General Question

futurelaker88's avatar

Why are my hourly 'Time Machine' backups so HUGE!

Asked by futurelaker88 (1600points) September 3rd, 2010

I recently purchased an external hard drive dedicated to being my time machine backup drive. I found out that it backs up any changes you may have made every hour. When i hold my mouse over the little spinning clock logo during an hourly update, its not unusual for it to say “backing up 2.* out of 23 gigabytes!” there’s no WAY i made THAT many changes, most of the time im simply browsing the internet! is this normal? if not, what do i change to stop these HUGE hourly backups from clogging my drive. the drive will be full everyday at this rate!

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6 Answers

llewis's avatar

Are you using a program like Parallels, that stores things in a huge file? There are a few other programs like that out there, too. You need to exclude those files. I’ll see if I can find the link I read a couple of years ago about this, and if so I’ll post it.

Vortico's avatar

I have this same problem too. I can’t possibly update 10GB of my disk in a day, but Time Machine begs to differ. Space isn’t really an issue on my 1TB drive, but it makes the drive spin for an extremely long time.

I’ve decided to use Disk Utility to create a disk image of Macintosh HD on my external. Every week or so, I open it up and drag my often modified folders to the home directory on the image. It seems like a terrible alternative to the potentially great Time Machine app, but the one problem is driving me away from it.

llewis's avatar

Couldn’t find the link, but did find that FileVault and Entourage use large single files that can cause this problem. There are free programs out there that will tell you what sizes your files are (I use Disk Inventory X; there are plenty of others). Check that to see if there is a file you should be excluding from the backup, and back those files up another way (for instance, Parallels has an internal “snapshot” feature).

blah_blah's avatar

You can run diff in the Terminal on different back-ups to see what has been added or changed. For example:

sudo diff -rq /Volumes/Time\ Machine/Backups.backupdb/john\ powell’s\ iMac/2010–09-03–150402 /Volumes/Time\ Machine/Backups.backupdb/john\ powell’s\ iMac/2010–09-03–145719

Will tell me what changed between the last back-ups. It isn’t a pretty list but it is a list.

futurelaker88's avatar

so am i correct in saying that these backups aren’t “supposed” to big this big? it’s not normal. or are most peoples hourly backups large?

blah_blah's avatar

Mine aren’t that big. What I linked to above will give you a look at what is being backed up and the size of the back-up and what is taking up the space.

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