How to make a TimeMachine drive erase the oldest backups

curiouswebster used Ask the Experts™
How to make a TimeMachine drive erase the oldest backups

I have a few drives I can no longer use, since TimeMachine will not erase old backups.

How do I force it to do so?

I want to be able to use each drive for backups and never hit the wall.

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You can manually delete the older copies, but this does not free up as much space as you think.  You should just delete everything if you don't need it.
If you want to delete all of July 2015, you can pass a wild card.
sudo tmutil delete /Volumes/Time Machine Backups/Backups.backupdb/MacBook\ Pro/2015-07-*/
  1. Connect your Time Machine hard drive to your computer.
  2. Double click on the hard drive icon on the desktop. Make sure you click on the computer's hard drive, not the icon for Time Machine backups.
  3. Click on the "Applications" folder.
  4. Click on Time Machine.
  5. Use the arrows to browse through the backup files stored on Time Machine.
  6. Select the backup that you want to delete.
  7. Click the "Action" menu (the icon that looks like a gear).
  8. Click "Delete All Backups."

The backups to time machine are deduplicated.  This means that only changes are copied on subsequent backups and anything unchanged just uses a hard link.  These hard links do not take up that much space at all.   You'll have to "erase" a lot of old backups to delete a sufficient amount of changes to delete the space
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer


seems to be working...

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