8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 27, 2011 8:48 AM by Dwyerfen
TommytheCat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
About a week ago I put some files from my laptop to the external drive that the iMac described below uses for time machine, and in the process the computer froze and I had some mounting problems with the external drive. It turned out ok though, and for the last week it has mounted fine, I got all the files transferred, and I can access all the files on it, including the previous time machine backups. However, since I did all this, even though I can still put files onto the drive and take them off, the official time machine backups haven't been working. The status just says "preparing backup" and the clock icon keeps spinning. I just now repaired the drive on Disk Utility, and it said it repaired it with no problems, but I'm getting the same result with Time Machine. Why would Time Machine not work if the drive is still perfectly accessible? Does putting other files that aren't part of Time Machine backups make Time Machine stop working?

Intel iMac, 1.83 GHz, 2 GB memory, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • 1. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    Jolly Giant Level 7 Level 7 (25,440 points)
    TommytheCat wrote:
    "preparing backup"


    check out D1 in [this_|http://web.me.com/pondini/TimeMachine/Troubleshooting.html] user tip by Pondini.

    JGG

  • 2. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    TommytheCat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    thanks, I did everything it said and nothing worked until I tried to verify the internal disk and the verification failed with something about incorrect number of directories. My next step is now going to be boot from the CD and repair the internal disk with Disk Utility. I have everything backed up, and like I said, I can access the external drive just fine, so I think this step is safe, but I just want to make sure.
  • 3. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    TommytheCat wrote:
    thanks, I did everything it said and nothing worked until I tried to verify the internal disk and the verification failed with something about incorrect number of directories. My next step is now going to be boot from the CD and repair the internal disk with Disk Utility. I have everything backed up, and like I said, I can access the external drive just fine, so I think this step is safe, but I just want to make sure.


    Yup.
  • 4. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    TommytheCat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm still going to try that, but I also want to mention that I repaired the external drive and it said the repair was successful, but then I verified it again and it still said the drive needed to be repaired. What could cause this?
  • 5. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    It could be a false result from the verify (if you did it using the copy of Disk Utility on the OSX drive). You'll notice the message about it being a "live verification."

    That's a very tricky thing to do on a modern, complex OS -- checking all the directories, catalogs, etc., to make sure everything is "in sync" while OSX is running. It will temporarily suspend some things to allow that, but it's possible that something that requires several entries will get checked before all the pieces are finished.

    If the repair doesn't find any problems, that's likely the explanation.

    But if it does, there's something causing problems, that will need to be addressed.
  • 6. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    TommytheCat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Pondini wrote:

    If the repair doesn't find any problems, that's likely the explanation.

    But if it does, there's something causing problems, that will need to be addressed.

    that's good to hear. However, now when I booted from the 10.5 install disc, when I try to repair the internal HDD, it says it could not be unmounted, so it doesn't repair. I thought that was the point of booting from the install disc.
  • 7. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)
    TommytheCat wrote:
    . . .
    However, now when I booted from the 10.5 install disc, when I try to repair the internal HDD, it says it could not be unmounted, so it doesn't repair. I thought that was the point of booting from the install disc.


    It probably doesn't matter, but if you're running Snow Leopard, repair only with a Snow Leopard disc.

    If it still doesn't work, try this: [Intel-based Macs: Using Apple Hardware Test|http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509]. Run the Extended tests. (For that, you do need the original disc.)
  • 8. Re: Time Machine stuck on "preparing backup"
    Dwyerfen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I had a similar problem after trying to restore an iMovie 09 file, (side issue - avoid iMovie 09) everything froze and from then on for about 2 months TM stuck on 'preparing back-up' if I ever tried backing up.

    Today I restored a music file without a problem and (I've no idea why) TM started backing up again.