The Mac OS X Time Machine feature is undoubtedly one of the best tools that you’ll find for backing up your data. Able to automatically backup your personal files, settings and documents to an external disk, it’s incredibly useful for making sure that you have a way to retrieve anything you might lose.
However, sometimes you’ll find that your Time Machine won’t work due to there being too little memory in your hard drive - and that’s when you’d have to take matters into your own hands. If you ever find out that your disk for your Time Capsule doesn’t have room anymore, there’s one culprit more likely than the others: your old backups.
Time Machine tech support
We’ve already talked about how to set up and partition a hard drive for your Mac in a previous blog post: now here’s a way to make sure that you’re getting the fullest use of space from your own hard drive.
First, you need to check the status of your backup drive. If you’ve been using your Mac for a long time, you’ll find backups years old, including previous versions of your system that aren’t useful anymore, even for recovery. That’s when you should start deleting.
Normally, the Time Machine itself is programmed by default to delete these old files by itself. But in the case of a faulty setup or a setting gone awry, old backups clogging your space are the most likely reason why your Time Machine won’t work.
Deleting old Time Machine backups
Deleting is easy: simply go to the Time Machine bar in your Menu, navigate to the time that you want to delete, and click Delete backup.
This will clear the backup on that specific day on your hard drive, freeing up the space that you need. Your Mac will also ask for confirmation of the deletion (usually by asking for your password.) To avoid such problems in the future, you can always exclude certain files or folders from the Time Machine, like your downloads or App folders.
Restoring a file from Time Machine
On the other hand, if you wish to restore a file to its previous version using Time Machine, you can follow the steps above to dial back to the version or timestamp that you’re looking for. If your Time Capsule has been programmed the right way, your selected folder’s previous versions should be there for retrieval.
Simply click Restore once you’ve gotten to the date that you need, and your file should be reverted back to the previous version.
And that’s how you retrieve and delete using your Time Machine on your Mac. It’s definitely a useful tool to have when you’ve accidently deleted a file you may need later, or when you need to free up additional space on your hard drive for more backups.
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