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Can the hourly backups by Time Machine be stopped? I'm on Lion and if it matters, each hour it tries to backup about 30GB (I don't know where this 30GB comes from, as today I've only modified a few text files and browsed the web). This results in the computer slowing down noticeable and beachballing more often.

Or even better than stopping them completely change the hourlys to every 2-4 hours?

It is backing up to a TimeCapsule, so I think the network might be the reason it is slowing down noticeable, that and it's a late 2008 MacBook Pro.

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try erasing ur backup volume and backing up again. Havign massive back ups every time is one of the signs of a corrupt backup – AMomchilov Mar 17 '12 at 23:25
up vote 8 down vote accepted

To adjust the schedule in order to backup at a time more to your choosing than simply every hour, you can use the Time Machine Editor tool, which is available as a free download from:

TimeMachineEditor is a software for Mac OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion that lets you change the default one-hour backup interval of Time Machine. You can change the interval or create a more sophisticated scheduling (see screenshot below). This is useful if you don’t need to backup every hour and don’t want the performance penalty. This is also especially useful if you manipulate lots of data within one hour as you would spend the whole day backing up.

Changing your interval should not affect the daily or monthly backups, which are not actually any different to the hourly ones in any material way.

enter image description here

To get a better idea of what is causing large or lengthy backups, you can use the Backup Loupe software, available for free download at:

"With BackupLoupe you are able to answer questions like Why is Time Machine so slow? Why is my Time Machine drive already full? Which files are actually being backed up? Has a particular file/folder been backed up at all? How many revisions of a file/folder exist in Time Machine? A file/folder was deleted accidentally. When did this happen and where is the latest backup? Is my backup drive big enough? Should I consider buying a larger one? And if yes, when?"

enter image description here

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If I set the time interval to 3 hours, will it still do the monthly and daily backups (and keep them for the lengths of time as described in Time Machine preferences)? – Jonathan. Mar 30 '12 at 19:20
Yes, those backups are not actually any different to any other backup, it just picks the most recent one for any given day, and calls it the daily. Same for monthly etc. – stuffe Mar 30 '12 at 19:22


  • Backup using calendar intervals (every day at 7pm)
  • Backup using custom time intervals (every four hours)

enter image description here

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Wow! Why is this not included by default. Thank you. – Jonathan. Mar 17 '12 at 21:10
I looove this tool. My time capsule is quite loud during backups. This tool comes in quite handy when reducing the amount of backups. – gentmatt Mar 17 '12 at 21:11
If I set the time interval to 3 hours, will it still do the monthly and daily backups (and keep them for the lengths of time as described in Time Machine preferences)? – Jonathan. Mar 30 '12 at 19:20
@Jonathan. It will still perform the backups and keeps them for as long as the storage is enough. What you are talking about is locked documents which is a feature related to versions. – gentmatt Mar 30 '12 at 19:22

Bring up the time machine preferences and slide time machine to 'off'. Then when you plug in, it'll let you manually choose to backup when you feel like it.

Like this

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It's a Time Capsule, so I don't plug it in. – Jonathan. Mar 17 '12 at 21:09
As I understand it, the same logic applies - turning time machine off in the time machine settings means you can just manually backup when you want to – George Pearce Mar 17 '12 at 21:10
But the point in Time Machine is do to it automatically, if I turn it off, I'll never remember or be bothered. – Jonathan. Mar 17 '12 at 21:11

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