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Time Machine Fails When Trying to Backup Certain Files

1761 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Mar 21, 2011 7:59 AM by Pondini RSS
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stevelockridge Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 19, 2011 10:00 PM
Time Machine is having problems with some files I have copied from a Windows computer. I am a web developer and I moved my client files from a Windows PC to my iMac. Most of the files backup properly but some don't. When Time Machine tries to backup those files, it fails.

I downloaded Time Machine Buddy and it has helped me identify files that can't be backed up. However, the only solution that works is to delete the files. *Since these are client files, that is not an acceptable solution.*

When I look at "Get Info", there are several listings for admin, system, staff, owner, and everyone. Each list shows the permissions to be "Custom." I have changed some to "Read and Write" and I have changed all of them to "Read and Write." Neither of these have fixed the problem. Time Machine still fails on the same files.

I really need some smart Mac person to tell me what I can do to fix this problem. Thanks.
iMac 21.5" 3.2GHz Intel Core i3, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    This is not a permissions problem; the backup process runs as root, so it has permission to everything.

    It's got something to do with the content of the file. Something may have gone wrong in copying from the Windoze file system.

    Can you copy the file(s) via the Finder? If so, can you then back up the copied version?
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Cineza Calculating status...
    How about just ignoring those files!

    Of course TM will not backup those, but then again your backup will not stop because of those files!
    MacPro, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    Find something other than TM, or as well as TM, my experience (others vary) is that there are too many ways for TM to let you down. If you want backups on file changes/saves use a sync service and in addition to that use CCC or SuperDuper to make a bootable clone as regularly as needed. (I clone my internal daily, takes about 15 minutes to save daily changes) Additionally I sync my user documents folder to SugarSync, this is triggered by any change to files in the documents folder.

    If my drive fails I (a) boot to the external clone, (b) restore any files changed in the last how ever many hours since the clone.

    Result: Downtime of minutes instead of hours ....
    Unibody MBP, 13", Mac OS X (10.6.6), Hybrid HD
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Csound1 wrote:
    Find something other than TM, or as well as TM, my experience (others vary) is that there are too many ways for TM to let you down


    On the other hand, since Time Machine does a rudimentary check of each file before backing-it up, and indexes afterwards, it will find some problems that most other backup or sync apps miss.

    Yes, that's inconvenient sometimes, but I'd rather know about a problem as soon as possible, not weeks or months later.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    Still takes far too long to get back to work, at my billing rate restoring from TM is very expensve, I want a backup that leaves my workflow largely unscathed, TM is a day to itself, I don't get paid for that.

    Most of my clients operate large (ish) Mac networks, TM is simply too frail and too slow.

    Offsite sync and a bootable clone is by far the best way for someone who just wants to keep working rather than puzzle his way through the (somewhat inscrutable) TM.

    But .. YMMV
    Unibody MBP, 13", Mac OS X (10.6.6), Hybrid HD
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Csound1 wrote:
    . . .
    TM is a day to itself


    Huh?

    Depending on how you do it, a Time Machine backup will restore to a new or reformatted drive either a bit faster or somewhat slower than a clone (assuming the same type of connection). All you have to do is start up from the Install disk and select the +Restore System From Backups+ option, select the backup you want and where you want it restored.

    Even if it's somewhat slower than restoring the clone, when Time Machine backups are restored, you're done -- no second restore from an offsite sync.

    It is, of course, always a good idea to keep secondary backups; I always recommend a bootable clone in addition to Time Machine backups. And it's even better if the clone is on a portable external that can be taken to a secure off-site location.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    Here's the sequence:

    My hard drive dies, I reboot to my clone, 2 minutes later I am at my desktop, I may have several hundred mb of data to restore since the last clone, add 20 minutes, or I may not: I'm working already.

    Do really expect me to believe that you can replace a drive & restore from TM in 3 to 20 minutes?

    I don't believe you.
    Unibody MBP, 13", Mac OS X (10.6.6), Hybrid HD
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Csound1 wrote:
    Here's the sequence:

    My hard drive dies, I reboot to my clone, 2 minutes later I am at my desktop, I may have several hundred mb of data to restore since the last clone, add 20 minutes, or I may not: I'm working already.

    Do really expect me to believe that you can replace a drive & restore from TM in 3 to 20 minutes?

    I don't believe you.


    Kindly read what I said again: "a Time Machine backup will restore to a *+new or reformatted drive+* either a bit faster or somewhat slower than a clone" (emphasis added).

