Time machine is irritating.

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I have 633.6 GB of stuff to back up.



My backup drive has 698.3 GB capacity.



The problem is, time machine doesn't know how to delete old backups when there's no longer room. For instance, my backups date back to April 30th at the moment, and time machine CAN'T backup right now because it says there isn't enough room on the drive.



Since the data to be backed up is less than the drives capacity, time machine should always be able to erase something in order to have at least a backup of all the data as it is right now, correct?



This is irritating.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,877moderator
    They are incremental backups though so it shouldn't be backing up 633.6 GB, it should only backup what's changed since last time unless you changed that much.



    It won't be able to or need to delete the old stuff unless it's stuff that has been updated since.



    This is why apps like Superduper/Carbon Copy Cloner are better IMO. Most people simply need a backup of what they currently have. It is highly unlikely people will need to revert to different version of old backups.



    I guess you could wipe your drive and let Time Machine start again but that kinda defeats the purpose of a backup. Time machine has an option to keep versions of backups longer than a certain time though in system prefs. What is that set to?
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    They are incremental backups though so it shouldn't be backing up 633.6 GB, it should only backup what's changed since last time unless you changed that much.



    It won't be able to or need to delete the old stuff unless it's stuff that has been updated since.



    This is why apps like Superduper/Carbon Copy Cloner are better IMO. Most people simply need a backup of what they currently have. It is highly unlikely people will need to revert to different version of old backups.



    I guess you could wipe your drive and let Time Machine start again but that kinda defeats the purpose of a backup. Time machine has an option to keep versions of backups longer than a certain time though in system prefs. What is that set to?



    There is no setting for that.



    I just want time machine to back up all my stuff in it's present state. 633GB of stuff on a 698GB drive. Should be do-able.



    It's not backing up all the 633GB.. you're right. I moved some stuff around, so now it wants to back it up in the new locations while retaining memory of the files in their original locations, so it wants to back up 52GB of stuff, but says there's only 40GB available or something. Why can't it just let go of the past and back up all my stuff now? It has the space to!!
  • Reply 3 of 13
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,877moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post


    There is no setting for that.



    I just want time machine to back up all my stuff in it's present state. 633GB of stuff on a 698GB drive. Should be do-able.



    It's not backing up all the 633GB.. you're right. I moved some stuff around, so now it wants to back it up in the new locations while retaining memory of the files in their original locations, so it wants to back up 52GB of stuff, but says there's only 40GB available or something. Why can't it just let go of the past and back up all my stuff now? It has the space to!!



    The Time Machine page at Apple's site say:



    Back up only what you need.

    By default, Time Machine backs up everything on your Mac. If you want to exclude certain files, just go to Time Machine preferences, click Options, then select the folders you wish to skip. Want to delete all instances of a file or folder previously backed up? Easy enough. Launch Time Machine, select the item to be deleted, then choose "Delete from all backups" from the action menu in the Finder toolbar.



    I thought I saw a system pref once that had an option to only keep changes that were up to a certain time old. Guess not.



    I would recommend that if you backup stuff to a drive that is almost the same size that you get rid of some folders you don't need backed up. So don't backup your applications folder because you will likely have the installers anyway and the system apps are on your installation disk. Just exclude those folders from backup.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    The Time Machine page at Apple's site say:



    Back up only what you need.

    By default, Time Machine backs up everything on your Mac. If you want to exclude certain files, just go to Time Machine preferences, click Options, then select the folders you wish to skip. Want to delete all instances of a file or folder previously backed up? Easy enough. Launch Time Machine, select the item to be deleted, then choose "Delete from all backups" from the action menu in the Finder toolbar.



    I thought I saw a system pref once that had an option to only keep changes that were up to a certain time old. Guess not.



    I would recommend that if you backup stuff to a drive that is almost the same size that you get rid of some folders you don't need backed up. So don't backup your applications folder because you will likely have the installers anyway and the system apps are on your installation disk. Just exclude those folders from backup.



    Thanks!



    I deleted all backups of my Users folder, and the backup drive now has 186GB free. The users folder is only 118GB. So I did a new backup, and now everything will be backed up with 68GB to spare.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    So, the same problem came up again. It said it requires 102GB for the next backup, and only 50GB were available.



    I erased the backup drive, and started over.



    Backup drive = 698 GB.



    Data to back up = 652 GB.



    With an empty backup drive, I tell time machine to use that drive, and select "back up now."



    Backup fails because "782.9 GB of space is required for the backup, and only 698 GB are available."





