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Time machine forgets to backup some files

432 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Jun 17, 2011 1:12 AM by dirkr RSS
dirkr Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
May 31, 2011 1:43 PM

Lately I started checking whether recent files were really backed up by Time Machine.

What I see is that some new files are not backed up.

Also that deleted files still show up in new backups.

It happens in directories where other files are backed up. In other words: it does not seem due to exclusions.

I also do not see extended attributes on those directories that might signal Time Machine exclusion.

Lately it happend in my downloads folder.

It also happens in my local mailboxes of Apple Mail.

I have a MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard 10.6.7, fully updated.


I do not see error messages in the Console App that have to do with the back up process.

If I tell Time Machine to verify backups, it returns quickly without giving any feedback.


A few weeks ago I deleted all my backups, reformatted my backup disk, started with a clean history, and for a while all went well (so it seemed).

But now I start noticing missing files again.

I have not touched the .fseventsd direcories and files that I see at the toplevel of volumes.


I lost the good feeling that my Mac is safely backed up.


A hypothesis (that I am not able to test thoroughly): is fseventsd being fooled by some application (PathFinder, DropBox)?

Should I repair permissions on my Macintosch HD? Disk utitlity has some criticisms, but everything else works fine on my Mac.


Any ideas are welcome!


Kind regards, Dirk

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2011 1:53 PM (in response to dirkr)

    A  whole  lot  about  Time  Machine for help with TM problems.  Also you can select Mac Help from the Finder's Help menu and search for "time machine" to locate articles on how to use TM.  See also Mac 101- Time Machine.


    You may find some answers in these.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2011 1:01 PM (in response to dirkr)

    Not really my area of expertise.  Old, deleted files are not removed from the backup immediately and can remain for up to a month.  However, new files should be backed up unless they are certain system files that are specifically excluded by TM automatically - they are specified in one of TM's preference files but are not under user control.


    The TM expert around here is Pondini.  You might search for his handle or send him an email via his website where you found the link I provided.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,025 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2011 3:34 PM (in response to dirkr)

    My suggestion: Use a different backup utility rather than TM.  Here are some good choices:


    Backup Software Recommendations


    Carbon Copy Cloner

    Data Backup

    Deja Vu

    Silver Keeper


    Super Flexible File Synchronizer


    Synchronize Pro! X

    Synk Pro

    Synk Standard



    Others may be found at VersionTracker or MacUpdate.


    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on backup and restore.  Also read How to Back Up and Restore Your Files.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2011 4:13 PM (in response to dirkr)

    You may have been bitten by a long-standing bug in Snow Leopard.  See #D5 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting, especially the yellow box there. 


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