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Excessive Time Machine file count, sizes and time

457 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Feb 13, 2013 8:47 AM by happyjunk RSS
happyjunk Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 4, 2012 10:37 PM

MacBook Pro

OSX 10.6.8


Time Machine seems to be all my computer thinks about. The wheel starts spinning and counts up to well over 9,000 files to back up (may take up to half an hour), which may total anywhere from only a few MB to several hundred MB (the backup takes around 15 to 20 minutes, progressing only a few KB at a time and then jumping by 20 MB at a time). Then it does about 10 - 20 minutes of 'Cleaning Up.'


The curious thing: between backups the computer might be just sitting here with only an e-mail arriving, and no other activity. Next backup: another 8 or  9 thousand files to backup and another 20 to 45 minutes of disk activity and backing up.


I have downloaded TimeTracker. It tells me the last few backups were only 4 MB. Time Machine told me the last backup was 94MB. When I look in TimeTracker, there are not 9,000 files listed. I can't for the life of me figure out why Time Machine is running almost incessantly, why it's so slow. The log from 'Time Machine Buddy' widget for the current backup (Time Machine says is 94 MB for around 9,000 files -- TimeTracker does not show 9,000 files) is below. Nothing is quite adding up here.


Starting standard backup

Backing up to: /Volumes/Time Machine backups/Backups.backupdb

No pre-backup thinning needed: 781.5 MB requested (including padding), 30.67 GB available

Copied 21593 files (1.6 MB) from volume Macintosh HD.

No pre-backup thinning needed: 887.8 MB requested (including padding), 30.64 GB available

Copied 15901 files (90.5 MB) from volume Macintosh HD.

Starting post-backup thinning


My external 320GB hard drive is almost full. When this backup is done, we'll have 20 minutes or so of no backups and then the whole routine will start again.


I need a strategy to figure out what's going on. This computer is just a home computer -- used to e-mail and write the odd letter. I am not authoring 9,000 files every hour (I wish I were that productive) nor do I have software running that is that prodigious. Help?!?!



The last backup finished just now. For curiousity, I immediately told it to 'backup now' once again (10 seconds after it had just completed). Again, it's "preparing items" of around 9,000 files, taking about 5 minutes to copy 1.8 MB (progressing 1 KB at a time, then lurching by 20 or 30 KB at a time). While backing up it would read something like 70KB of 1.8 MB. Then it reached "1.8 MB of 1.8MB", sat there for a bit, then read "1.9MB of 1.9MB". That completed and immediately it went back to "Preparing [over 8,000] files" which equal 38KB and are progressing 1 KB at a time (several minutes).


My "Time Machine Buddy" log doesn't jive:

Starting standard backup

Backing up to: /Volumes/Time Machine backups/Backups.backupdb

No pre-backup thinning needed: 781.2 MB requested (including padding), 30.65 GB available

Copied 21543 files (1.8 MB) from volume Macintosh HD.

No pre-backup thinning needed: 772.4 MB requested (including padding), 30.62 GB available

From the time I started this 'Addendum' until now has been well over 10 minutes.


What's going on?

  • eveer Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2012 5:23 PM (in response to happyjunk)

    I was having the same problem after upgrading from Leopard to Snow Leopard.  After many hours of troubleshooting and trying many different tips listed here: with no success, I think I have found a solution.  It seems that the problem was a corrupt file in Trash that was causing time machine to get hung up.  Attempting to empty the trash failed, yielding error code 8003.


    I had to boot in safe mode (hold down the left shift key as you power on) to empty the trash.  After rebooting, time machine appears to be working fine.  The first backup was still a bit slow, as there were over 50K files that were removed from Trash.  Subsequent backups seem to be back to normal.  I'm not sure if this will fix your problem, but I have spent many hours/days troubleshooting this and thought this might help. 


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