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I would like to take a Time Machine backup, under a folder called "Backups.backupdb" and click and drag it into Google Drive. I am wondering if this process will cause any hard links or anything like that to be deleted? My question basically is, if I were to upload it to Google Drive, then download it in the future, would it be readily usable as a backup to restore a computer?

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    Have you considered using Google's Backup and Sync to backup your files? If you really want to upload your Time Machine backup though, it might be best to create a disk image from it and upload that instead, but you'd have to do some additional research to check whether and how you can then restore from it: support.apple.com/kb/PH22247?locale=en_US
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 7:20
  • Follow this guide instead: medium.com/@timthegiraffe/…
    – Elad Nava
    Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 10:34

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A copy operation doesn't change the source, so if you copy a timestamped folder from within Backups.backupdb the Time Machine backup itself will not be touched, and you theoretically get a full backup copied into Google Drive.

Emphasis is on theoretical though, because

  • you may not have read permissions on some files/directories in a TM backup
  • Google Drive may not support all file/directory attributes and ACLs required for a TM backup to be stored.

Even if you can overcome these obstacles one way or the other, you basically face the same issues again if you want to move the backup back from Google Drive into TM. And with TM being rather picky about access rights etc the chance that you afterwards can restore from such a backup is rather small.

You may be better off using SuperDuper!/Carbon Copy Cloner to create a full image on an external drive now and then.

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