Time Machine not working as per spec?

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My understanding of Time Machine is that first time around it backs up everything and then hourly, daily, weekly backs up only those files that have changed or added. It doesn't appear to be working like that on my system an appears to re-backup items it already has.

I have approx 135Gb of data etc used on my imac and am backing up to a 500Mb Freecom drive. My data is fairly static with perhaps 1 or 2 Mb being added each week.

So by my reckoning the first backup should be 135Gb and subsequent ones adding to this slightly over time.

I've had Time Machine for 4 weeks now but it constantly tells me that due to the back up disk being full, older backups are being deleted. It doesn't give me any options but it should not be full anyway.

Finder appears to show me that the whole hard disk is backed up in full several times over.

Anyone any ideas as to what is going on? I do switch my backup disk off for several days at a time - doesn't seem much point in putting up with the disk drive 'hum' nor the waste of power if I'm not actually doing anything worth backing up. Would this make any difference?

An ancillary point is that as one main purpose of a backup is to keep historic documents, I'd rather Time machine (a) warn me that it is about to remove the oldest backup and (b) give me the option to delete the newest backup so that I can archive my old documents somewhere else to keep them safe. Does Time Machines default make sense to anyone?
 
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Sawday
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if a 35g file is changed by 1mb, the whole 35g file is re-backed up. that might be your issue. What you might want to do is exclude some folders that you don't need backed up, stuff like all the system folders or any other large folders that don't need backing up through time machine
 
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Sawday
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Thanks for your reply but no that's not the issue. Old files are not being changed - only new small ones added.
 

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