Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: May 17, 2012 12:41 AM by StupidOne
StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

I am a PC user, I bought my wife an iMac, since the world seems to think it is the best platform for ordinary simple folk.



She has been using it, mostly for email and downloading her photos from her camera, for about 2 years now (so out of any warranty or service agreement).



Thinking that the machine was a bit slow, she got a bee in her bonnet that it was the Time Machine slowing it down. So she asked me to get rid of some of the two years of backup. A quick search on the web made me come to the conclusion that it was not straightforward, and not safe, so I told her that it could not be done and that it was unlikely to have any effect on speed. She had already emptied trash, and that was about as far as I could go.



The Time Machine is using an external 2 x 512GB unit on a firewire port. The unit has two disks, one I named Studio 1, the other Studio 2. Time Machine was using just one of those, Studio 1, I think.



Deciding that she could do better than me, she dragged the Time Machine icon off the taskbar onto one of the Studio disks, possiblly Studio 2.


There is no way to check anything now, as since then, the iMac has been sitting with a twizzley busy thing twirling on the centre of a white screen and there seems to be nothing I can do about it.



Is there an equivalent to Ctrl+Alt+Del which would bring up the Task Manager on a PC, and I could then kill whatever process she has invoked?



It seems to me to be like putting a snake's tail in its mouth and the stupid snake is gradually eating itself up. It may be that it is creating a copy of all the time machine files? I do not know what effect dragging an icon has.



I have no idea about iMac's, and if I have to rebuild it, I am not sure how to start. Some help on that would be welcome.



If this were a question on a PC forum, it would bring down **** on my head, I hope there are some helpful souls here.... ;-)

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 8 (40,262 points)

    Command + option + escape. Hope that's what you were looking for - it allows you to force quit open applications.


    Or open Activity Monitor. Do a Spotlight Search by click on the magnifying glass in the very upper right of the screen. Type Activity Monitor and launch it. You can select a process and click "Quit Process," which is the icon that looks like a stop sign.

  • WZZZ Level 6 (12,875 points)

    Deleting the backups from TM using the Finder and moving them to the trash would likely have corrupted it. I don't use Time Machine, but there are some excellent tips and troubleshooting advice here.


  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    If this were a question on a PC forum, it would bring down **** on my head, I hope there are some helpful souls here...

    Sad, but I find that true... things are different here though in Macdom, I see you likely have some great answers so far, but Welcome aboard!

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,799 points)

    It's hard to tell from your description (since there is no "taskbar" on a Mac), but I think what happened is that your wife dragged the icon of the Time Machine volume on the Desktop onto the icon of another volume. That action would have started a long-running copy operation. To stop it, select  ▹ Force Quit... from the menu bar, then select Finder and press return. The Finder will relaunch automatically. Delete the partial copy from the target volume.

  • StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your replies. First, I could take no action interactively with the machine, as the screen turned white with a whirling busy indicator (NOT the technicolor one). I tried Ctrl+Option+Escape, but it did not react.


    BTW, I am a Windows person, so forgot that the 'taskbar' on the Mac is called the dock.


    >Linc, she did exactly what you describe, but there was no menu bar or anything else.


    After doing some googling, I discovered that I could use the option key with my original SnowLeopard disk and got into utilities where I restored to an earlier time using one of the full backups listed. So, I got the beast to sort-of work again. I say sort of, as it is running at about 0.1%  normal speed. No responsiveness, long waits for any action for mouse-clicks, something really bad wrong. I have run the check disk utitity which says hard disk is fine. I have created a new user with admin rights, and logged my wife off, as this was suggested to decide if user space problem or not. I have attempted to log on, but it has been sitting looking at me for the last 15mins since I clicked on my id - it has not yet got to ask for my password.


    Once I get in, should I be able to use the Activity Monitor much in the same way as Task Manager in Windows?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,799 points)

    ...I restored to an earlier time using one of the full backups listed.


    An earlier time before the problem started?

  • StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

    A good question. The computer seemed to be working OK, but just a bit slow, yesterday afternoon, and my wife did her worst in the evening, so I restored it to midday. I was surprised that full backups were offered with only one hour between them, going back further than I looked.


