What SHOULDN'T I Have Time Machine backup?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by JimmyDreams, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. JimmyDreams macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    I could use some help from some gurus out there...

    I want to set up Time Machine (have my external drive already mounted and running). But I DON'T want it to back up some things....like the OS X itself. If I have a major crash, I'll have to reboot from the CD an reinstall the software anyway.

    Should I just tell TM to ignore the SYSTEM folder? Are are there other areas that are 'common' that I should have it ignore as well?

    I'm still indecided what to do about my iTunes music. I'll have it ignore all my video media, but the music I'll probably include in the backups.

  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Let me ask you this: If you have a major crash, why wouldn't you WANT the system folder?

    When I was messing around with partitions, I ended up formatting the OS X drive my mistake. Restoring OS X was as easy as 1. Backup system from time machine backup. I didn't have to restore any settings, or import anything.

    If I wasn't saving my system folder it would have been more like 1. Install OS X. 2. Install iLife and all other apps that don't have a drag-n-drop install. 3. transfer files. 4. set up machine.

    See, it's just not as nice...
  3. J@ffa macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2002
    Behind you!
    To be frank, with storage so cheap these days, my advice is to just go out and grab the largest external HD you can afford and just let Time Machine do its thing. Obviously, if you've got a 4TB video library things are a little different, but I wouldn't fret over it unless you're low on space. You never know when you're going to need a file you deleted, or what odds and ends you suddenly discover that you can't live without when it comes to restoring from your backup.

    I consider myself to be pretty well versed in what goes where in OS X, but I simply have a full Time Machine backup with exemptions only for certain folders I use to dump video projects I'm working on at that particular moment in time (so I don't end up throwing all the free space on the drive into a black hole). I just don't want to run the risk that Apple changes something, and that innocuous folder I thought I could exclude turns out to have something vital in it. Pretty low chance, all things considered, but it never hurts to be safe. Plus, 1TB drives are, like, totally cheap! :p
  4. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
  5. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    If you do use Parallels or VMware Fusion make sure to exclude the Virtual Machine file, the one that holds the virtual machine drive. What generally happens is every time you run Windows and then are done with it Time Machine will actually backup the whole virtual machine rather than just the changes inside Windows.
    Example, say your Windows virtual machine size is 4GB well TM will backup 4GB every time you run Windows.
  6. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    I exclude the Downloads directory. If I need it, I can download it again. Or, I've already installed it, and it is getting backed up where I installed it.

    I exclude .Trash. If I want it back, it'll be in one of my backups somewhere else.

    I exclude Movies since I'm using that as a temporary storage for a ripped DVD until I've watched it. I usually delete the files after that. I see no point in backing up stuff I'm not going to keep anyway.

    I exclude /Users/userid/Library/Caches because those are temporary files anyway. There's no need to back that stuff up.

    I also created a Temp directory to try stuff out and decide if I want to keep it. If I don't, then it isn't taking up backup space.

    I also exclude my iTunes directory, but that's because I back it up differently. I just make a copy of it on my Time Capsule and read the music files from my Windows system with media player (not using iTunes on it). That way I can share the music files on other computers, and media player doesn't interfere with the iTunes management. It's only a copy of my library anyway, so if it screws up I can always blow it away and recopy from my main library.
  7. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    May I ask how are you excluding the Trash? I wasn't aware that TM backs up the Trash. Also where's the navigation to the Trash that gets backed up in TM?
  8. Keleko macrumors 68000

    Mar 26, 2008
    I don't know if it does or not, actually. Maybe it doesn't, but I put it in the list anyway. I did "show invisible items" when I searched for it.
  9. JimmyDreams thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I'm going to tackle setting up Time Machine later today and I'll see what I can exclude or not. I'm sure if something bad happens and I really NEED my TM info, whatever I need will surely be in a folder that I excluded!!:rolleyes:
  10. Dimwhit macrumors 68000


    Apr 10, 2007
    I exclude the system folder and all the system files, as well as the Applications folder. But then, I have a second backup hard drive that is cloning my main drive with SuperDuper, so I always have a backup of those files anyway.
  11. wilfried macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2008
    Time Machine doesn't back up trash or cache. I just checked, and there were no backups, even though I hadn't excluded them.
  12. TH-Gunner macrumors regular

    Mar 28, 2008
    I don't think TM backs up essential system files anyway. If you notice, a full backup takes up less space than your Macintosh HD hard drive. For example:

    My Macintosh HD is using ~20GB.
    My TM backup folder is only using ~15GB or something.

    And the reason is exactly what you said: you use the install disk anyway to use the TM utility.

    PS: if you ever have to restore from a TM backup, you can't continue the backup from where you were before the crash/restore. Well you can, but you have to go through with some tweaking...

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