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10.5: One possible cause of huge Time Machine backups
Authored by: palahala on Jul 16, '09 03:57:20PM

Your theory is almost correct. Your Mac keeps track of all changed directories (not all files), and Time Machine uses this information to only scan the directories for which it knows something changed. Indeed, if your Mac for any reason thinks that this information is no longer correct, then it will declare all the old information invalid. Time Machine then needs to compare your backup disk with your Mac's disk.

See also some very nice articles on Ars Technica and Earthling Soft.

Note that the logfile actually indicates this situation. See Time Machine Buddy to easily view that log.

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