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Old 11-09-2007, 01:07 PM   #1
drdocument
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Copy Time Machine's backup files?

I want to copy Time Machine's backup files but haven't been able to do so, not in Finder, not Carbon Copy Cloner, not with selecting the two Time Machine backup folders and selecting "Create Archive of 2 Items".

I want to copy the backup files to another drive, then resize the partition I'm using as a TM destination, then put the files back. Apple Support says TM will recognize those files again and continue on as before.

Any suggestions? I'm admin user and there are no other users.

Thanks for any ideas.

Ken
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:15 PM   #2
morespace54
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Those files (folders) have special permissions (System, IIRC). you might try to stop Time Machine (in sys. pref.), change permissions for those files (and folders), "do ya thang" then put those files (or folders) back and remember to set back their permissions before putting TM back on.

Hope that's help.
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:13 PM   #3
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You don't need to copy the files off of the partition to resize it. You do need to temporarily turn off Time Machine to resize the partition or to backup the backup files. Disk Utility will not allow you to reduce the size of the partition to less that the data on the drive.
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Las_Vegas
You don't need to copy the files off of the partition to resize it. You do need to temporarily turn off Time Machine to resize the partition or to backup the backup files. Disk Utility will not allow you to reduce the size of the partition to less that the data on the drive.

I did turn off TM but still files would not copy.

I read on Apple Discussions that I can move the end point of a partition, but not the start point. Partition 1 is 30GB and I want to reduce it to 10GB (It has less than 5GB on it). Partition 2 (TM partition) is 430+ GB. Can I change the relative allocation in Disk Utility without losing data? Will the second partition then use up the extra 20GB freed from the first?

Ken
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #5
drdocument
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morespace54
Those files (folders) have special permissions (System, IIRC). you might try to stop Time Machine (in sys. pref.), change permissions for those files (and folders), "do ya thang" then put those files (or folders) back and remember to set back their permissions before putting TM back on.

Hope that's help.

I have turned off Time Machine and selected a TM backup drive of "None" in TM prefs. Then I logged out and back in. Now my TM destination drive is the normal orange FireWire icon instead of the green TM icon. I have read/write permission for the drive, but the for the backupdb and Desktop folders created by TM, only "system" has read/write permission, with "(unknown)" and "everyone" as "read only." And there is a lock on the GetInfo window.

Right now I'm creating a new custom back up with Backup 3.1.2 (the latest version, required for Leopard) to see if I can use it to back up the contents of the TM destination partition. Backup app is scanning. I'm hoping I can back up the contents of the TM destination partition prior to attempting to resize partitions.

Last edited by drdocument; 11-09-2007 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:31 PM   #6
Las_Vegas
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You do not want to backup the Backup.backupdb folder with drag-n-drop. Nothing worthwhile will survive. You need to use a backup to disk image or a clone copy such as created with the Restore feature of Disk Utility.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:25 PM   #7
drdocument
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Las_Vegas
You do not want to backup the Backup.backupdb folder with drag-n-drop. Nothing worthwhile will survive. You need to use a backup to disk image or a clone copy such as created with the Restore feature of Disk Utility.

Thanks much! I just tried to create a clone of the TM destination partition with Carbon Copy Cloner -- No joy. Nor was I able to create a disk image of the partition with Disk Utility.

I guess I'll just limp along as is and see what develops.

Ken
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:37 AM   #8
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This is a potential problem because one of the features of Time Machine is to be able to go back in time, however, apparently when a TM destination drive is filled up, we will simply have to start over again on a new drive and will no longer be able to recover files from the previous destination.

Hm.
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:36 AM   #9
J Christopher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdocument
This is a potential problem because one of the features of Time Machine is to be able to go back in time, however, apparently when a TM destination drive is filled up, we will simply have to start over again on a new drive and will no longer be able to recover files from the previous destination.

Hm.

When you run out of space, Time Machine should start deleting backups to make room, beginning with the oldest.
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:57 AM   #10
drdocument
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Christopher
When you run out of space, Time Machine should start deleting backups to make room, beginning with the oldest.

Good point. Thanks. A reminder that if we want to permanently retain something as of a certain date we'd be well advised to archive the specific document in another way.
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:23 PM   #11
mclbruce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdocument
Partition 1 is 30GB and I want to reduce it to 10GB (It has less than 5GB on it). Partition 2 (TM partition) is 430+ GB.

It seems like you are going through a whole lot of work for a small amount of change. Some suggestions/workarounds:

- Your Time Machine data can't be very old. The other data you have on the drive is small in size. What about copying the 5GB of data to another drive and completely erasing the Time Machine drive you want to modify?

