Keep all TM backups?

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Aug 2, 2007
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Is there any reason I want to keep 1T of backups on Time Machine? Why do I want keep a month's worth, when I would only likely go back 1 or 2? What am I overlooking?
 
Joined
May 3, 2009
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Dear Howard,

If you have free space on the backup drive, I'd keep everything.

If you're having to decide whether to buy a new one to replace a drive that's full, you'll have to ask yourself how much turnover there is on your boot drive and how often you delete something and then wish you hadn't.

Once, when I was using Retrospect as my backup software, I did go back to an old backup drive to find some pictures that I had deleted from the boot drive. That's probably the only time I can think of, however.

I've been using Snow Leopard machine for two years now (I was running Tiger when I used Retrospect), and while Time Machine doesn't run every hour on the hour, I haven't filled up a backup drive yet. But I bought the backup drives in extra large (3 TB backup drive).

I probably haven't helped a bit, but that's my experience.

Andy
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
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Potomac Falls, VA
i am interested in hearing responses to your question. My 1TB TM started messaging me that it was deleting backups as there is no more room. Now those backups are from 2011 and I am fine with that but I havent found a setting to say "keep last 90 days, or 1 year, etc."
 
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Walter Rowe
About once or twice a year I reformat the Time Machine disk and let Time Machine start all over. I have had to rebuild my system from Time Machine a couple of times and found that the longer it has been since the Time Machine disk was initiated, the longer it takes for the system to do a complete restore / rebuild because it takes longer to reconstruct what your system looked like. I have never needed anything I removed six months or more ago. Other people will likely have different experiences and rationales for how long they retain theirs.
 
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Jul 29, 2005
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Pittsburgh, Pa.
Time Machine (TM) will fill up the hard drive (HD) and then start deleting the oldest backups. Since I have a HD dedicated to TM I just let it go and never touch it.
It's similar to the HD inside my DVR for my security cameras, it deletes the oldest clips.
My Infinity Comcast DVR does the same thing.
I don't see a reason to manually do anything to Time Machine.
 
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Just give TM a two or three Gig HD and let it do its thing. No need to intervene. Works far better than anything MS ever came up with.

Has saved my butt quite a few times.

If you run Windows in a VM, create a shared folder between the two (Win and Mac) and store all your Windows app data in there. Then tell TM not to back up the Windows VM. TM sees the whole VM as a single file, which is constantly changing.
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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After posting this, my day got too busy.

I just got this MBP mid June. I put my new 1T backup drive on about July 28. When I first posted, I had about 26 backups on it, as I do not run it every day. It was in the high 800G range. A couple of hours later, when I looked, it had dropped all but the most recent 8-9. Huh? Used space was essentially the same.

I added about 125G to my files, but the drive told me it was over limit, so it would not run again.

Again, I see no need to have anything more than a few days old. I should add, on my desktop, I have 2.75T, plus 2 3T externals. I manually copy everything to the two 3Ts, as I add something. Even from the MBP. So, I don't really think I am going to need so many direct backups.

I know everyone has personal preferences, but I just can't imagine I would want/need multiple full b/u drives sitting on a shelf. I guess I could wish I could go back weeks, but can't imagine I would. I mean, heck, how would you pick which day out of 8-10T of b/u's to use?

Also, I've tried to go back in the b/u's to delete some video files to save space, but it won't let me delete out of the folders. I suppose I have to delete a full b/u.

Now, let ignorant ol' me ask this... If I have, say, 300G of files on my main drive, if I have 3 b/u's, isn't that 900G on the b/u drive? If so, how can I have 10-28 b/up's?

I'm afraid I'm going to poke my eye trying to figure this out.

Thanks for your help.
 
Joined
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Walter Rowe
Howard,

Apple's documentation on Time Machine says it retains your backups with the following frequently and duration: hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups until your backup drive is full.

If your system only has 8-9 backups, then you must have added a LOT of data in the last several hours. Are you sure your system only has 8-9 backups? Something does sound amiss.

Walter
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Walter, like I said, when I first posted this, I had 26 b/u's in there. This is what I have now:


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East TN
Now, let ignorant ol' me ask this... If I have, say, 300G of files on my main drive, if I have 3 b/u's, isn't that 900G on the b/u drive? If so, how can I have 10-28 b/up's?

