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What about my Time Machine disk?

Time Machine drives present an interesting challenge when it comes to drive maintenance. This is primarily because they store many versions of each of your files as they have changed over time. In the volume structures of the disk, this is achieved using what is known as a hard link. Rather than store copies of each file with each backup, links are created to tell the disk to store multiple references to the data that makes up the original file, and only store new data when a file changes. While this saves lots of disk space, it makes the volume structures of Time Machine disks especially complicated.

Time Machine Color Burst

The unusual characteristics of Time Machine disks make performing maintenance on these disks especially challenging. Running the File Structures test, for instance, can take an especially long time, because it must follow each link, meaning that it ends up checking the same raw data multiple times. And when a Volume Rebuild is run, the sheer size of the volume structures on a Time Machine can present special challenges.

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