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Time Machine could not complete the backup

2146 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: May 27, 2013 9:23 AM by Linc Davis RSS
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darkhorse85 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
May 7, 2013 8:05 AM

I tried to do I a TM backup and after a long wait from "Preparing To Backup Disk" I got the following message ...

 

Time Machine could not complete the backup.

 

This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires 273.42 GB but only 188.44 GB are available.

 

Time Machine needs work space on the backup disk, in addition to the space required to store backups. Open Time Machine preferences to select a larger backup disk or make the backup smaller by excluding files.

 

[ ? ]       [ Open Time Machine Preferences ]                      [ OK ] 

 

 

I use an external hdd parition exclusively for TM which has 400GB capcity and 188.44GB. Why won't it TM just overwrite the old backups / data?

 

I'm using Lion on mid 2009 Macbook Pro

 

Cheers.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
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    May 7, 2013 10:11 AM (in response to darkhorse85)

    Time Machine deletes old snapshots to make room for new ones, but it will never delete the only remaining snapshot of any computer it backs up. It sounds like you need a larger backup volume.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
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    May 8, 2013 6:26 AM (in response to darkhorse85)

    Triple-click anywhere in the line below to select it:

     

    ls -l /V*/*/Ba* | open -f -a TextEdit

     

    Copy the selected text to the Clipboard (command-C).

     

    Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways:

     

    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)

     

    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.

     

    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Terminal in the icon grid.

     

    Paste into the Terminal window (command-V).

     

    A TextEdit window will open with the output of the command. Post the contents of that window, if any — the text, please, not a screenshot.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
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    May 8, 2013 7:39 AM (in response to darkhorse85)

    The command will show the machine directories in the TM database. That will show whether any other computers have ever been backed up to that volume. It makes no changes whatsoever to your data.

     

    If you prefer not to use the shell, navigate in the Finder to the folder named Backups.backupdb at the top level of the TM volume. How many subfolders does it have?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
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    May 9, 2013 7:33 AM (in response to darkhorse85)

    You need to delete the "Matt's Mac" folder. In 10.8, you can do that in the Finder, but I don't recall whether you can do it in 10.7 without using the shell. You'll have to delete the volume from the list of backup destinations in the Time Machine preference pane, and add it back when you're done. Even then you may not be able to delete the folder.

     

    If that doesn't work, and you still don't want to use the shell, you'll have to erase the backup volume and start over. The underlying problem, though, is that the volume is too small. If I were you, I'd start a new backup on another drive, to be used only for backup. You need more than one backup to be safe, in any case.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
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    May 10, 2013 6:40 AM (in response to darkhorse85)

    You have a partilal snapshot of another computer, which TM will never delete; a complete snapshot of the current computer, which will also never be deleted because it's the only one; and a partial snapshot of the current computer, which will never be completed because there isn't enough space on the volume.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 24, 2013 9:02 AM (in response to darkhorse85)

    1. See "Reconnecting" to your backups.

     

    2. It will never delete the only complete snapshot.

     

    3. I strongly recommend that use separate drives for those backups. All drives will eventually fail, and if your only backup drive fails, you don't have a backup, which is not what you want to find out when you need to restore.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,865 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 24, 2013 3:40 PM (in response to darkhorse85)

    Any drive you can use for redundant backups is a better than nothing.

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