Thanks for your help.
No TM only copies files to the backup that have changed, If the files has not changed it creates a pointer pointing back to the original file in an earlier backup folder. So unless you are adding or modifying many files its possible to have 100's of backups without much change in the backup disk usage. As photographers that is not what generally happens since we are constantly taking/adding photo's. Then modifying, and saving them to a different file.

Mike
 
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Just give TM a two or three Gig HD and let it do its thing. No need to intervene. Works far better than anything MS ever came up with.

Has saved my butt quite a few times.

If you run Windows in a VM, create a shared folder between the two (Win and Mac) and store all your Windows app data in there. Then tell TM not to back up the Windows VM. TM sees the whole VM as a single file, which is constantly changing.
Craig,

When you do this, do you just exclude the VM software, or do you exclude the apps associated with it as well?
 
Joined
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Craig,

When you do this, do you just exclude the VM software, or do you exclude the apps associated with it as well?
Look in /Users/<username>/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized and you will see the VMs in there. They are large files (my Win7 is 81Gb).

Each of these .vmwarevm files contains an entire VM. Another way to look at it, each of these files is the "C:" drive for the VM. These files, because they contain the entire VM, are constantly changing, so Time Machine will back then up over and over if you do not exclude them.

To exclude a file:
Open TM preferences.
Select 'Options' button. This opens a box that says "exclude these items from backups".
Press the + button. Navigate to the folder mentioned above and select the VM files.
Press 'Save' and you are done.

Copy the VM (must be shut down first) to a location where it will be backed up. You can use that to restore the VM if the original is lost. Because the copy is not modified, it will only be backed up once and will not fill your TM drive.

I hope this helps.
 
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Joined
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This is important, so I'll say it again. Virtual Machines are stored in a single very large file, typically greater than 40 Gigabytes. Any use of the VM at all causes the file to change (even the Windows temp folders are in there).

If these files are not excluded from your TM backup, they will dominate the backup disk, making TM all but useless as it will back the file up every two hours.

To create a shared data folder:
1. Stop the VM.
2. Create a folder in your documents directory. Let's say you call it 'Windows Data'.
3. Open the 'Virtual Machine Library' from the VMWare app.
4. Right click on the VM you want to share with, and select 'Settings'.
5. Turn 'Shared Folders' ON and add the folder you created above (click the + button).
6. Start the VM.

7. Go to Windows. Open Windows Explorer and look under 'Computer'. You may need to select 'Organize/Layout/Navigation Pane' to make the Nav. pane visible. You will see 'Shared Folders' and your Mac folder (Windows Data) will be accessible. Move all your Windows application data to this folder. Not the software, only the data.

To back up a VM, shut is down (do NOT suspend it, it MUST be fully shut down), then COPY the .vmwarevm file to another location, one that IS backed up by Time Machine. Copy the VM after any major install/upgrade, so if a restore becomes necessary, you will have a reasonably recent version of Windows and all the installed software.

There are some alternatives. See here: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/mi...ype=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=1013628

Regards,
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2005
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Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Look in /Users/<username>/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized and you will see the VMs in there. They are large files (my Win7 is 81Gb).

Each of these .vmwarevm files contains an entire VM. Another way to look at it, each of these files is the "C:" drive for the VM. These files, because they contain the entire VM, are constantly changing, so Time Machine will back then up over and over if you do not exclude them.

To exclude a file:
Open TM preferences.
Select 'Options' button. This opens a box that says "exclude these items from backups".
Press the + button. Navigate to the folder mentioned above and select the VM files.
Press 'Save' and you are done.

Copy the VM (must be shut down first) to a location where it will be backed up. You can use that to restore the VM if the original is lost. Because the copy is not modified, it will only be backed up once and will not fill your TM drive.

I hope this helps.
It did, thanks for the help!
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
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Chicago
I made an error with LR and erased all kinds of raw photos which I recovered with time machine.

If they are not there, you can not get them back.

A tera drive is <$100.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
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Move completed photos to two back up drives, then let time time machine delete old photos. Clean off the HD and start again. You can buy two for <$200, 1 terabite @
 

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