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Thread: time machine

  1. #1
    time machine
    lori5060's Avatar
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    time machine
    I think I posted a similar question previously or read on another post.
    and I don't even know if this is the correct forum to post this!


    I dont do backups that often but time to do one as I am working on upgrading to Mojave.

    when I inserted my backup drive to MacBook Pro...a bunch of screens popped up one behind each other. there are so many of them.
    are they backups? I opened the drive on its own and there were only 5 backups.
    no matter.

    my issue is how do I get to the screen where I can do a backup again?
    I cannot get past all those many screen snapshots. options are restore or cancel.

    hope someone can help....thnx

    in the meantime, I will just copy/paste folders to external drive. tho that only is my at a files and not apps etc!
    Last edited by lori5060; 10-29-2019 at 02:34 PM. Reason: added info

  2. #2
    time machine
    IWT's Avatar
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    The way you describe the "bunch of screens popped up" makes we wonder if you were entering Time Machine - that is, did you by any chance click on the Time Machine icon in the top menu bar and the click on "Enter Time Machine"?

    If you did, that is not the way to get Time Machine (TM) to back up. You connect the TM External Hard Drive (EHD) to your Mac, then click on the TM icon in the top menu bar and choose "Back Up Now".

    If, in fact, you did go about things as described in the last sentence - and given that, by your own admission,
    I dont do backups that often
    ,

    then it is possible that the EHD may need to be reformatted (as OS X Extended (Journaled)) and a clean and new TM backup made.

    Obviously, I'm working in the dark as I don't know your exact setup. Time Machine is a very good start to backing up and, ideally should be done regularly. If you left it to do this automatically, it would be hourly. That doesn't suit everyone especially if you have a Notebook. In addition TM creates snapshots which, temporarily take up space.

    The well respected alternative is to use a bootable cloned BU such as Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) or SuperDuper! (SD!).

    In the meantime, perhaps you could tell us exactly when you did your last TM backup and how you went about it this time - getting those "bunch of screens"?

    We can take you through all the procedures. We are here to help.

    Ian
    Ian

  3. #3
    time machine
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    I will just copy/paste folders to external drive.
    Be very, very cautious doing that, if the external drive is your TM backup drive. You do NOT want to overwrite anything in the backup because what is there are not real files, but links and links to files. If you break a link, you can lose the entire backup system.
    Jake

  4. #4
    time machine
    lori5060's Avatar
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    thnx Ian...i will look at my external backup drive and check out its format and contents.

    Jake...oooh I did not know that backups are only links. don't quite understand this. will have to do some thinking.
    so that if I move folders and files around or delete them on my Mac, they will no longer able to view on that backup drive?
    or do you mean not to edit files on backup drive itself?

    is that the same way super duper works or any other backup?

  5. #5
    time machine
    lori5060's Avatar
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    ok Ian
    I checked format of my backup external drive...it is Mac OS Extended (journaled) so I presume that all is well there.
    I have backups Jan 1, 2019, may 27, 2019, June 27, 2019 and last one aug 8,2019.

    I don't remember exactly what I did on my last backup.

    this time I did again as what you suggested...
    I connected drive to Mac but then as you said...click on TM icon in top menu bar and choose backup now...
    my TM file is in apps...so when I open it...I get those 8 (snapshot) screens showing dates on right now back to jan 1/19.
    there is no option anywhere to backup now!!

    what am I missing???

    I read about super duper a long time ago and have app in my apps folder. when I had this same problem. but whomever helped me at that time..we got thru it and I was able to use time machine no problem. but I have problem again. I must be doing something wrong.

  6. #6
    time machine
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    That is not how you control Time Machine. The icon on the top bar opens a menu, one of which is "Open Time Machine Preferences" and one is "Back Up Now," and one is "Enter Time machine." You do NOT want to Enter Time Machine as that is a display of all of your backups in a cascade of windows (the thing you call "snapshot" screens). What you want to do is to Click on Back Up Now and then wait for the backup to complete.
    Jake

  7. #7
    time machine
    lori5060's Avatar
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    now I'm not understanding. when I plug in my EHD the icon shows on desktop
    no icon on top bar opens.

    aha....found it.... I need to go into system preference and click on time machine! now I remember it well.
    thanks so much!!! will document this so when I do backups again should not have this issue.