- From reading these forums and other sites on the Internet, it seems like a good idea to devote a whole drive to Time Machine rather than a partition. It's a new product, simple is better than complicated, and it seems like with a partition you are doubling the risk, as a problem in one partition could affect the other. Is there some other way you could store the 5GB of data like on a DVD or disk image?
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:50 PM   #12
drdocument
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclbruce
It seems like you are going through a whole lot of work for a small amount of change. Some suggestions/workarounds:

- Your Time Machine data can't be very old. The other data you have on the drive is small in size. What about copying the 5GB of data to another drive and completely erasing the Time Machine drive you want to modify?

- From reading these forums and other sites on the Internet, it seems like a good idea to devote a whole drive to Time Machine rather than a partition. It's a new product, simple is better than complicated, and it seems like with a partition you are doubling the risk, as a problem in one partition could affect the other. Is there some other way you could store the 5GB of data like on a DVD or disk image?

Thanks. I've been thinking about that very thing. The smaller partition is an alternate bootable system (minimum config). My pre-Leopard routine was to boot from alternate system weekly and run Disk Warrior and Tech Tool Pro as preventative maintenance.

Of course if I erase the TM data now I'll lose anything I might have mistakenly deleted since Oct. 26.

Last edited by drdocument; 11-10-2007 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:31 PM   #13
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I raised a question about this in another post but was re-assured that one could back up the Time Machine drive to another drive (to avoid the possibility that drive failure on the Time Machine drive would wipe out backups). Given this poster's experience, is that still the consensus? CAN one backup the Time Machine drive to another drive and preserve its usability?

Joe VanZandt
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:25 PM   #14
drdocument
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDV
I raised a question about this in another post but was re-assured that one could back up the Time Machine drive to another drive (to avoid the possibility that drive failure on the Time Machine drive would wipe out backups). Given this poster's experience, is that still the consensus? CAN one backup the Time Machine drive to another drive and preserve its usability?

I have not been able to successfully copy Time Machine's backupdb files. I unlinked my TM destination partition from Time Machine by selecting "None" for the drive in TM prefs and restarting, then tried copying by dragging and Option-dragging, also "Create New Image" in Disk Utility, and creating a disk image of a volume with Carbon Copy Cloner, all to no avail. I did not try backing up with Time Machine, but I suspect it wouldn't work.

One option is to restore all files to another folder from within Time Machine itself, but that would not preserve the relative age of individual TM backups of particular files.

I did call Apple Support and was assured that if I copied TM's backup files to another place, reformatted my TM destination partition and put them back, that TM would recognize its own prior files and use them rather than creating an entirely new backup from scratch. That proved to be true when I re-selected the destination partition with TM prefs.

Reflecting on my experience here, I'm speculating that the highest priority in the development of Time Machine was a reliable, easy-to-use backup system and a longer-term permanent archive was secondary, especially since when its destination drive is full TM will create more space for its data by selectively deleting older backups. I suspect there wasn't much thought given to backing up the backups. I suppose we could use mirrored RAID for that.

I've taken the advice and committed the entirety of my 500GB G-Drive FW800 to TM, with a new backup started from today. The new "first" backup has done about 55GB of 63.4GB in a little over 2 hours with the G5 otherwise idle.
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:07 AM   #15
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I just had success at copying my TM backupdb files to another drive.

After making sure my original drive was no longer the TM target, I just used the restore facility in Disk Utility to copy the contents of the original drive onto a new one. Six hours later, it was done. I renamed the original drive (since there were now two drives with the same name), set the TM target to be the new drive and everything then worked as normal off the new drive - all my old backups are there and the files appear to be fully accessible.
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:04 AM   #16
drdocument
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Thanks.

Are all the TM files restored as separate dated folders (so they would appear in TM "history" on the right), or did the Restore utility just simply restore the most recently backed up version of the files?
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:21 AM   #17
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Yes, all the TM files are there in the dated folders going right back to when I installed Leopard at the start of November. As far as I can tell, TM is operating exactly as it was before, except now off a larger drive. I even went into it to grab a file from a few weeks ago (after erasing the original TM drive to make sure it wasn't coming from there), and it worked fine.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:59 AM   #18
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TM Backup

I followed these guidelines (Startled Guru's above) but mine just says Setup (blue barber's pole bar) and nothing is happening and doesn't look like it will???
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:54 PM   #19
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You must set the "Erase Destination" option to copy a "direct-connect" Time Machine drive using Disk Utility's Restore function. This forces a "block" copy, rather than a "file" copy. The later will not work with a Time Machine set.
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