Morning Cup O' Joe

Time you enjoy wasting isn't wasted time.

How Leopard Time Machine Works


Being a power user, I love being able to dig deeply into an OS or a piece of software and uncover functional gems. Mac OS X Leopard Time Machine has a big on/off switch and the ability to create a list of directories to exclude from backup. That’s it. That’s all.

Of course, it’s supposed to “just work” and it really does… up to a degree. If you’re curious about some of the underpinnings of Time Machine, check out this article at InfoWorld.

Time machine conserves disk space by folding every 24 hours’ worth of hourly backups into one daily backup. It retains 30 days’ worth of daily backups. After 30 days, Time Machine starts folding daily backups into weekly backups, which are kept until the backup volume is full.

As Apple presents the Time Machine filesystem view, you can see your system approximately:
As it was at the top of each hour today
As it was each day for the past 30 days, starting yesterday
As it was each week, starting 31 days ago, going back as far as disk space permits

A distraught user might only be interested in the amount of data he may have lost:
If you accidentally deleted a file today, you lose up to an hour’s work
If you deleted it between yesterday and 30 days ago, you lose up to a day’s work
If you deleted it more than 30 days ago, you can lose up to one week’s work, or all of it


December 12, 2007 - Posted by | How-To, Mac, Software

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