  8. #8
    time machine
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    As for the previous post (#4), some tutorial needed.

    Time Machine, on the first backup, copies EVERYTHING to the backup drive. On the next backup, it looks at what has changed, and only copies what has changed to the backup drive, but then creates what are called links to the unchanged files and folders. On the next backup, it looks to see what changed since the previous backup, copies what changed and links to what has not. For something unchanged from the original file, you now have the original and two linked links. Repeat this over time until you get to where TM starts to consolidate older backups. It then modifies the links to point to the daily link, or weekly link, depending on how old the link is. It keeps hourly backups for 24 hours, then consolidates to a daily backup that is kept for a month, then those are consolidated to a monthly backup that is kept until the drive runs out of space. The reason it uses links instead of just copying over the unchanged file is to save space. A link only takes a very small file, less than 1,000 bytes, instead of copying an entire file. That's why a drive can hold so many backups--the unchanging files are only copied once and then linked to from then on.

    So, if you go to the TM backup drive in Finder, you will see a folder named "backups.backupdb" and inside that will be a folder with the name of your machine and inside that folders with dates as names and inside them the name of the hard drive and inside them the structure of the drive, with what look like folders and files but which are mostly links to the last time the folder or file changed. Because of the way the links are created, they look to Finder like they are "real" files. But they are not real files. The display is for human convenience, but what is really there is a database of all these links. If you mess with the links directly (edit, write, change, delete, move) you mess up the database and the entire backup structure is subject to failure. So don't do that. The way to manage the database of links is by the process of "Entering" Time machine, through either the top bar icon and "Enter Time Machine" or by clicking on the TM icon in the Dock. "Entering" Time Machine is done to do a restore, or retrieval of an older backup copy from the history files.

    So, do NOT directly mess with anything inside the backups.backupdb folder. Just don't do it.

    As for tools like Super Duper! and Carbon Copy Cloner, they work differently. On the first backup they copy everything, just as TM does. On following backups, they look to what has changed and copy those files over to the backup drive but they overwrite what was there with the new file. In other words, the copy is just that, a copy of what exists at the time of the backup. No history, no prior versions. There is a way to save older files if you turn on the function, but that is not really what the cloning software like that is all about. It's a copy of what is, not a history of what was. TM is both what is and what was.

    It's very complex but I have tried to make it as simple as I can. Hope that helps some.
    Jake

  9. #9
    time machine
    lori5060's Avatar
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    thanks so much. makes things more clear. you both have been great help.

  10. #10
    time machine
    lori5060's Avatar
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    one last question. can you suggest a SAFE site to download super duper? I see some various site which I know are not safe.
    also, will super duper have to be downloaded anew for different OS?

  11. #11
    time machine
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    It is developed by Shirt Pocket. Here is the developer site: SuperDuper!
    Jake

  12. #12
    time machine
    IWT's Avatar
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    Jake

    A brilliant summary in post #8. Not allowed to give Rep points, but the clarity of that post was excellent.

    Ian
    Ian

  13. #13
    time machine
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Thanks, Ian. I had read about how TM works from another website that no longer exists. Once you know how it works under the covers, it's easier to understand what you see on the screen, and why it can take time for it to populate the Time Machine recovery screens for older backups.

    Pretty amazing that it works as well as it does!
    Jake

  14. #14
    time machine
    Slydude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWT View Post
    Jake

    A brilliant summary in post #8. Not allowed to give Rep points, but the clarity of that post was excellent.

    Ian
    Agreed. I added a rep bump for that one. Very clear explanation.
    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
    Kevin Durant

  15. #15
    time machine
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Gosh, you are going to make my head swell up with all of that. But thanks for the compliments!
    Jake

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