I had a HDD (512GB), and I was taking regular back ups in the time machine. Now, my laptop got too slow, and just shifted to SSD(256GB). Apparently, when I tried to boot from my TimeMachine back up, the space in the SSD was not enough. So, I tried deleting files from old backup, which was 300GB. With this, I am not being able to retrieve my old systems. Installing everything from start would be too cumbersome for me.

Is there any way I could delete few files from TimeMachine backup. Or, the only way is to put the old HDD and delete files from there, update time machine and retrieve that from SSD. Please suggest.

Thank you, Prabhat

  • I did not know you can boot up from Time Machine. – Ruskes Dec 11 '18 at 5:32
  • @Buscar웃 You can't boot from it as a useable drive, but you can boot from it to restore. If you replace the disk with a new one, the recovery partition is blown away. If you have a reasonably new mac, it will ask you to connect to WiFi from the boot screen and put your Apple ID in. It will install OS X. After that, it will ask you if you want to restore your data from time machine. The re-install process should also restore the recovery partition, so rather than using the "recover data" aspect, you can choose to restore the entirety of time machine to the boot disk. – Chrisii Dec 11 '18 at 5:48
  • So, is there any way I could delete files from Backups.backupdb, cause I have already copied those files in another hard drive. I am not being able to delete any, and hence, my new SSD has no enough space. – Pikey Dec 11 '18 at 8:06
  • Just deleting those files on 'ENTER TIME MACHINE" does the work. Thank you guys. – Pikey Dec 11 '18 at 8:13
  • I would strongly recommend against messing with the TimeMachine backup itself. It's not a regular filesystem (it uses folder hardlinks), so simply deleting stuff from it has side effects you might not see. This is why it prevents you from deleting, probably. Chrisii pointed to the correct approach I think, but I am not entirely sure. I have never tried to downgrade in size like this with a "too large" backup, but I think you should be able to install a fresh OS, then assign the backup volume and it will figure things out? – Gero Dec 11 '18 at 8:13

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