I got a new iMac after my old one died. As my old one was dying I made several Time Machine backups to a 1T G-Drive external. Unfortunately, I must have done it incorrectly because the backups have used up so much of the space on the external that there's not enough room to back up my new iMac to the external. The Time Machine backup for the old iMac could not have been more than 350 GB, so, I am a bit perplexed. Last night I attempted to remove some of the older multiple backups of the same files from the old machine by dragging them to the trash. It seemed to work until I got to the next most recent backup and when the files finally copied over to the trash the window said there were more than 1,500,000 files! After waiting for hours for the trash to empty, I finally gave up when their were something like 1,200,000 files remaining. Am I going to be able to delete these files from this backup and free up space on my external drive so I can backup my new computer, or do I just need to give up and buy a new external?
Time Machine performs versioning backups at specific time intervals and keeps making backups until it runs out of space on the drive, then it starts to prune away older backups to make room for the new ones.
The only way that I know of to control the amount of space that any one Time Machine Backup uses is to set up a partition on the drive in Disk Utility and then have Time Machine back up to that partition.
You will not be able to delete some of the time machine backup as it is stored like a database, and it is an all or nothing delete.
Response to Trash Question
If you have 1.2MM files, Secure delete will take a very long time to do this.
If you do not mind that the data will not be overwritten and only the file associations will be removed you can do this to clear out the Trash.
First of all BE INCREDIBLY CAREFUL WHEN USING RECURSIVE DELETE FROM TERMINAL
With that warning out of the way, here is how you can do it.
- First open Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities).
EDIT step two is for the trash bin in your user directory. Yours is likely on the root of the drive itself. As I don't know what that path will be I can't give you that step. Just replace that path for the one after
cd. The file is likely hidden, so if you do not know how to show hidden files I will add the Terminal commands at the bottom of the post.
FROM user3439894 use
sudo rm -fR /Volumes/<volume_name>/.Trashes/$UID/*
This will be what the path to your external drive's trash looks like. You will have to figure out the exact path on your drive. You can also skip the drag and drop steps doing it the way user3439894 suggests.
cd ~/.Trashand press Return.
- Then type
sudo rm -Rffollowed by a Space (don’t leave out the space). You will need the recursive for to handle subdirectories, etc.
- Don’t press Return yet.
- Next, click the Trash icon in your Dock to open a window displaying the contents of the Trash.
- Select everything in that window and drag it into the Terminal window; this action adds the paths of all those files and folders to the
- Now, press Return
- Enter your administrator password when prompted
In a moment or two (depending on how much was in your Trash), the Trash icon should return to its empty state.
-- The answer I provided is based on the technique that I obtained from Joe Kissell's article on MacWorld and have used during the times I have not been able to empty my trash bin.
How To Display Hidden Files In Mac OSX
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles true return
killall Finder return
How To Hide Hidden Files in Mac OSX
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles false return
killall Finder return