Additionally to TM backing up everything every hour, I'd like sometimes to tell it to quickly add a backup of a single folder. Can that be done?
If you go to the menu item for TM, in the dropdown menu is an item "Make backup now" (or some such string, I use another language). It will immediately start to add all changed items, including all new files in that folder.
If you only want that folder, I don't know of a direct way, maybe a command line thing will work. But I'd choose the menu item I just mentioned.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427 Selecting items to be excluded from Time Machine you could select your entire library to be excluded except for the individual file / folder that you want time machine to back up.
The solution is simple but requires a little Unix trickery.
Create a partition to hold the files
- Open Disk Utility
- Create a partition formatted to Mac OSX (Journaled)
Note: Ensure that your Time Machine's backup disk/partition is 3x the size of the partition you're going to back up.
Create a symbolic link pointing to the new partition.
- Open the Terminal
- Navigate to the directory where your backed-up folder will reside
Create a symbolic link to the partition you created in the last step
ln -s /Volumes/[PartitionName] ./[Folder Name]
- Open up the Time Machine Preferences
- Open up the Options
- Use the + to add the System and Time Machine volumes to the exclusions
- Turn on Time Machine
Note: I use the ambiguous 'Time Machine Volume' because it's location depends on your setup.
The nicest part about this solution is you can move your backed-up folder to a different location without screwing up the backups by simply creating a new symlink.
Last but not least, drink some Tiger's Blood because you'll be winning.
I guess what Petruza is asking is what I would like; to be able to exclude the whole system drive except for one specific folder, which @Camreon indicates here (quoted below), is cumbersome, so he recommends other software. I am trying to backup 2 GB to a 3.4 GB flash drive and I receive an error that 164.6 GB is required. Get Info of the whole drive says only 22.4 GB are in use, Time Machine shows 25 GB excluded, so 164 GB certainly makes NO sense.
Unfortunately, Time Machine preferences only allow you to set which drives/folders you want to ignore, not which ones you want to back up. You can get the behavior you want by excluding all the folders you don't want backed up, but it's kind of cumbersome. I suggest using SuperDuper or some kind of VCS if you only want to incrementally back up one folder.