What do YOU exclude from your Time Machine backup?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by drumaero, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. drumaero macrumors newbie

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    May 6, 2008
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    Auburn, WA
    #1
    I'm curious about the different strategies people have for optimizing their time machine backups. What folders/files do you exclude?
     
  2. David G. macrumors 65816

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    Alaska
  3. yudilks macrumors regular

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #3
    I exclude my VMWare Fusion Windows XP file.. It's so huge that every time I log in to Windows visa VMWare, Time Machine detects it as "modified" and back the whole file up...

    Secondly is my Entourage database file. This is not a big deal to me since I have all original e-mail in my Exchange server...
     
  4. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    Jul 4, 2005
    #4
    At the moment I'm using a 60GB LaCie Little Disk so I exclude everything except for my iPhoto library and documents folder. Once I get a big FireWire external then everything gets backed up.
     
  5. pjrobertson macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 14, 2007
    #5
    The main one that I exclude is my downloads folder. Seeing as it changes constantly, backing it up every hour would eat up all my space in no time!

    Also my VMware images and my movies folder, as well as /Developer/ - I can get that off the install DVD if I ever need to.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #6
    I exclude everything. I find that Time Machine is not the most space-efficient method of backing up, although it might work out great for you. I simply drag and drop my key folders onto an external drive to back up, and also use iDisk to sync some of the most critical folders. The only folder I don't back up is my Music folder, because I keep an untouched copy of my collection on an external drive and I don't need it duplicated again. It's way too big and time consuming, anyway, at over 150 GB.
     
  7. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    Shropshire, UK
    #7
    I exclude Fusion Virtual Machines, Downloads directory and Entourage Identity directory. I backup the Entourage directory separately once a day, and use Windows backup in the VMs to back important stuff up in them, but don't bother with the downloads directory
     
  8. ltldrummerboy macrumors 68000

    ltldrummerboy

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    #8
    Neither do I. Hello to a fellow Alaskan.
     
  9. millar876 macrumors 6502a

    millar876

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    Location:
    Peterhead, Scotland UK
    #9
    I exclude my downloads folder and the folder i rip DVDs to (for my ipod and Xbox and mac mini media center) and dont even use time machine on my mac mini media center
     
  10. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #10
    - Time Machine partition. already exlcuded by default.
    - Boot Camp partition. excluded by default after Windows is installe
    - Desktop folder because i store a lot of random files here and usually delete or move them.
    - Developer folder as it comes on the install DVD so no need to back it up.
    - Downloads folder because i usually move stuff after its downloaded and i dont want to backup bittorrent downloads.
    - Guest user folder because i created a guest user with custom settings and i dont want it to be backed up when logged in as its deleted anyway when logged out.
    - System Files and Applications as they are also on the install DVD and to save space. i probably cant restore a system backup with these excluded.
    - VMware Fusion virtual machine.
     
  11. Keleko macrumors 68000

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    Mar 26, 2008
    #11
    I exclude Downloads, Music (I back that up differently so I can get to it from my work Windows box), Movies (where I put ripped DVDs - don't need them backed up), a Games folder (a big disk space use, and I don't really want to back them up) and a Temp folder I created for random stuff I don't want backed up while I'm messing with it.

    So with all that exclusion, I still have > 300MB free on my 500MB Time Capsule. I do have my Music folder stored there, too, on a user level folder for access by other systems for shared music files (read only so they don't get messed up).

    I'd say the important exclusion is Downloads because it changes frequently. The other important exclusion is any VM bottle you may have (unless it is pointing to a Boot Camp partition, then it is already exluded). Since a non-Boot Camp VM is just a single file that changes every time you use it, it'll use up your backup space very quickly when it gets backed up every time.
     
  12. cptpower macrumors regular

    cptpower

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    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #12
    - Virtual Machines
    - folders of customers I've done HDD recoveries for (I don't need backups of their data)

    That's pretty much it; though after reading through this forum, I'm starting to see some advantages to excluding the downloads folder as well.
     
