7

So my mac was acting very slow and so I backed up all my files to an external hard drive using time machine and then proceeded to restart the entire mac. Now that I plug in my hard drive with my back up I dont really want to put it all back since my computer is running so much faster. My question is then how do i delete some files on that back up. Every time i press delete it says files can not be deleted from this back up time machine?

  • Deleting 1 file from a specific backup can corrupt the entire backup. Keep that in mind. – Melvin Jefferson Dec 31 '17 at 2:24
5

You need to 'Enter Time Machine' by clicking on the menu bar icon that looks like a clock face. One of the options is to enter time machine. This transforms your screen temporarily into a time machine window. From there you can select and delete time machine files.

  • From there you can select and delete time machine files. Sorry, I must be missing something... I can select the file(s), but I don't see any way to delete it/them. MacOS 10.14, and 1.5 years after your answer, so maybe this is no longer possible? – Dan Mar 26 at 15:29
  • is there an icon that looks like a gear on each backup pane. If you click on this icone it should show you an option to delete. – jmh Mar 26 at 15:53
  • Many thanks for the speedy reply. Must have changed with an OS update... i only see open, restore, get info, quick look, and copy (same as the right click options). No delete :-( – Dan Mar 26 at 16:12
  • I think I discovered where the issue is... I have my USB hard drive Time Machine, and then there is the "local" TM which (I think?) is buffering local backups until the next time I connect the USB TM. I was entering TM (clock icon) without the USB drive plugged in. I wanted to delete a screencast that I forgot to stop (11.1GB file on Desktop), no reason to fill up the USB drive. But that doesn't work. Once I plugged in the USB TM, I could select "Delete". Hope that makes sense? Many thanks again for replying! – Dan Mar 26 at 20:32
  • great. Glad you got it fixed. – jmh Mar 26 at 21:01
5

A straight deletion will only get rid of the file selected in the individual backup you're addressing. However, when in Time Machine, right-clicking on a file will show an option to delete all instances of the selected file in the current and other Time Machine backups.

  • Thanks for the answer, and upvoted... but... ` right-clicking on a file will show an option to delete all instances of the selected file in the current and other Time Machine backups`: I must be missing something... I can select the file(s), but I don't see any way to delete it/them. MacOS 10.14, and 1.5 years after your answer, so maybe this is no longer possible? – Dan Mar 26 at 15:29
  • @Dan I just tried it (macOS High Sierra 10.13.6, updated), and right-clicking offers me a "delete" selection. You must be viewing the file from within Time Machine, and not in the Finder. – David Mar 26 at 19:59
  • thanks very much for replying. I think I discovered where the issue is... so I have my hard drive (USB) TIme Machine, and then the "local" TM which (I think?) is buffering local backups until the next time I connect the USB TM. I was entering TM (clock icon) without the USB drive plugged in. I wanted to delete a screencast that I forgot to stop (11.1GB file on Desktop), no reason to fill up the USB drive. But that doesn't work. Once I plugged in the USB TM, I could select "Delete". Hope that makes sense? Many thanks again for replying. – Dan Mar 26 at 20:30

You must log in to answer this question.

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