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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

what is my Time Machine Backing up?


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iTone

 
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Ok, so i made the initial backup weeks ago and every day since, every time that it goes to backup it's backing up like 9 to 12GB of something... and it does this several times a day!

I thought it just backed up what has changed since the last backup? I don't add or modify 12 GB worth of stuff every hour. It can't backup every hour anyway because it takes about 4 to 5 hours to backup 9GB worth of data... why is it SO slow in addition?

Sometimes it will finish backing up, I won't do anything in the mac that entire day and later on it starts backing up loads of stuff again! Is this a user error issue? do I have something set wrong? or is this the way it is and I just need to get over it? Thanks!

iTone - 17" MacBook Pro 2.4, Black MacBook 2.16, iPhone 3Gs
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Goldie

 
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Check that you do not use a lot of disk images every day. If you have a couple of large encrypted images for sensitive work etc and you modify a file in the image, the whole image will have to be re-written to time machine.

This could be a cause for large backups on a regular basis...
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Do you virtualize an operating system using something like VMWare Fusion, Parallels or VirtualBox? If so, any slight change to those VMs requires that the entire VM be backed up again since they are one large file. For instance, if I did something as simple as edit one letter in a file in my Debian VM, the whole 5.82GB VM would be backed up again next time since the file has changed.

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Jaygray

 
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Just about any program that stores a ton of data in a single file and updates it constantly is not compatible with Time Machine. iPhoto is an exception to this. iPhoto is TM compatible, but here are 3 common ones that are not.

1. As vansmith mentioned, Fusion, Parallels, or any other virtual machine.
2. Aperture. Every time you add a photo it changes the Aperture Library. TM detects this and makes a backup of the entire library.
3. Entourage. Emails are stored in a single file in a Folder called Microsoft User Data in your Documents. Every time you get an email, TM wants to make another backup copy of your entire email database.

Let us know if your using any of these and we'll help you find them on your HD. Once you locate them you can exclude them from your TM backups.
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iTone

 
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Ah HA! That just may be the problem. I'm a Real Estate agent and the rest of the real estate world still uses old technology and nothing is compatible with Safari so yes... I use VMWare Fusion2 and I use it every day. Mostly just for my need to use Internet Explorer. I don't store any files in Windows per se, however my mac home folder is shared to the Windows side.

so you guys think this could be the culprit? As for the other stuff I try to stick with all the stock stuff like Mail and iPhoto to make sure I'm as compatible as I can be.

Even if this is the problem I'm not sure I want to exclude it from backing up. I've got MS Office and a couple of other things installed on the Windows side that I don't want to have to re-install if things go belly up. Unless the pros of it not backing up outweighs the cons... opinions?

iTone - 17" MacBook Pro 2.4, Black MacBook 2.16, iPhone 3Gs
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vansmith

 
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Any time any file is edited in the Windows VM will lead to it being a candidate for backup. This includes things like cookies and other files you aren't "explicitly" and consciously changing. Odds are that every time you run that VM, something is changing.

As to whether you want to back it up - it's ultimately up to you. Are you willing to put up with the size and time required to back it up? You might be better keeping your files on the Mac side if you can. If you keep all your files on your Mac outside of the VM, you can exclude your VMs from being backed up as your files will be on your Mac. The decision is ultimately yours to make. Answer the question "is it worth the hassle" and go from there.

For what it's worth, I don't back up my VMs but I don't keep any important files on them and the ones I do are accessible elsewhere.

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Jaygray

 
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The is an option for a very simple backup you can perform manually--daily, weekly, or how ever often you feel necessary. I used Parallels instead of Fusion, so someone will have to point out exactly where the VM is stored on your HD, but I believe the Windows VM is stored in a single folder, maybe even a single file.

Exclude the VM folder from Time Machine. Then, after completely shutting down Windows, simply copy the entire VM folder/file to your external HD. It's probably several GB, so it will take a few minutes. But you could do it once a week on Friday PM or at another convenient time.

If you ever needed to restore Windows. Just replace the VM folder/file with the backup copy on your external. Windows will then restart exactly as it did when the copy was made.

Just make sure you do not start the VM while your copying the file. It won't hurt the VM, but that copy of the backup would be corrupted. If you do accidentally, just shut the VM down and start the copy over.

Not a perfect solution, but that's how I make a once a week backup of my 10gb Entourage email folder.
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Then of course you can go into TM options and tell it what not to back up. I do not include any Applications as they are always being updated. For my scene i use Time Machine Editor and set it to back up once a day rather than hourly as i have an 'off site' superduper bootable back up and feel hourly back ups on TM an overkill.
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