October 30, 2012
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OSX’s Time machine backup feature is very simple to enable and to use.
Unfortunately, it is almost too simple and there are no mechanisms for capping the amount of storage used for backups and it will eventually grow and take over any sized drive.
Really the best way to work with it is to dedicate a partition to just Time Machine and nothing else.
Time Machine will prune backups as they age and when you run out of space, but depending on that functionality is very limiting.
It turns out that Time Machine has a very handy command line interface called tmutil for listing and deleting backups. It also has some additional compare commands that look like they could be very useful for tracking down changed files.
m-m:~ $ tmutil
Usage: tmutil help <verb>
Usage: tmutil version
Usage: tmutil enable
Usage: tmutil disable
Usage: tmutil startbackup [-b|--block]
Usage: tmutil stopbackup
Usage: tmutil enablelocal
Usage: tmutil disablelocal
Usage: tmutil snapshot
Usage: tmutil delete snapshot_path ...
Usage: tmutil restore [-v] src dst
Usage: tmutil compare [-a@esmugtdrvEX] [-D depth] [-I name]
tmutil compare [-a@esmugtdrvEX] [-D depth] [-I name] snapshot_path
tmutil compare [-a@esmugtdrvEX] [-D depth] [-I name] path1 path2
Usage: tmutil setdestination mount_point
tmutil setdestination [-p] afp://user[:pass]@host/share
Usage: tmutil addexclusion [-p] item ...
Usage: tmutil removeexclusion [-p] item ...
Usage: tmutil isexcluded item ...
Usage: tmutil inheritbackup machine_directory
tmutil inheritbackup sparse_bundle
Usage: tmutil associatedisk [-a] mount_point volume_backup_directory
Usage: tmutil latestbackup
Usage: tmutil listbackups
Usage: tmutil machinedirectory
Usage: tmutil calculatedrift machine_directory
Usage: tmutil uniquesize path ...
Use `tmutil help <verb>` for more information about a specific verb.
The following is a example of listing my backups and then deleting one. Read more of this post