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Time machine doesn't backup anymore

667 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 13, 2013 3:50 PM by ds store RSS
Muizen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 8, 2013 7:39 AM

I am getting a message that:

"The backup was not performed because an error occured while copying files to the backup disk (Time Machine)"

I started a backup and after:

- Calculating changes;

- Preparing Items

- Cleaning up;

The backup stopped saying "Backing up 40kB of 5,07GB"


Thereafter the above message showed again.


I hope that somebody can help me, but my problem is that I am not really good in applying complicated instructions, becuase my knowledge of software is rather limited!

iMac 27" i7, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • griff w Community Specialists Community Specialists (2,340 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2013 8:07 AM (in response to Muizen)

    Hi there,


    I would recomment taking a look at the troubleshooting steps found in the article below.


    Time Machine: Troubleshooting backup issues


    -Griff W.

  • griff w Community Specialists Community Specialists (2,340 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2013 11:46 AM (in response to Muizen)

    Thank you for using the Apple Support Community. Due to the nature of your issue or question you may find more information by using another one of Apple's support resources -



    -Griff W.

  • Bruce Polkowsky Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2013 1:26 PM (in response to Muizen)

    In the past week I have started having problems with Time Machine as well.   It starts (either by my forcing it to or it reaching the next timed start-up) then it scans files, then it "prepares" items.  It gets up to about 1900 items or more and it slows down,  adding on or two every minute or so.  This goes on for hours,  and I usually run out of patience and log out and put the machine to sleep.  Upon restart the Finder seems to have real trouble coming back to life after log in. 


    I did do a software update on July 7 that included Security Update 2013-003 and a Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 16.   The time machine and finder problems started after that. 


    Any suggestions from folks monitoring this thread would be appreciated. 

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2013 3:50 PM (in response to Muizen)

    The backup stopped saying "Backing up 40kB of 5,07GB"


    The backup process came across corrupted file structure or data on the drive, or possibly it's some sort of copyrighted content and Apple has enabled a preventative measure from it being copied (less likely but possible)


    Another possibility is the TimeMachine drive is corrupted right at that location and the write operation is not being completed.



    What you do is this.


    1: Get another external powered drive equal to or larger than your current boot drive.


    2: If it's a hard drive, then use Disk Utility > Erase and (10.7+ move the slider one spot to the right) Security Option > Zero all Data on the drive and format OS X ext J (default) and let it complete.


    3: If it's a SSD then just format it 1 partition, click box, option GUID and OS X ext J as the format, you can't secure erase those. The secure erase procedure will map off failing bad sectors in advance, it greatly improves your read speeds, but it's only for hard drives, SSD's no need.


    4: Next download and install Carbon Copy Cloner, use the default settings to clone OS X to the external drive.


    Now if CCC stops on a file when cloning, then you know it's a problem with that particular file.


    If CCC completes the cloning operation, the you know it's a problem with the TimeMachine drive.


    5: When CCC is completed, hold the option/alt key down and boot the machine into Startup Manager, then you can select the clone and boot from it. If the drive name is the same, change it to something different.


    6: Use Disk Utility to Repair Permissions on the clone and the boot drive, doesn't matter which, a clone is a clone.




    If you have a particular problem with the file on the internal boot drive, you need to remove it or replace it with a good copy and try the clone all over again.


    If there are a lot of corrupted files, then you have a bigger problem, backup just your users file folder to a regular external drive (not a complete drive clone) and disconnect, then erase and install OS X using the Zero function on the internal MacintoshHD partition or the entire drive (if on 10.6)


    How to erase and install Snow Leopard 10.6



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