    What now? How can it require that much space? It's a brand new, clean drive, and i'm backing up 652.4 GB of data. Could there be invisible files or something? How do I make those show?
  • Reply 6 of 13
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,167member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post


    So, the same problem came up again. It said it requires 102GB for the next backup, and only 50GB were available.



    I erased the backup drive, and started over.



    Backup drive = 698 GB.



    Data to back up = 652 GB.



    With an empty backup drive, I tell time machine to use that drive, and select "back up now."



    Backup fails because 782 GB of space is required for the backup, and only 698 GB are available.





    What now?



    I have noticed that TM on my Mac is eating a lot of data real quick. After looking into the matter I discovered that my Parallels Desktop Windows disk image is being backed up (more than 30GB) every time I start Windows using Parallels.

    If you are using Parallel Desktop or VMWare make sure to exclude the ~/Library/Parallels from the backup.



    I hope this will help.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    I have noticed that TM on my Mac is eating a lot of data real quick. After looking into the matter I discovered that my Parallels Desktop Windows disk image is being backed up (more than 30GB) every time I start Windows using Parallels.

    If you are using Parallel Desktop or VMWare make sure to exclude the ~/Library/Parallels from the backup.



    I hope this will help.



    I have a bootcamp volume, but time machine has never backed that up in the past.. and there isn't even an option to exclude it from being backed up. If it is backing it up, that would be an extra 40GB or so, but we're looking at an extra 130GB here.



    I only have 652 GB of data on my machine. The backup drive has 698 GB free. This seems to defy science.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,167member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post


    I have a bootcamp volume, but time machine has never backed that up in the past.. and there isn't even an option to exclude it from being backed up. If it is backing it up, that would be an extra 40GB or so, but we're looking at an extra 130GB here.



    I only have 652 GB of data on my machine. The backup drive has 698 GB free. This seems to defy science.



    I suggest you start excluding some files such as system files. You might have some large files being backed up. I used to have 60GB External HD and used it to back up only important files from my 250GB of data on my iMac and 60GB MacBook. It worked fine. Now I am using 500GB TC and still have a little more than 170GB free space on the TC. Try to give up those system files.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    I suggest you start excluding some files such as system files. You might have some large files being backed up. I used to have 60GB External HD and used it to back up only important files from my 250GB of data on my iMac and 60GB MacBook. It worked fine. Now I am using 500GB TC and still have a little more than 170GB free space on the TC. Try to give up those system files.



    I wiped the backup drive clean. It's empty. 698.1 GB of space.



    I have two other hard drives in the machine. One of them is the startup disk, which has 274 GB of data on it, and that's including ALL system files. The other drive is a storage drive that has 378 GB of data on it.



    There is no other data on the computer.



    378 + 274 = 652 GB.



    The backup drive is currently empty, and has 698 GB available.



    And yet, when I tell time machine to backup those 652 GB, it says it can't do it because the backup requires 780 GB of space.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Different HD drivers can block out the writes differently. On small files this can make on file take up slightly more physical space than it does on another drive, even though they both take up the same logical space. Add up those difference across several hundred thousand writes and bingo, different total size. This can especially be the case since you have multiple partitions. When they are formatted the OS will make block size judgements based on the partition size. Smaller partitions, smaller blocks. One big partition on the BU drive with big blocks, ergo size differences per write.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by thehellgate911 View Post


    I have 633.6 GB of stuff to back up.



    My backup drive has 698.3 GB capacity.



    The problem is, time machine doesn't know how to delete old backups when there's no longer room. For instance, my backups date back to April 30th at the moment, and time machine CAN'T backup right now because it says there isn't enough room on the drive.



    Since the data to be backed up is less than the drives capacity, time machine should always be able to erase something in order to have at least a backup of all the data as it is right now, correct?



    This is irritating.



    Get a Drobo.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,877moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Get a Drobo.



    Imagine the box in this video:



    http://www.drobo.com/products_demo.html



    Take out two drives and put a Mac Mini in there (it would probably have to be a little bit wider but no 2.5" drive). Drives *should* be that easy to replace. Screw Time Machine, with a setup like that as RAID that duplicates files as you write, you have an immediate backup.



    Anyway, hellgate911, for the size of drive you are backing up to, I think Superduper or Carbon Copy Cloner will suit your needs better. If you plan to use TM, get a 1TB drive.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    bbwibbwi Posts: 812member
    Sounds like a question for Apple Support but I also assume there is a bunch of metadata it needs to write such as time, date, location, application info it needs for restores, etc
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