Forum Question: Unable To Gain Space In Time Capsule

I was getting low on space on my Time Capsule, so I entered Time Machine and deleted all backups of dozens of movies, each ranging from several hundred MB to over 1GB in size. Yet, when I look in Finder, the amount of free space on my Time Capsule remains unchanged(Insert Twilight Zone music here). What’s really happening here?

Comments: 7 Responses to “Unable To Gain Space In Time Capsule”

    10/13/11 @ 12:58 pm

    You said you entered Time Machine and deleted backups? What do you mean by that exactly?
    Time Machine doesn’t work like a normal drive. You don’t have to worry about disk space. Time Machine will clear out old versions of old files when it needs the space (always keeping at least the most recent version for recovery).
    There’s no reason to go into your old backups and delete things. I think they just have that functionality for security-related issues. If you try to delete a specific file on a specific day there is no guarantee that the file even exists for that day. For instance, if a file was created on May 5 and modified on May 10, then there are two versions of the file there. There may be a backup for May 7, but no file is stored for May 7 because the file wasn’t any different than the one on May 5.

      10/13/11 @ 1:06 pm

      When I entered Time Machine, I went to my Movies folder and browsed back through time. As I found old movies that were no longer on my Mac, I would right click on them and choose “Delete all backups of this file.” I was able to watch the movie before deleting it, so I know it’s there. And if I delete it, it should no longer be there, right? I mean, either it exists or it doesn’t. If not, then what am I backing up. How could I retrieve a file that isn’t there? That would defeat the purpose of a back up. So if I’m deleting all copies of a file, I should gain space regardless of how Time Machine works, right? Even if I’m only deleting on version of that file, I should still gain space, should I not?

        10/13/11 @ 1:08 pm

        Well, it sounds like you should be deleting the file because you are choosing “Delete all backups of this file.” I didn’t know that before.
        But you just won’t see the space on the drive change, that’s all.
        You don’t have to worry about it. Time Machine will take care of itself. It will reclaim space as it needs it. So don’t worry that the number doesn’t go down.

          10/13/11 @ 1:46 pm

          It’s not Time Machine I’m so concerned about. It’s the Time Capsule. I want to move (not backup) a large folder to the Time Capsule, but there is not enough free space due to the size of the Time Machine backup. I was hoping deleting the aforementioned files would give me the space I need.

            10/13/11 @ 1:49 pm

            Oh, I see. Don’t do that. Seriously. It is important that you not use your Time Machine drive for anything except Time Machine backups. Otherwise, Time Machine will now be able to manage the drive properly. I hear all the time from people who mess up their Time Machine backups and drive because they try to store something else on there.
            If you want network storage, get another drive and attach it to your Time Capsule via USB.

              10/13/11 @ 1:58 pm

              Like a piggyback?

                10/13/11 @ 2:09 pm

                Not sure what you mean by that. You can attach external drives to Airport Extremes and Time Capsules and use them as shared network drives.

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