I have an old Time Machine backup that I moved from its volume to a folder on a different disk. Now I want to move it to yet another volume. The problem is that the volume where the backup folder is now shows about 90 GB of used space, while the folder itself shows a size of about 240 GB and I don't have that space available at the moment.

My question is: how can I move this folder?

2 Answers 2


You're probably seeing the result of hard links in the file system, which can result in counting the same file(s) more than once.

This is common in UNIX-like backup solutions, including Time Machine. The actual data usage is only 90GB, so a hard-link-friendly tool like rsync should handle the move correctly.

Per Wikipedia's article on hard links:

The term is used in file systems which allow multiple hard links to be created for the same file.


First make space, then copy folder.

  • 1
    I don't believe this answer addresses the question appropriately.
    – user479
    Feb 17, 2012 at 3:17

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