I did a clean install of my Mac and continued to use my same Time Machine drive. I want to preserve the last backup before I did a clean install, but Time Machine will delete old backups as the drive gets full.

How can I copy a backup without worrying it will be deleted?

My first guess was to just perform a copy, but I'm not sure this will work due to the structure of a Time Machine backup.

  • Do you have a seperate drive that can be fully used for storing this copy? - Or do you want to store the copy on the same drive as the original?
    – jksoegaard
    May 27, 2018 at 9:55
  • @jksoegaard I am using my same external drive. It's fairly large, so a single snapshot won't be a big deal. May 27, 2018 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


I've decided to use rsync to create an archive copy. This website also mentions hard links so I believe a rsync archive will be fine.

I'm using this command:

rsync -vahW [source] [target]

This SO mentions -W is best to speed up local network copies, plus I'm doing a new copy so no need for diffing.

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