GeekTool Revisited: Monitor Time Machine Status

August 25, 2009 in How-To, Tips & Tricks by Bob Faulhaber

Do you use Time Machine and want a quick status of activity or your last backup? Well using a simple command to check the Time Machine log file and GeekTool, you can get that information right on your desktop.

Time Machine records all its activities in the system.log file and using the grep command you can pull that information out and display it using GeekTool.

To get started, just create a new shell entry in GeekTool with the following command:

grep backupd /var/log/system.log | sed s_/System/Library/CoreServices/__g | tail -n 3

Using the GeekTool configuration panel, you can customize the font size, color, position on the desktop along with the refresh interval. Considering that Time Machine runs hourly, in the final configuration I selected a 10 minute (600 second) interval, which should be sufficient. During testing, you’ll want to set a very short interval, such as 30 seconds, as shown above.

Once completed, GeekTool will display the last three Time Machine entries in the system.log file.

Using a simple grep command on the system.log file gives you an instant status on your Time Machine backups.

What do you monitor with GeekTool? Let us know by leaving a comment below.