I'm trying to make room on my time capsule to make backups (it currently tells me it's full).

I got help in this question with how to delete individual backups, but it didn't solve the problem. Even after I'd deleted all the backups Time Machine sees, I still have a ~700GB sparsebundle on the time capsule.

So, I'm trying to manually delete it, but it doesn't appear to be making progress. I had this for about an hour:

alt text

and then it switched to this:

alt text

I realize that might seem like progress, but note the lack of blue filling up the progress bar. It's been like that for hours now.

Is this normal? Is there a better way?

Note that I really don't want to reformat the TC because I have other files that I've manually saved there, plus my wife's TC backups.

EDIT: Nothing was happening. It was apparently too much for Wifi. Once I connected via ethernet, I was able to delete, but it took the better part of a day.

  • Has the file been deleted? The question is a few days old. – Martin Marconcini Sep 7 '10 at 3:25

It is theoretically possible if the drive is near full that a delete operation may take a lot of time. You can try to delete the file via the command line, which bypasses the Finder and does it the Unix way.

In any case there must be hard drive activity during the process. If the drive is not making any noise or light, then it’s not doing anything and that’s not good. But be patient.


It is absolutely normal. If you were to examine the .sparsebundle disk image that Time Machine stores data in, it consists of tens of thousands of files inside a sort of camouflaged folder. Deleting an individual file takes a relatively short period of time, but that time adds up quickly especially when you're accessing those files over a comparatively slow interface like WiFi.


Similarly to others, Time Machine made an excessively large .sparsebundle file (650GB) on my Seagate GoFlex drive, labeled .purgeable. Then Time Machine stopped backing up. Out of room. Purgeable file was never purged. Now I know to have at least twice the size of my original data available on the backup drive.

I wanted to delete the .sparsebundle. Manual file deletion didn't work; the "Deleting .sparsebundle" process went on for 6 days, ending with the extremely unhelpful [ The operation can’t be completed because the item “bands” is in use. ] Other forums suggested using Disk Utility or AirPort Utility to re-format; but neither app could see the wifi drive.

Only by going to the online GoFlex drive setup app was re-formatting finally a success.

PART 1 https://www.seagateshare.com/ - log in as admin

Preferences > Administration > Storage Devices Select the Hard drive, choose option Format and wait until it finishes. Even with a red error message, check the drive space result - mine worked anyway. Presto - clean hard drive, all information erased as if unboxing for the first time.

PART 2 'OSStatus error' may appear when you try to assign the drive in Time Machine. Unbelievably, setting up a secondary account via the GoFlex Home app fixes it.
GoFlex Home Agent > File > Open GoFlex Home > Preferences > Administration > New User Just don't use any previous user account credentials and don't really ever use this to log on to the drive.

Voila. Drive ready to be re-assigned for Time Machine backup.

Credit where credit is due: http://forums.seagate.com/t5/GoFlex-Net-GoFlex-Home/GoFlex-Home-filling-up-how-to-erase/m-p/78964

Sorry to those who don't want to re-format your drive. This solution is only good for returning the drive to zero. If you don't have a Seagate, but have a similar .sparsebundle Time Machine problem, perhaps your drive also has an online app re-format option at the manufacturer's site.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .