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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Time Machine SETUP
    I am using Time Machine with a 1 Terabyte backup drive. It is full because Time Machine backs up everything everyday, creating multiple copies of the same files (I think). Can I set up the backup so it only backs up new files? I do not need multiple copies of the same file

  2. #2

    McBie's Avatar
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    Time Machine only makes a backup of files that have changed, not all files every time.
    So there must be something else that is going on.
    How long have you been using Time Machine and what is the size of your internal disk ?
    Are you running virtual machines ?

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  3. #3

    louishen's Avatar
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    When the disk becomes full it will make more room by deleting older copies itself, so try leaving it ans see how much free space it makes when it reorganises its backups
    Member of the Month September 2008 & August 2012 | Found advice useful? use the rep system

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    McBie,
    Thanks for your quick response.
    I have been using Time Machine since Dec. 2012. I have 166G free out of 640G internal disk. The Seagate backup drive is full (19G available out of 1T). I don't know what virtual machines are. I use the mac mostly for photos and family videos. I do not play games on it, or processing of other documents.
    Tom

  5. #5

    McBie's Avatar
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    OK,, 19 GB is still a lot of space and as Louishen mentioned, Time Machine will delete old backup as needed.
    What I can think of is your video work .... are you doing video editing on large files ? If that spans multiple hours of work, Time Machine will make backups of the same movie file.
    Virtual machines is all about running another operating system ( eg. Windows ) inside OS X.

    Are you running Mavericks ? If yes, you can quickly see what type of files take up the largest portion of your disk so they would also be the most likely candidate for the large backups.

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Dec 07, 2012
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    Im not running Windows in the back ground, nor am I running Mavericks yet. I do have some large video files from home movies. I try to finish one, make a hard copy, then let Time Machine back it up. If I am understanding correctly, each time I make a change / work on the video, Time Machine will make a complete backup. Correct? I have not worked on videos in a few months (no time). Does this hold true for slide shows as well? My wife will tweak a slide show several times before finishing it. The shows are rather large (30 mins to an hour) Also, because TimeMachine is making several copies of Movies as I work on them, can I keep a final version on the backup and delete all others?

  7. #7

    McBie's Avatar
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    I think we are getting closer to the root cause.
    Time Machine will only make a backup of a file that has been changed since last backup. If you work on movie files / slide show then Time Machine will make a backup of these files each time they change. If you don't touch them for several weeks/months, then TM will not backup those file, so no worries.
    You can let Time Machine take a backup of your final version and then you can delete all previous versions manually from the Time Machine backup. ( you can delete all previous versions of a file inside Time Machine )
    One tip here is that you should rename your final version to ensure that , when you delete all versions of filename xyz in Time Machine, you are not also deleting the final version.
    Am I making sense ?

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Dec 07, 2012
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    Yes, you are making good sense. Ill take a look through the time machine backups. Thank you for taking time out of your day to help me work through this issue.

  9. #9


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    The problems reported by the OP should now be resolved based upon advice given in the following posts.

    As this is a common problem, just thought I'd mention another issue that can fill up the time machine drive and therefore restrict the amount of older backups retained. I find that many users working in publishing/graphics design and using entourage or outlook can accumulate very large database files in their identity. I regularly see identities between 20 - 60GB in size, not ideal as they are also at risk from corrupting and not recovering from a database rebuild. Not good if it's a pop account. The issue re time machine is that if one new email is received, then the next time time machine backs up it re copies the huge database file. The only option then is to use a utility to typically set the backup period to daily or to invest in a much larger external drive.
    Steve
    UK

  10. #10

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    For those that do not need to keep previous versions of files...
    Another option would be to start using cloning software, CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper!, rather than TM.
    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.

  11. #11

    chscag's Avatar
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    Good advice from Steve and bobtomay. But since I'm paranoid about backups, I use both Time Machine and CCC. However, as Steve points out, the Time Machine interval can be changed either with a third party utility or by simply removing the external drive and only attaching it to make the backup.

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