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My 1TB Time Machine drive just filled up, apparently due a bug in Chrome. Since this issue has been open for a year and a half, I don't expect that Google will fix it any time soon.

Can anyone offer a work-around that will allow Time Machine to back up Chrome bookmarks, passwords etc, but exclude the ever-changing cache and history files?

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2 Answers 2

Edit: I just noticed you want Time Machine to back things in Chrome up like Bookmarks and what not still. I've modified the answer so the exclusion path is more specific than what I use. Honestly though: just sync your Chrome settings to your Google Account and then you don't need Time Machine to do this for you and you can just blanket exclude everything under ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome.

Just exclude the offending directories under ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome from the Time Machine backups.

To do this...

Click on the Time Machine icon in your task bar and select Open Time Machine Preferences... or go to System Preferences -> Time Machine.

In the preferences pane click the Options... button.

Click the + button to the bottom right of the Exclude these items from backups: list.

In the Finder window that pops up navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default and then select the following for exclusion:

  • Application Cache
  • Archived History
  • Archived History-journal
  • databases
  • Extensions
  • History (wish there was a way to put a wildcard on this)
  • Local Storage
  • Sync Data

You might have repeat the exclude step for each of those. I'm not sure you can select multiple files for exclusion in the Finder window that pops up. Once you've selected something click the Exclude button. That path to the directory or file will now show up in the exclusions list and won't be included in Time Machine backups.

I have mine set up as follows:

My Time Machine Exclusions

If you have more that one user account on your system I suspect you'll have to repeat these steps for each user. I believe Time Machine exclusions are stored on a per-user basis. If there's a way to force Time Machine settings on to all users on a machine, I don't know it.

Edit: here is what Chrome will sync automatically for you if you enable it. Wrench Icon -> Preferences... -> Personal Stuff -> Customize

Chrome's latest sync capabilities

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Nice. Any idea where chrome stores passwords? I can't imagine that Chrome would sync passwords up to my Google account, so it must be storing them locally. –  Caffeine Coma Jun 4 '11 at 3:52
    
@Caffeine Coma: yes, Chrome syncs passwords too. I edited the end of my answer to show you all the things Chrome can automatically take care of in its sync. –  Ian C. Jun 4 '11 at 20:38
    
Ian C Writes: "I'm not sure you can select multiple files for exclusion in the Finder window that pops up." One can select multiple non-contiguous files in List View (such as in Time Machine's Exclusion list window) by holding down Command + Shift and clicking on each file individually. –  IconDaemon Jun 19 '12 at 0:40

If you know in which files, or directory Google Chrome saves its bookmarks, or passwords, then you can set Time Machine to avoid backing up those files/directories.

One of the Time Machine options is the list of files/directories that should not be backed up; I verified the list can contain file and directory names.

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