  13. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #13
    You do know they changed that in the last update, right?


    I didn't exclude anything until I realized I was filling up my backup drive too fast and only had a few backups on there, then I started excluding my Downloads folder (if I want to keep something, it gets moved somewhere else anyways), my DVD rips folder, and my System Files. Don't need any of those backed up anyways, and now my backups take up a lot less space.

    jW
     
  14. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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  15. priller macrumors regular

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  16. SinCityJets macrumors newbie

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    May 16, 2008
    #16

    Did they?? How did they change it? Does it not back up the whole file now??
     
  17. mdgolom macrumors 6502

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    Oct 26, 2006
    #17
    I exclude downloads, applications and Parallels files from my backups. The files for Parallels changes all the time and no sense backing up applications. Also, I exclude my EyeTV (TV recordings) folder.
     
  18. kblessinggr macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    #18
    I exclude
    - Any of the external drives (TM usually does that by default)
    - Download Folder (As they get moved out when I'm ready to back em up manually)
    - Logs, Tmps, Cache folders (even if they're gone in a restore it hurts nothing, and would only take up space from changes)
    - My Virtual Machines folders
    - The 'vm' folder where sleepimage is held (not needed and thats 2GB thats bound to change every few backups)

    What I would LOVE to find , is where photoshop keeps it's temporary scratch file at.
     
  19. kblessinggr macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2008
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    Grand Rapids, Mi
    #19
    The way TM works in a nut shell is that if a file remains unchanged, it only creates a hard-link to the previous backup of the actual file (in other words it looks like you got hourly copies, but only the unchanged originals a few backups prior actually takes up space).

    If a file changes, even a couple bytes off, then the new backup folder contains an actual physical copy of the changed file taking up the needed space, then hard-links are created for every backup from there til the next time the file changes.

    Thats why stuff like caches, temporary files, scratch disks, virtual machines, email storage (as single files) are problematic for storage, because they can change even in the most minor ways and rather than backing up just that incremental change, it saves the entire file as a new copy to be backed up. It's also one of the reasons why Apple Mail saves all files individually instead of in store files like Thunderbird and most other mail clients.
     
  20. krye macrumors 68000

    krye

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    USA
    #20
    My Windows Fusion virtual machine, since I use it like once a year.
     
  21. drumaero thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 6, 2008
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    Auburn, WA
    #21
    I have heard some claim that TM automatically excludes caches. Is this not true?
     
  22. kblessinggr macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    #22
    Unless apple confirms it, I feel safter actually having them excluded myself. Course apple doesn't always know what files are tmps and what are not unless they're actually placed in a system-wide folder known for caches, temps and so forth. Thus why I'm trying to figure out where Photoshop keeps' its scratch file, cuz I doubt TM understands that its a temporary thing. But I would imagine it would been smart of apple to exclude the known locations such as /vm under private and so forth.

    So known cache/temp/etc locations - Yes I'd expect it, but I exclude them myself anyways
    Anywhere else - nope.
     
  23. Virgil-TB2 macrumors 65816

    Virgil-TB2

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    Aug 3, 2007
    #23
    Wouldn't that mean you would lose everything if your system went down?

    My experience is that if the system dies completely, when you reformat and re-install, the new system will not access the old TM backup from the previous system. On the other hand if you back up your *system* to the TM drive, then you can point to it during install as a source. I had this exact problem early on anyway, but maybe they have changed it since 10.0.

    If you are just backing up your documents and pictures folder, it would make more sense to not use TM at all and just use a regular backup program like SuperDuper! to move changed files to the backup.
     
  24. kblessinggr macrumors member

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    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    #24

    I thought that was one of the ideas behind Time Machine, I know if you have a .Mac account you can use that to backup the home directory type of content. But time machine has the benefit of taking a snapshot of your entire working system. So I guess after you got your OS freshly installed you could tell TM, here's my backup, restore to this point.
     
  25. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #25
    Yes, it essentially works like a package instead of a single large file now, so it backs up changes within the file and not the entire file itself.

    jW
     

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