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  1. #1
    Ehd full!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I was just wondering how long a person needs to keep all of the backups that are done on my machine. I have a 2TB EHD and it is more than half full of just backups dating back to 2012...am I alright with deleting all of them in that specific year???

  2. #2
    Ehd full!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    MYmacROX's Avatar
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    If you are using Time Machine to perform your backups, it will automatically delete the oldest backups to make room for new ones once the external drive is full.
    64GB iPhone 6, 64GB iPad Air 2.

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  3. #3
    Ehd full!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    RadDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justk View Post
    I was just wondering how long a person needs to keep all of the backups that are done on my machine. I have a 2TB EHD and it is more than half full of just backups dating back to 2012...am I alright with deleting all of them in that specific year???
    Quote Originally Posted by MYmacROX View Post
    If you are using Time Machine (TM) to perform your backups, it will automatically delete the oldest backups to make room for new ones once the external drive is full.
    Well, I've been doing TM backups for about 18 months on external HDs, one each for my iMac & MBPro, and have wondered about the same question posed by the OP - now, I know that TM will automatically delete older BUs, but SO MANY are made w/ a HD constantly attached (as w/ my iMac); and yes I know that the timing of these backups can be adjusted.

    But, in trying to clarify the original question, if one wants to delete some of these older BUs, what are the issues and precautions? For example, is that first backup critical (OS X etc.) and if files have been deleted on the internal HD or SSD more recently, I assume that this data is lost - any comments? Dave
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  4. #4
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    chscag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justk View Post
    I was just wondering how long a person needs to keep all of the backups that are done on my machine. I have a 2TB EHD and it is more than half full of just backups dating back to 2012...am I alright with deleting all of them in that specific year???
    There's absolutely no reason to keep backups that long unless you just like to. Open Time Machine and start deleting them one by one (for year 2012). It's going to take awhile because Time Machine will not allow you to batch delete the entire year all at once.

    I keep my backups for 12 months. Which means I will delete backups from October 2013 in November of 2014.

  5. #5
    Yes I am using Time Machine and yes it did say that it had deleted my latest dated back ups!!! thank you very much I am going to start deleting the oldest ones at least from 2012!!!!!

  6. #6
    Ehd full!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Slydude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Open Time Machine and start deleting them one by one (for year 2012). It's going to take awhile because Time Machine will not allow you to batch delete the entire year all at once.
    Is it possible to delete the initial / otherwise important copy of a file? In other words once the initial copy of a file is made in a Time Machine backup subsequent backups include pointers to the original file until the file is modified. What happens if the initial copy of a file is in the stuff that got deleted?
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  7. #7
    Ehd full!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    RadDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
    Is it possible to delete the initial / otherwise important copy of a file? In other words once the initial copy of a file is made in a Time Machine backup subsequent backups include pointers to the original file until the file is modified. What happens if the initial copy of a file is in the stuff that got deleted?
    Sly... - you're understanding my query, i.e. are those first files made by TM necessary for the entire process - can files be deleted w/o discretion? And again, if past backups are deleted w/ files that were removed later from the internal HD, then these will not be recoverable? Dave
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  8. #8
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    chscag's Avatar
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    @Slydude and Dave:

    I don't believe Time Machine works that way. The many times I've used it, it has never failed me and I have been removing backups the way I described above since first using it in Leopard.

    I believe Time Machine keeps the full integrity of the backup in place so that you can delete older backups without the fear of removing any particular file. Otherwise, Time Machine would not have the option to delete old backups when a drive gets full or for that matter, be able to delete any backup. Backup programs which can back up incrementally all pretty much work the same way.

  9. #9
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    Slydude's Avatar
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    I had not really thought too much about it until I read Dave's question. Apple has always pointed out that links are used in subsequent backups of unchanged files to keep the backup from consuming too much space. I think the assumption behind Time Machine is that the user is not going to use something like Finder to delete files from backups.

    I know Time Machine deletes older backups if you are in a pinch for space. I figured that some variation of the following procedure takes place when TM deletes backups.

    1. The backup that is about to be deleted is identified (oldest backup).
    2. Any unmodified files that are original files (not links) are moved to the next oldest backup.
    3. The hard links are updated for files that were moved.
    4. Oldest backup deleted.
    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
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  10. #10
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    chscag's Avatar
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    I had not really thought too much about it until I read Dave's question. Apple has always pointed out that links are used in subsequent backups of unchanged files to keep the backup from consuming too much space. I think the assumption behind Time Machine is that the user is not going to use something like Finder to delete files from backups.
    You can't use Finder to delete files from TM backups. As a matter of fact, there is no way that I know of to delete single files from a TM backup. You can only delete backups from within Time Machine and then only by individual date. The system even asks you for your admin password before it will delete a backup. And as I stated to the OP, they can not be batched deleted - at least not that I know.

  11. #11
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    Slydude's Avatar
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    I get that. Although I think I read somewhere a while back that deleting backups from the Finder was supported until Lion.

    Here's the thing though and for purposes of discussion let's assume any deletions are done within Time Machine. Let's also assume you are in Time Machine and decide for whatever reason to delete a backup. What happens if in doing that you delete the copy of a file that hasn't been modified in a while. I thought subsequent copies of the file were merely links to the original file.

    It seems to me like Time Machine still has to go through a process similar to what I outlined above. At least doing the deletion from within TM would seem to facilitate such a process.
    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
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  12. #12
    Just leave it up to Time Machine to manage the backups unless you use the HD for other purposes!

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