Monday, December 21, 2015

How to remove backups from Time Machine

We have a few Macs in the house and a few Time Machine devices setup. As a number of Macs share a Time Machine disk I have found that one Macs' backups can monopolise the disk through one reason or another which prevents another mac from doing a backup because of lack of space.
I could have managed this better by partitioning the disk and that's something I'll do in future, but for the time being I wanted to remove some old unwanted backups to free up some space.
This can take a very long time.

To remove a specific backup I used Time Machine Utility:

sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/drive_name/Backups.backupdb/mac_name/YYYY-MM-DD-hhmmss

I compacted the remaining sparse file by using

sudo hdiutil compact [path and name of sparsefile]

You can list the backups by using:

tmutil list backups


If you see the time machine is unavailable then you probably have it mounted and this will prevent you from deleting files. Unmount (eject) and try again.

tmutil docs

hdiutil docs

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