Copying Time Machine backups and reformatting Time Capsule

  • Posted: 23 May 2013 11:03 PM

    I use a 1TB Time Capsule that has over 830GBs worth of backups on it. I’d like to reformat the Time Capsule with a partition for backups and a partition for storage. The storage partition would serve as a network location for transferring files between my Macbook Pro and Mac Mini (both firewire connected to the Time Capsule) since AirDrop only uses Wifi which is slower than ethernet. The issue I’m having is with copying the TC backups to a separate drive first. I tried moving the backup folders (located within the sparsebundle file) to an external drive formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), but received a msg saying that it didn’t have the proper formatting for backup files. I’ve decided the best thing to do would be moving the entire sparsebundle to the external drive, but first need to decrease it’s size. A few days ago, I deleted half of the folders within the sparsebundle (and waited the nearly 24 hrs it took to permanently delete them), but the size stayed the same. I need to know how to get rid of some of the sparsebundle files so that I can copy it over to another drive. Am I even going about this the correct way? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide?

  • Posted: 24 June 2013 04:43 PM #1

    That’s strange, I’ve copied the Backups.backupdb folder to a different drive before and had it work fine after re-pointing Time Machine to the new drive. You might try using a low-level copy app like Carbon Copy Cloner, instead of Finder.


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    Posted: 26 June 2013 01:22 PM #2

    Hrm… interesting situation. Yes, copying the Backups.backupdb folder can work, but it’s full of all of those hard links that can confuse the Finder (and sometimes result in LOTS of duplicate data). Copying the sparsebundle is a better option. In your situation (having deleted lots of files from the Backup), your sparsebundle may shrink if you compact it. From Terminal:

    hdiutil compact [filename].sparsebundle

    Should do it. Or at least it’ll tell you why it *can’t* do it.


    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

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    Posted: 01 July 2013 06:04 AM #3

    Use the Disk Utility in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder to create a disk image of the desired size on the Time Capsule.

    Conventional partitioning of network drives such as the one built into the Time Capsule isn’t possible, and Apple didn’t include the functionality to do this in the AirPort Utility.


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