    Yes, if you want to run from the clone forever, it's faster. If you need to replace or reformat the internal HD and return to using it, restoring from Time Machine is either a bit faster or somewhat slower, depending on the rest of the circumstances.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    I think you misunderstand my criteria, I want a backup that allows almost immediate return to work.

    After finishing my days work I do not have restore/reinstall etc, I merely move the external into the Mac, throw the dead one away and connect a new one as an external, re-clone while I sleep and the following morning I am at the same place I was when the drive died, having only lost a half hour of billable time.

    I respect your knowledge and admire your site but please understand that for my needs TM is mediocre at best, and that is assuming it works.

    17 of the first 100 posts on the Snow Leopard forum (Not TM forum) are about TM issues, 17% is way to high for my liking.
    Unibody MBP, 13", Mac OS X (10.6.6), Hybrid HD
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Csound1 wrote:
    . . .
    please understand that for my needs TM is mediocre at best, and that is assuming it works.


    The operative words there being +*for my needs.+* Those are not the needs of most folks. They're not exactly comfortable, much less blase, about replacing drives!

    17 of the first 100 posts on the Snow Leopard forum (Not TM forum) are about TM issues, 17% is way to high for my liking.


    That's a whole different subject. Much of it is attributable to Apple's lack of documentation. They're convinced it's "intuitive" and resist suggestions to explain much about it. For example, there's no way to get to what little Help there is about Time Machine from the "Star Wars" display!

    And don't forget, especially for the novice to casual user, Time Machine has two features that a clone doesn't:

    • When something is changed or deleted in error, or suddenly turns up corrupted, there's a much better chance of recovering a previous version.

    • If an OSX update, or installation of a 3rd-party app, causes a big problem, you can restore the entire system to the exact condition it was in at the time of any backup, even it that's a different version of OSX.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    Correct, at no time did I say that this was for everyone, it is in fact for anyone who wishes to spend his time working rather than restoring. Replacing a drive in a unibody MBP is a 5 minute operation! & they are cheap! what value on your data?

    As to your second point, I suggested specifically using a TM type backup in addition to the clone, I stated that my choice is a realtime service that stores my files (a) as files that I can access from anywhere (b) with versions (including deletions) going back as far as my storage limits allow. I don't want to have to deal with TM permissions/user/network/extreme/forgetting to delete till it gets full blahblahblah

    PleasePondini, do it your way and I'll do it mine
    Unibody MBP, 13", Mac OS X (10.6.6), Hybrid HD
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Csound1 wrote:
    Correct, at no time did I say that this was for everyone, it is in fact for anyone who wishes to spend his time working rather than restoring.


    For most folks, a hard drive failure is not exactly common. If they are to you, something is seriously wrong.

    Replacing a drive in a unibody MBP is a 5 minute operation! & they are cheap!


    Yes, for those who are mechanically inclined and not afraid to open up a Mac. What percentage of users do you suppose that is?

    As to your second point, I suggested specifically using a TM type backup in addition to the clone, I stated that my choice is a realtime service that stores my files (a) as files that I can access from anywhere (b) with versions (including deletions) going back as far as my storage limits allow.


    And how would you use that to roll back to a previous version of your entire system?

    I don't want to have to deal with TM permissions/user/network/extreme/forgetting to delete till it gets full blahblahblah


    Huh? Now you're adding all sorts of other things.

    Permissions? A user account is a user account, and Time Machine maintains the permissions.

    Network? Your clone is on a network? How do you boot up from that?

    Extreme? You use an Airport Extreme for your network clone?

    Forgetting to delete until it's full? Yes, that's exactly what you mentioned above: "versions (including deletions) going back as far as my storage limits allow."

    PleasePondini, do it your way and I'll do it mine


    Obviously.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,255 points)
    You still don't seem to be capable of understanding that I am endorsing this for myself and anyone who does not want to be stopped by a non bootable drive, I don't care whether it broke or you bootcamped the wrong partition, but it happens, read this forum!

    Drive installation: you underestimate people, it's easy.

    I don't rollback my system.

    BlahBlahBlah: Every one of the "TM permissions/user/network/extreme/forgetting to delete till it gets full" is a fully searchable key phrase for TM problems reported on this board, this day.

    As I said, YMMV

    Oh, my sync service neatly deletes old backups as required (it also invites me to swipe my card and get another 100G but I can live with that)
    Unibody MBP, 13", Mac OS X (10.6.6), Hybrid HD
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