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Thread: Question on Time Machine back up

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jun 08, 2008
    Unhappy Question on Time Machine back up
    Hello all,

    I hope this is the right place to post this question: I have a 24" Mac, 4GB of memory and 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, I recently bought a 1TB WD Home version external hard drive to do my back up through Time machine.
    I have done about 8 manual back ups with no problems but it just thought of something that might happen in the future but I have no answers to thus I write to you:
    As I understand it, Time machine does back ups at certain intervals (in my case about once a week), so lets say my back up hard drive is already full and that I have deleted all my pictures and songs from the Mac, if for example I have 10 pictures on October 10, I back those up through Time Machine, then I delete those pictures from the mac, Time Machine will delete any previous back up to make space for its new back up (this case October 10). A week later I back up again but this time Time machine will not back any pictures because I already have deleted those. So what happens if in the future (let's say a year from now) I want to print any of those 10 pictures but they are not there as Time Machine would have deleted any old versions of its back up.
    Should I buy another hard drive and keep this "old" hard drive" Is there a warning from Time Machine about deleting old versions of its back ups? Is it better to just back up certain folders (kinda like with a pc) and just update this way?

    I thought the purpose of Time Machine was to keep all your information but I did not think of this before.

    I hope someone has an answer for me.

    Thank you for your time

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Aug 27, 2008
    Someone more tech savvy will answer you shortly
    I am sure but as an immediate response, you have to differentiate backup from archive. If you archive something, you have it forever. If you backup, you only have your current system state up to a certain time limit. With Time Machine, that depends on how large your EHD for it is and how much things change on your system.

    If you want to archive forever, you can still use Time Machine but you will have to use a new EHD when it tells you that your old one is full and it wants to delete an earlier backup. I have read that it will warn you before it does that but have no personal experience with same.

  3. #3

    Member Since
    Jun 08, 2008
    Thanks for your prompt response. My external hard drive is pretty large but I will follow your advice and get me a new one to archive certain folders.

    My last question will be then: How will I be able to tell the mac or Time Machine to "archive" instead of "back up" with my new EHD?

  4. #4

    MacBurg's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 26, 2007
    Waihi Beach, New Zealand
    I think you will have to create a folder structure and "Archive" yourself, as Time Machine is back-up only. An archive is a pretty serious piece of hardware, and best left to your own management, I would suggest using a syncing program such as Chronosync to help compare and update files on your archive on a regular basis.

  5. #5

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Texas, where else?
    Only the initial Time Machine back up does a full backup. Every additional backup is an incremental back up. That is, it only backs up those files that have changed or been added since the last back up.

    It keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours.
    It keeps daily backups for the past 30 days.
    It keeps weekly backups for everything older than 30 days.

    Any file that was backed up during any of the hourly backups will be available long term.

    Time Machine will not delete any of your old files until such time as the drive is full and it has to delete the oldest in order to make room for the newest.

    That is, you will have an archive of every file that has been on your computer until that time when Time Machine begins erasing the oldest data to make room for the new.

    To make a guestimate of when that might be, take a look at how much used and free space you have on the back up drive.

    I have seen no reason to not allow Time Machine to run full time. And I am connecting from a MBP to a Time Capsule wirelessly. I have noticed no sluggishness it has caused to any application, including playing WoW for hours at a time over that same wireless connection.

    Have only been using Time Machine now since the middle of August. I currently have 87GB of data on the drive being backed up and through the course of TM being on for 4 months, the backup is only taking up 135GB of my 1TB drive.

    If you would like to be doubly safe, you could get another external drive and create 2 partitions.

    On one partition, use SuperDuper and create a bootable backup of your internal drive. That way if your internal dies, you merely reboot to this backup and keep going as if nothing (much) happened (as long as you keep it up to date).

    Use the other partition for archival purposes. Between this and TM, you would then have two places to hunt down any files you may have deleted and decide later you want back. (At least you would if you copied them to this archival partition, prior to deleting them.)
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  6. #6

    Member Since
    Jun 08, 2008
    Thank you guys for all your answers. I will definitely keep backing up through Time Machine and will consider buying a second external hard drive to be super safe.

    Thank you again for your prompt responses.

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