Best Practice for Time Machine Backups

In Time Machine, the initial backup is the most important. This backup, when correctly done, sets the foundation for all subsequent successful incremental backups.

In general, online backups progress well by allowing Time Machine to create an initial smaller backup. This setting can be followed in Snow Leopard as well. The function of a smaller initial backup allows Time Machine to properly be configured and to seamlessly move the new backup set into the cloud via Dolly Drive.

Once that is complete, additional files and folders can be removed from the exclusion set (added to the backups) until all desired files have safely been backed up into the cloud.

These settings can be made from the Dolly Drive app window or directly from the Time Machine exclusions editor. You can view the video tutorial title "Dolly Drive Time Machine Exclusions with Lion" under the Learn More section of the Dolly Drive website. (

In summary - these are the best practice guidelines for your initial backup:

Lion users should only backup the Home folder and exclude the following files and folders:
- All hidden home folder items - Home folder Library - Applications

Once you have excluded the appropriate folders and files, we suggest waiting until Time Machine displays the estimated size of your backup before selecting "Save".

Once the above steps have been completed, you can start your initial backup.

For a printable guide: