Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Dec 14, 2010 6:59 PM by Peter Best1
Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
I've been using a 2TB Seagate Free Agent drive as my Time Machine drive and it has functioned beautifully for more than a year, but in early November 2010 it stopped backing up and has since done nothing, though it's connected in exactly the same way, is switched on, and tests OK when I verify it with Disk Utility. I've tried "Back Up Now", but though it appears to work for a while nothing is actually backed up. I've reset Time Machine, deleting the plist file, but the drive worked for a little while (I assume it was simply looking to see when the last backup was) without backing up. Until yesterday I hadn't realised this was happening. I'd got so used to it backing up quietly and industriously without my involvement and was surprised to see the last backup listed as 11th November 2010. This is a dangerous situation for me and I would appreciate your advice please.

iMac 3.06 GH, Mac OS X (10.6.5), 4GB RAM
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (250,785 points)
    Erase the drive and start over.

    See User Tips for 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.
  • Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Oh dear, Kappy, has it really come to that? I guess it has. I've repaired the Time Machine disk (all OK), restarted Time Machine and watched what happens. Time Machine assidously scans the disk, tells me it's preparing the files to back up, shows about 50,000 files it's planning to back up, then does nothing more, having backed up nothing. Disk Utility doesn't think there's a fault on the disk, I can look at the back-ups from 11th November backwards and they're fine. Could you explain to me what's going on? Is this something a punter can guard against, and if not, is it something that Apple should be addressing? Can I rely on this system or should I abandon it and go back to other programmes that are maybe more fiddly but more reliable?
  • Peggy Lynn Level 4 Level 4 (2,470 points)
    Using Time Machine to back up to a NAS is not supported by Apple and is highly error prone. If that is the case and you want to back up over a network either back up to a Time Capsule or over a network to a drive directly attached to one of your Macs running Leopard or Snow Leopard.

    If you are using an Apple supported method for Time Machine search for backupd in All Messages in Console. Sometimes there is a helpful hint about what Time Machine is unhappy about. If TM is complaining about a particular file omit it from the Time Machine backup to see if that fixes things.

    You should never, ever consider any single piece of software or hardware reliable for backups. I have a SuperDuper! clone on a separate drive as well as my Time Machine backup. SuperDuper! clones automatically when I'm asleep so it isn't fiddly at all. Anything desperately important gets burned to CD or DVD from time to time. That's a bit fiddly.
  • Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    I'm sorry if I sound like a dimwit, but I've got an external drive connected directly to my Mac and that drive is my Time Machine drive. Should I have an internally connected drive if I hope to do this job properly? Is the Apple system so frail that external drives connected by a firewire or usb cable are off near Planet Pluto? That sounds very weird indeed to me, but maybe it doesn't to you. What I hope for, is someone telling me that Time Machine; (a) doesn't work for long, so don't rely on it (b) doesn't work very well, even in the short term, so don't rely on it (c) works brilliantly if only you do the right thing, which is????????(d) is ratty in the extreme, and might work this week and might not work next week, so use SuperDuper as you used to do and ignore Time Machine. Best of all, I'd love it if someone could tell me why this problem has arisen, and suggest ways to circumvent it. And maybe tell me if this has happened to other people and if that's so, tell me why it goes on happening?
  • Peggy Lynn Level 4 Level 4 (2,470 points)
    You don't sound the least bit like a dimwit. I'm sorry if my comment wasn't clear. You didn't mention whether or not you were using a direct connection and I wanted to make clear that Apple doesn't support NAS configurations for Time Machine and that they are notoriously flakey. A direct connection like you are using via USB or Firewire is supported by Apple.

    Both Time Machine and SuperDuper! work flawlessly for me but I've learned over the years that things go wrong with excellent hardware and software so I never trust my backups to a single software or hardware solution. No one should. I've lost track of the times my backups have saved me from cranky software and hardware.

    Someone may be able to tell you what might have gone awry with your Time Machine backups if you post the backupd Console results but sometimes the reason backups fail isn't all that obvious. No one would be able to make an educated guess with the information you've given us.

    I forgot to mention in my first post that repairing permissions would be worth trying.
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    Peter Best1 wrote:
    Oh dear, Kappy, has it really come to that? I guess it has. I've repaired the Time Machine disk (all OK), restarted Time Machine and watched what happens. Time Machine assidously scans the disk, tells me it's preparing the files to back up, shows about 50,000 files it's planning to back up, then does nothing more, having backed up nothing.


    That sounds like a problem on your internal HD. Try Verifying it, per #A5 in [Time Machine - Troubleshooting|http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/Troubleshooting.html] (or use the link in *User Tips* at the top of this forum). Then Restart your Mac.

    If that doesn't help, a clue may be lurking in your logs. See #A1 there for a handy widget that will display the backup messages from your logs. Copy and post the messages from one of these "hanging" backups here.
  • Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Here's the latest log:
    Dec 13 08:09:15 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Starting standard backup
    Dec 13 08:09:15 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Backing up to: /Volumes/PETER'S TIME MACHINE/Backups.backupdb
    Dec 13 08:09:18 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Event store UUIDs don't match for volume: iMAC 1
    Dec 13 08:09:18 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Event store UUIDs don't match for volume: iMAC 2
    Dec 13 08:09:22 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Node requires deep traversal:/ reason:must scan subdirs|new event db|
    Dec 13 08:16:15 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Error: Flushing index to disk returned an error: 0
    Dec 13 08:16:17 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Backup canceled.
    Dec 13 09:09:16 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Starting standard backup
    Dec 13 09:09:16 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Backing up to: /Volumes/PETER'S TIME MACHINE/Backups.backupdb
    Dec 13 09:09:22 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Event store UUIDs don't match for volume: iMAC 1
    Dec 13 09:09:22 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Event store UUIDs don't match for volume: iMAC 2
    Dec 13 09:09:23 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Node requires deep traversal:/ reason:must scan subdirs|new event db|
    Dec 13 09:16:01 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Error: Flushing index to disk returned an error: 0
    Dec 13 09:16:01 114 com.apple.backupd[41410]: Backup canceled.


    Does this shed any light?
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    Peter Best1 wrote:
    . . .
    Dec 13 08:16:15 114 com.apple.backupd[20767]: Error: Flushing index to disk returned an error: 0


    A rather cryptic message, unfortunately. There's some sort of problem writing an index to a disk; It's not clear which one.

    Verify your startup drive (I'm guessing iMAC1), per #A5 in [Time Machine - Troubleshooting|http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/Troubleshooting.html] (or use the link in *User Tips* at the top of this forum).

    Also Repair the other internal (presumably iMAC2) and your TM drive, per #A5.
  • Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    All 3 drives are said by Disk Utility to be OK.
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    Rats.

    Perhaps it's the contents of the index that's corrupted. Try excluding your TM drive from Spotlight indexing briefly (Spotlight and TM use the same index).

    Go to +System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy+ and add your TM drive to it for a few moments, then remove it.

    Watch the Spotlight indicator at the right of your menubar; when you remove the exclusion, a dot should appear inside it, and remain while Spotlight re-indexes. When it's done, the dot should disappear.

    Then try another backup.
  • Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    I added my Time Machine drive to the privacy list, then took it out again. I didn't see a dot or any other evidence of indexing, so I added the Time Machine drive to the privacy list again and left it there for an hour, with the same result. Perhaps the indexing is beavering away privately, but an attempt at a backup since then has resulted in the same failure as before: it scans the drive, then claims to be backing up, then says the latest backup was on November 11th and the next backup is in an hour. This is really quite crazy.
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    Peter Best1 wrote:
    . . .
    This is really quite crazy.


    Indeed.

    Let's try just deleting the index. It's a hidden file, so download the free [Tinker Tool|http://www.bresink.com/osx/TinkerTool.html] app. It allows you to change the Finder to show hidden files (among many other things). Select the first option under Finder, then click +Relaunch Finder+ at the bottom. Reverse this when done.

    Then look at your Time Machine drive via the Finder. Be +*very careful+* not to move, change, or delete anything else, as that can corrupt your backups. At the top level should be a folder named .Spotlight-V100. Delete it.

    If you don't have permission to delete it, do a +Get Info+ on it. Click the padlock at the lower right of the Get Info panel. Enter your Admin password at the prompt. Click the plus sign at the lower left, select your username in the next panel, then click Select. That will give you Read rights. Click where it says +Read Only+ and change it to +Read & Write.+

    Then you should be able to delete it.
  • Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    I deleted the index as instructed. It all went smoothly. Then I tried a backup in Time Machine. It scanned the drives, prepared something like 100,000 files for backup, then, without backing up anything, said "cleaning up" and settled back, quite relaxed, with the last backup listed as 11th November 2010. I'm very grateful to those people who've tried to help me with this problem, and I'm sorry to be an ongoing nuisance. I suspect I need to do as the first respondent suggested and erase the backup drive. The only thing that keeps me going is a desire to find out what's going on. If I give up now then nobody's any the wiser in the future when such things happen. Is this a unique problem? I assume so. What have I done that has caused it? I wish I knew. Anyway thanks for all your efforts.
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    Don't give up!

    Post the messages, please.

    Are these your only backups? If so, I'd hesitate to erase them -- if something awful happens before you get a new backup . . .

    Do you have another drive you can use, even temporarily?

    I always recommend keeping "secondary" backups (at least), since all hardware fails, sooner or later, and no backup app is perfect. You might want to consider getting a second drive, perhaps a portable that you'll be able to take off-site once we figure out what's wrong.
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