This question was asked three times, as far as I know, but none of these has an answer that I'm looking for:

1 – This unfortunately doesn't seem like a method to preserve specific backups

2 – This was marked as a duplicate of the above but I feel like it better suits the question. However, there aren't any answers for it

3 – This probably is my question best stated but there are no answers

So my question is, is it possible at all to prevent specific backups from being deleted from my Time Machine drive? Would it be possible to copy and paste specific backup to another location to preserve it and then restore from them later on? (I don't particularly think that it would copy a bootable backup, though)

  • @user3439894 Right, thanks for the information. I'll try that out! You can just copy and paste your comment as an answer and I'll mark it :)
    – Oion Akif
    Oct 18, 2016 at 15:11
  • What you are looking for is named archives and this is fundamentally different from backups. Hence a dedicated software to provide backups can't answer your need.
    – dan
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:51
  • My personnal way to deal with this need is to use external dedicated disks where I make archives with Disk Utility which I then date clearly and write protect. Before these disks age out, I check them with the last version of Disk Utility, check a brand new disk with the same tool (full erase to zero), and then make the transfer.
    – dan
    Oct 18, 2016 at 16:52
  • 1
    Thanks for the comment! I'll check that avenue out when doing this.
    – Oion Akif
    Oct 20, 2016 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


Based on how Time Machine consolidates it backups, unless there is an unpublished method to modify how Time Machine is coded to do this (and I don't think there is), I'd say no, you cannot prevent specific backups from getting deleted.

That said, why are you trying to preserve specific backups, to what end and do you only need files from your Home Folder or the entire Macintosh HD?

Additionally, Time Machine backups are not bootable and if what you're looking for is a full bootable backup of the systems at a given point in time, you need to make a bootable clone of the drive at that time. You can use SuperDuper!, Carbon Copy Cloner or from the Recovery HD, use Disk Utility or in Terminal from the Recovery HD use hdiutil, etc.

  • 2
    @Skeleton Bow, You're welcome!, Over the years I've used SD!, CCC, DU and hdiutil to make bootable recovery images that can be use on secondary drives and or restored back to the primary drive as well as using Time Machine. It always best to have multiple avenues of recovery. :) Oct 18, 2016 at 15:22

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