Time Machine & Local Snapshots

Time machine can keep local snapshots. While this feature is useful if you travel and don’t have access to your Time Capsule, the local snapshots can consume a lot of the local disk space in /.MobileBackups. There is a complex Removal Algorithm for old local snapshots based on the remaining free disk space.

To find out how much space your local snapshots consume (Local Snapshots):

  • Apple-Logo → About This Mac → Further Information → Storage: Backup == Local Snapshot Space
  • Alternatively from commandline:
    test -d /.MobileBackups && du -hcs /.MobileBackups

It is useful to control the behavior of the local snapshots yourself (Controlling Local Snapshots) using tmutil disablelocal and tmutil enablelocal.

Start VNC Server on OSX from Commandline

The builtin VNC server can be started using commandline (i.e. with ssh). As root do:

cd /Library/Preferences
echo enabled > com.apple.ScreenSharing.launchd
touch /etc/ScreenSharing.launchd

Movie Import Problem iTunes 11 – Workaround

In iTunes 11.0.11 (12) 64-Bit there is a bug, which prevents movie import. Once a movie is imported (Drag & Drop or manually) it does not show up in iTunes. Nevertheless the file is copied to the iTunes directory Home Videos and is inserted into the library file iTunes Library.xml. If you wait a while the movies will show up (at least some in my case…).

This is a workaround:

  1. Click on Movies
  2. Click on Home Videos
  3. Right-Click on any movie here:
    1. Get Info
    2. Options tab
    3. Change media kind to movie

Your movies will start to show up slowly…

Repair the Power Supply of an Apple TimeCapsule

In the first generation of Time Capsules there was a quality problem with the capacitors in the switching power supply: a lot of them broke due to heat problems after about 17 months There is an excellent instruction on how to repair the device. Nevertheless the information which capacitors to use is missing. In this post I present a short instruction including more detailled information on the capacitors.

Parts List

Four capacitors are to be replaced. They can be obtained from Conrad (Best.-Nr. refers to the Conrad article number, Teilenummer to the manufactor article number).

  • 2x 1500µF/6,3V (105°C) Best.-Nr.: 446758 – 62 [Teilenummer: EEUFR1C152B]
  • 1x 330µF/35V (105°C) Best.-Nr.: 446911 – 62 [Teilenummer: EEUFR1E331]
  • 1x 470µF/6,3V (105°C) Best.-Nr.: 421915 – 62 [Teilenummer: EEUFC1A471]

Repair the TimeCapsule

  1. Remove the rubber
  2. Remove the screws
  3. Unplug the power supply
  4. Open the power supply
    Watch out: The capacitors will sustain high voltage for months! Make sure to discharge them!!
  5. Replace the capacitors
  6. Make sure the isolation of the power supply is ok.
  7. Reassemble…

Installing the AirPort Utility 5.6 in OSX Mountain Lion

Some of the older AirPort devices will not work with current versions of the AirPort Utility and old versions cannot be installed on OSX Mountain Lion (yet).  The old version can be installed manually in parallel to the new version:

cd ~/Downloads
wget http://support.apple.com/downloads/DL1482/en_US/AirPortUtility56.dmg
hdiutil attach AirPortUtility56.dmg
pkgutil –expand /Volumes/AirPortUtility/AirPortUtility56.pkg ~/Downloads/AirPortUtility56
gunzip -c < ~/Downloads/AirPortUtility56/AirPortUtility56Lion.pkg/Payload |  tar -xvf –
sudo mv Applications/Utilities/AirPort\ Utility\ 5.6.app /Applications/Utilities/

Clean Up a Time Capsule Sparse Image

Consider you want to remove a bunch of old updates (i.e. of an old Mac) from your Time Capsule (TC). You could erase the whole disk, but usually this is not what you intend to do. Another alternative is to remove the plain sparse bundle containing the old backups. Removing sparse bundles – in particular for >1TB backups – from a TC can be a pain due to the time consumption. This is a result of the approach to split the backup in ~8MB sized directories. 

In the following I present s fast way to clean your TC.


  1. Mount your TC, become root and do to the folder.
  2. Find your XYZ.sparsebundle

Deletion (you may want to monitor the progress in a 2nd terminal using df -h):

cd ./XYZ.sparsebundle/bands

for a in {0..9} {a..f}; do for b in {0..9} {a..f}; do for c in {0..9} {a..f}; do for d in {0..9} {a..f}; do echo $a$b$c$d && rm -drf $a$b$c$d ;done;done;done;done

for a in {0..9} {a..f}; do for b in {0..9} {a..f}; do for c in {0..9} {a..f}; do echo $a$b$c && rm -drf $a$b$c ;done;done;done

for a in {0..9} {a..f}; do for b in {0..9} {a..f}; do for c in {0..9} {a..f}; do for d in {0..9} {a..f}; do for e in {0..9} {a..f}; do echo $a$b$c$d$e && rm -drf $a$b$c$d$e ;done;done;done;done;done