Monday, July 13, 2009

Time Machine's method for deleting old backups is actually a huge pain in the ass.

Mac's Time Machine sounds like a great idea: a program that automatically backs up your computer every time you connect a specific external hard drive. What it doesn't tell you is that each time it creates a new backup, it deletes the last one by moving the old backup to the Trash.

Now what a lot of people don't know is that when files are in the Trash, they are still taking up space where they were. This is totally counter-intuitive, because there's no way for a user to see that the space is taken by looking at the disc/directory where the space is actually taken. You can only see these files and folders in the Trash. Even more confusingly, the disc space is taken on an external drive...and the Trash exists on your computer.

There are message board posts all over the web with new Mac users panicking when their Time Machine drive becomes totally full. The only way to remedy this situation is to connect the external device to your Mac and empty the Trash.

That's what I'm doing now. In fact, I am now waiting for my computer to delete 341,000 files from my external drive so I can back up once more.

Lucky for me, it turns out that any image that I marked as "locked" on my digital cameras requires an extra click to delete. Apparently a large portion of my most recent 19,600 photos are "locked." I'm going to be here for a while.

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