A Question About TIme Machine


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Hi there,



I wanted to backup all my files from my mac onto my external hard drive. For some reason when I go onto about my mac and click "storage" I'm presented with a grey space where I should be told how much space I have left on my mac etc. I have an ageing mac so it doesn't perform some things correctly. Either way for some reason one time it did reveal how much space I have left, about 91GB. My time machine is telling me that I haven't made a backup since december 2018, so one year. When I did the previous backup I had used 443GB of space on my mac which went onto my 1TB external hardrive. Once I started doing the new backup, I got 200GB into it and then I was told that there isn't sufficient space. My mac and external hard drive in theory have the same storage capacity. My mac isn't completely full and 200GB roughly of files for the new backup couldn't ve backed up from lack of space. Time machine said that it was making space but wasn't any to complete that. Does anybody know what I can do to remedy this? I know barely anything about time machine? I don't even know if that it is the most optimal thing to do if all I want to do it put one copy of all my stuff onto a hard drive, to keep it all safe. I just wanted to ask on here for a direct solution instead of me doing trial and error, which may give me a lot of hastle especially when my mac can just fail to do things.



Thank you.
 
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First, if your external storage (and 1 TB should be sufficient) is left plugged in to the Mac and Time Machine is directed to use that drive, it should be keeping daily versions and deleting old ones if it is full. So are you using Time Machine or just copying your HD to it sometimes?

Second, I think you can use Disk Utility to see the storage on the external drive. I'm not sure, but if you also go to Finder and choose the external drive, I think it should tell you what is on it.

I'm having some migration issues, so I can't check that myself right now.
 
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First, if your external storage (and 1 TB should be sufficient) is left plugged in to the Mac and Time Machine is directed to use that drive, it should be keeping daily versions and deleting old ones if it is full. So are you using Time Machine or just copying your HD to it sometimes?

Second, I think you can use Disk Utility to see the storage on the external drive. I'm not sure, but if you also go to Finder and choose the external drive, I think it should tell you what is on it.

I'm having some migration issues, so I can't check that myself right now.
Yo dude,

I am using time machine, but I'm using it intermitantly. I think time machine failed to delete old backups to make space for some reason. But I don't really understand the purpose of the backups or how they work I guess? I mean if I put 400gb of files onto an external drive, then make a backup the next day of 401GB, does that mean there is now 801GB of files on the drive, or just all 401GB? If so then I don't even understand how I got told that I didn't have enough space on my external drive to finish the last backup when I've never went above 1TB in content obviously.

I also never thought to just copy and paste the macintosh HD drive onto my external drive just to backup everything. That's all I ever wanted to do really so there is a seperate copy of all my stuff somewhere else other than on my mac since it will die eventually, or everything will need to be moved to a new computer at some point. So I will probably just delete everything off the external drive and copy and paste the macintosh HD drive onto my external drive. I don't know if that sound primitive or what but seems like a solution.
 
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Yo dude,

I am using time machine, but I'm using it intermitantly. I think time machine failed to delete old backups to make space for some reason. But I don't really understand the purpose of the backups or how they work I guess? I mean if I put 400gb of files onto an external drive, then make a backup the next day of 401GB, does that mean there is now 801GB of files on the drive, or just all 401GB? If so then I don't even understand how I got told that I didn't have enough space on my external drive to finish the last backup when I've never went above 1TB in content obviously.

I also never thought to just copy and paste the macintosh HD drive onto my external drive just to backup everything. That's all I ever wanted to do really so there is a seperate copy of all my stuff somewhere else other than on my mac since it will die eventually, or everything will need to be moved to a new computer at some point. So I will probably just delete everything off the external drive and copy and paste the macintosh HD drive onto my external drive. I don't know if that sound primitive or what but seems like a solution.
As I understand it, Time Machine actually just saves changes from the previous backup and draws on the older ones if you demand a full restore. Don't ask me how.

I have an old 1TB Seagate external HD and a 4TB My Passport external HD. Quite frankly, the Seagate really worked well for copying from the old Mac Mini to the new one. Both Mac minis are A1347s and on High Sierra. Apple will have to pry me away from this new one with a crowbar! Some day, people will wonder how anyone got by with "only" 1 TB, but not me not now, LOL!

You might want to consider a 1TB external HD (saw one at Walmart for $50) as a full backup. Time Machine has been acting odd lately. But the My Passport 4 TB HD external will hold years of backups.

You might want to check your Time Machine settings. There are options on how it saves backups.

Hope any of all that helped...
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello,

Time Machine makes an initial backup of the files you set it to. By default, it backs up everything. Then it makes incremental backups of new files or those that have changes since the last backup using hard links to previous file backups. It can then scan those directories (folders)/files, and skip them if they have not changed. It keeps weekly/monthly backups, and will delete the oldest backups automatically if the disk runs low on space.

It is recommended to use a disk with at least twice the space as the drive(s) you are backing up, to give Time Machine the ability to keep a good history of your files for restore.

There is one type of file that can tak a lot of space in your Time Machine backups - virtual disk files used by Parallels/VMware Fusion. Because these applications install Windows as a virtual machine, it saves the disk image of those installs as one large file. If you open and use them between backups, it will copy the entire file again to the backup, as the date/size will have changed since the last backup. Since these files are 20 GB+ in size, if you use them daily and have Time Machine enabled, you can gobble up space pretty quickly. If the file is 25 GB and you use Parallels/VMware Fusion every day, you can use up 7 x 25 GB = 175 GB of Time Machine disk space in a week. But, most people don't use those apps on a regular basis.

For most people, a Time Machine disk that is twice the capacity of your internal drive should have enough space for at least a year or two of backups, and more if it removes the older ones as time passes.

Hope that helps,

C
 
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