As ever, non-Mac users look away now.
So Leopard‘s Time Machine backup system. In one way, it’s absolutely brilliant. Connect a disk, click on a button and (a while later the first time) you’re backed up. From then on you only ever have to connect the disk and everything is done for you. A few clicks and deleted files can be restored.
But what if you handle some very large files, eg video? I started off with Time Machine backing up the Movies folder with my home videos. Then I realised this is a very bad idea because Time Machine isn’t smart enough to know when you’ve merely changed the name of a folder (an iMovie event), rather than its contents (the video clips).
As my backup disk swelled to an alarming size, I chose to not backup the Movies folder. This saved a bit of space by eliminating the last save of the Movies folder from the backup disk. But it didn’t delete earlier instances – and you can’t manually delete anything from the Time Machine backup. So now I’m going to have to start a new Time Machine backup without any of the Movies saves, losing all the other recorded changes as well, which somewhat defeats the point of Time Machine. If you have to keep deleting backups that have grown too large and start again, you might as well just copy your stuff onto another disk periodically, as I did before.
Apple, you need to add some system for paring down bloated backups without having to ditch the entire lot and start over.
Update: On the latest Time Machine backup, which took ages, all the old Movie folder files disappeared from the backup, freeing up many gigabytes. Hooray!
But I’m totally confused now. Was there some problem with Time Machine that stopped it doing it before? Does it take it more than one session to work out that you’ve chosen not to backup some folders anymore and remove all instances? In the absense of any helpful documentation, who knows?