Starting clean with an external TimeMachine drive that's full

curiouswebster
curiouswebster used Ask the Experts™
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Starting clean with an external TimeMachine drive that's full


I have multiple TimeMachine drives and found I get informed when older backups are deleted. I like that. But today, I was told the disk is full and can not do the backup.

I did move my machine to a new MacBook, then back to my old MacBook, so it is trying to do a 312GB backup. Those are likely files it already has, but from a different machine ID.

How do I simply start over with that drive?

Thanks.
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  •    Enter time machine (on the Mac whose backup you want to delete)
  •    Go to the point in time you want to delete
  •    Select the icon that looks like a cog in the finder and choose 'Delete Backup'

or via command line
sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/drive_name/Backups.backupdb/old_mac_name
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
I see the problem...

In Finder. it created a
Robert's MacBook Pro (2)
Robert's MacBook Pro (3)

and 3 is the only it's using right now to back up.

Can I use Finder to delete the entire:
Robert's MacBook Pro (2)

?

thanks,
Probably.  I haven't touched Time Machine in years, but I remember being able to just do that.
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curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
That did not work.

How can I blow away its contents and Start over?
Have you tried the suggestions in my very first comment?
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
On the Mac, there does not seem to be such an option. I only see the drive itself, in a list of drive.

I must be missing a step.
Technician
Commented:
The best info on Time Machine is here. Pondini died years ago, his expertise lives on.
http://www.baligu.com/pondini/TM/Home.html

Deleting
http://www.baligu.com/pondini/TM/12.html

If the backups were made locally  (to an internal or directly-connected external disk/partition -- USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, or eSATA):

•If two or more Macs were backed-up to the same place, and you want to delete all the backups for only one, you’ve got a problem.  The backups are mixed in the same Backups.backupdb folder.  To delete all the backups for one Mac, without disturbing the others, you must delete each individual backup for the Mac in question, as above.  (This is one reason it's a good idea to use separate partitions in such cases).

•If there’s nothing else on the volume (drive or partition) you want to keep, erase it with Disk Utility.  See #2 in Using Disk Utility.

•If there is other data on the volume (drive or partition), you can delete the Backups.backupdb folder, but it will take a very long time to empty the trash afterwards (as there may be from several hundred thousand to a few million files), and you may have trouble with locked files and/or permissions.  If possible, it’s much better to delete the backups individually as above, or copy the other data elsewhere temporarily, erase the volume with Disk Utility, and copy the data back.  (Again, a separate partition for Time Machine backups is advised.)
Deleting the numerous hardlinks individually in Time Machine would be a very tedious endeavor if they were somehow interspersed that way.  I recall that they were in the same folders as the system name, with different dates, so you could probably do rm -r on them, but .  The system also added a different folder name for systems with the same Name setting..

Since the Mac was given a separate name, try deleting it with tmutil.
sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/Time_machine_drive_name/Backups.backupdb/Robert\'s\ MacBook\ Pro\ \(2\)
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer

Author

Commented:
thanks

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