting there, untouched, since the first backup?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #2
    Yes and no. It does delete the old backups, yes - but you're forgetting that Time Machine uses hard links to preserve the file structure, even if older backups get removed. Therefore, your media files will still be there, along with everything else TM backed up. If, however, an old file that does NOT exist currently is in a backup that gets removed, and it's the only remaining reference to that file, then it will be lost.
     
  3. ziggyonice thread starter macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #3
    Gotcha, thanks. I'll make a second backup of those files then, just to be safe.
     
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #4
    You're welcome to maintain multiple copies, but you've got it backwards. Time Machine will only discard a backup of a deleted file if it was deleted before the earliest backup it has on record. How long that is depends on how big your backup drive is, but it's likely that a deleted file will still be recoverable for a number of months after its deletion. If you have a very old file that you just deleted, it will always be recoverable in Time Machine.
     

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