Due to migrating several computers over time, my MacBook Pro was bogged down with lots (and lots!) of old apps, files, etc. that I wanted to get rid of. So, I backed up to Time Machine as usual, then wiped the HD and restored from Time Machine. Except I excluded the Applications folder so that I could pick only the ones I wanted to carry over to the newly restored HD.

Everything went fine. Except now when it tries to back up I get an error message:

This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires XXX.XX GB but only XX.XX GB are available. Time Machine needs work space on the backup disk, in addition to the space required to store backups. Open Time Machine preferences to select a larger backup disk or make the backup smaller by excluding files.

It seems that when I restored and then backed up, it treated that like a new computer and parsed out the HD space because when I open Time Machine I can only see the back-ups since I restored. But given that it's telling me there isn't enough room, I'm fairly certain they're still in there somewhere.

Can anyone tell me how I might access those old back-ups and in turn delete some of the older ones so I have enough space for my new ones? I have looked in the files and found the backups.backupbd file, but I'm concerned that is only for the newest one in there so I don't want to delete that one. Obviously, I no longer have "access" to the previous Mac as it's been overwritten.

Any suggestions?

1 Answer 1


To see these backups, you need the Browse Other Backup Disks by Alt/Option-clicking the Time Machine icon in your Menubar, or by control-clicking (right-clicking) the Time Machine icon in your Dock.

  • @JasonThomas no problem. You should accept my answer by clicking on the checkmark, or at least give it an upvote. Thanks! Feb 25, 2013 at 16:07

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