Using meta folders for time machine exclusion

Time Machine, Apple’s awesome automatic backup software is very aggressive about backing up your data because, well, that is it’s job.

I’m beta testing a game with a large number of files that change constantly. The folder for the game is around 16GB of data, so I don’t want any of this backed up. I used Time Machine’s exclusion list (found by clicking the Options button in the Time Machine System Preference Pane) to add the game’s beta folder. This worked fantastic, until….

Recently they asked us to delete the game and install from scratch. Not a problem. However, while the new installer did it’s job, it put all of the new content in “Game Beta-Temp”, instead of “Game Beta” Time Machine saw this and starting backing up the now constantly changing temp folder which at the time contained over 10gb of data.

Hmm, what to do. Well, I could add the temp folder to the exclusion list, but what if they change the name of the temp folder in the next build? My solution was simple, I created a folder that would hold the game, and added that folder to Time Machine’s exclusion list.

Now, I have /Application/Game Beta Time Machine Exclusion Folder/

When the game asks where to install, I select the exclusion folder and install inside of that. I have added the Exclusion Folder to Time Machine’s Exclusion list such that anything created by the game or it’s installers in the future will never be backed up.