I'm copying the backup folder of Time Machine, but it's taking too long, the backup is 90GB and the copy already reports 160GB and there's 60% to go yet, so I suspect it's copying hardlinks as different "solid" versions of the files. (which would take up much more space than I have avaible, which is 300GB)

I tried making a partition of 120 GB to fit it by restoring from disk utility, but it said there wasn't enough space.

Also tried to restore to a sparse bundle on a partition with 300GB free, but didn't work either.

Is there a better or smarter way of doing this within my 300GB space?

edit & PS: The only alternative if this doesn't work is keeping only the last backup and saying bye bye to the older ones.

PS 2: Time Machine just recognized the old Backup folder and resumed from it even when the OS was freshly re-installed.

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    I have tried to copy (non-supported) TM volumes, but it always refused to continue to use the new drive. Every time I have resorted to just doing full backup to new drive and holding on to my old drive for a while, until sufficient history has built up on new drive (a week or two). – Laas May 23 '11 at 6:09
  • @Laas — Interesting. But what do you call “non-supported” ? – Nicolas Barbulesco Oct 12 '13 at 16:19
  • @Laas — How have you tried to copy the volumes ? With the Finder ?… – Nicolas Barbulesco Oct 12 '13 at 16:23
  • @NicolasBarbulesco - I mean enabling unsupported network drives in TM ( j.mp/GYWCQf ). – Laas Oct 14 '13 at 7:02

If you are using an entire drive for time machine backup, I would suggest using Carbon Copy Cloner latest version with block-to-block copy. I have seen people use Disk Utility for this but I haven't got this to work.


Use rsync. rsync is included in MacOS X, it's widely recognised in the unix world and it can be used locally and on the network and can preserve hardlinks, attributes and permissions. Check the manual page for more information, IMHO this should work:

rsync -avHE /Volumes/Source/ /Volumes/Destination/

(archive, verbose, preserve hardlinks, preserve extended attributes).

  • The version that ships with 10.6.x is 2.6.9. It's quite out of date. As I understand it, it doesn't handle resource forks correctly. I wonder if we'll see an update in 10.7.x? – boehj May 25 '11 at 19:13
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    rsync only finds hard link files and not directories – mmmmmm Oct 10 '14 at 21:45

Not the exact solution, but now that I reinstalled the OS, with great surprise and joy, I find that Time Machine resumes backing up with the same backup folder from before, just calculated the differences and off it went. :D
As I wasn't going to restore the full backup, none of it actually, I thought Time Machine would need to start over with an empty backup, that's why I wanted to backup the TM backup folder, but it's not needed

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