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I find that my Time Machine backup never passes an hour without backing up files, even if I haven't used the Mac. I've excluded .Trash and Downloads under my user folder. A typical hourly backup is 60-70MB, and I want to know exactly what files are being backed up here so I can possibly exclude them too.

After backing up, the Indexing of the Backup takes an extremely long time, and I don't know which is the cause and which is the result, or if this is unrelated to my mystery files being backed up.

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You could try BackupLoupe: it will give you the size of each backup, the backed-up files and catalog the backups with colors to quickly identify the big ones.

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There are also lists of files excluded by rule or that you add manually to exclusions:

  • I've marked this as answer because it definitely seems like it is the way to go. Unfortunately, I have a separate issue with this software in that it seems to not recognize my mounted remote backup drive because that drive is partitioned. I've emailed soma-zone about this; hopefully they can help. In any case, thank you! – iisystems Feb 7 '13 at 14:10
  • @iisystem If you have an update from soma-zone update the answer: it might be interesting to others. – Matteo Feb 7 '13 at 14:22
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    I did hear back from them, with a compromised solution. I'm able to use the software now, and yes this is the perfect solution to my question. The license is only $5--well worth it. Unfortunately, Time Machine itself needs exclusive access to the backup volume, so in order to use BackupLoupe with a remote drive, you have to temporarily disable Time Machine and manually mount the drive (which can be done from the Finder by opening the .sparsebundle). Then when you're done, you have to unmount the drive, or the next backup will fail since Time Machine can't mount it for itself. – iisystems Feb 8 '13 at 14:40
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More recent app (10.9+) that does the trick: TimeTracker

Screen shot of TimeTracker analysis, sorted by size

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