    Does the time machine purport to actually make full backups every hour (probably the recurrence is adjustable?) and actually make a full backup every so often and an incremental every hour?  Certainly, the TM disk is just 500G of which only about 300 is used, and the system disk is using about 150 of the 300 capacity.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,799 points)

    TM makes a full backup every hour. Unchanged files are merely references to earlier copies, so a snapshot takes up much less space than the original data.


    What is your Mac OS version?

  • StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

    First, it is Snow Leopard, 10.6.8. I updated the iMac some couple or so months back.


    Second, since your question, I rebooted from the installation disk and looked a little closer at the available backups. Only full backups are listed in the offerings.


    Until May 10th, full backups were listed one for each day. After May 10th, they became more often. May 11th had three full backups available, and May 12th had a full backup of every hour available. I read here that it does incremental/differential backups every hour, and I suspect the FULL backup is normally daily, though not mentioned in that URL. So, instead of an incremental backup, by the 12th it was doing hourly full backups. I guess my wife did something she didn't tell me about.


    Anyway, I decided to drop back to May 10th and will see what happens.


    Thanks Linc, for asking the perceptive question which made me go back and look more carefull. I now have high hope.


    Talk about steep learning curves. Give me a Windows 7 machine any day...(rofl)

  • StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, that did not go at all well. I tried last evening, but found the system did not respond at any reasonable speed to the restore process, so decided to start again this a.m and switched off for the night.  So this morning, I switched on, waited quite a time to get into the install process, where I chose May 9th full backup to restore. All went according to plan even if it took about an hour and a half to get to restore finished; then clicked on restart button. System eventually shut down and then came up to a white screen with an apple in the middle and a spinning icon below. That was at about 8a.m., and it still sitting like that. I am tempted to power the machine down and back up again, but it may have something that it should be doing, and this long time is typical. Or is this the Mac equivalent of the BSOD.


    I will wait in the hope that someone is available to give me some advice. I am just soooo dumb when it comes to Mac world.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,799 points)

    You're having way too many problems with what should be routine operations. I suspect you have a hardware fault, probably a bad drive.

  • StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

    Linc, it is good to have someone who knows what things SHOULD be like at  your shoulder. Stay with me.


    OK, I had a last go yesterday. I ran a check on the drive, which stopped on checking catalog. I erased the disk, reset CMS and then made sure the disk had the Mac OS initialised on it. Ran the check again and this time it went through with no problems. Yey, I thought. So, once again, I restored an old backup (1-May) and finally an hour or so later, clicked on the restart button. Nothing very much happened for about 2 hours, when I finally powered it down and started it again. It went to white screen with no apple or anything, and later went bong every 5 mins, but still nothing. Finally, it showed a 'no entry' sign in grey so I switched it off.


    Today, I am going to an Apple agreed service station to get them to sort it. I am taking a nice new 300G (10,000rpm) Velociraptor and if it needs a new disk, they can put that in!  Should end up with a bit more umph when sorted. I am not sure if a 2009 iMac is SATA-2 or 3.


    In France, electronic things are expected by law to have a life of 5-7 years. Major failures are considered vices cachees and are the responsibility of the producer of the goods. I may end up having a go at Apple about this, as theirs is a prestige product and should not end up like some rubbish bought in a cheapo market. Very few cases have come to court under this law, I suspect the supplier of goods generally setttle out of court. Anyway, it is good to dream....


    a bientot

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    I am not sure if a 2009 iMac is SATA-2 or 3.

    Even the last 2009 iMac was SATA2... 3Gb/sec...



    In France, electronic things are expected by law to have a life of 5-7 years.

    Kudos, I think it should be 10 years, but over here the Billionaires run the coumtry.

  • StupidOne Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, every good story should have a happy ending.


    The Apple service place took 2 days (and charged 1 hour) to confirm that the hard disk was dud and replaced it with the Velociraptor. I hate to think how much a hard disk sourced from them rather than Amazon would have been. Anyway, it is back to normal, but definitely more spritely with teh Velociraptor rather than the WD Caviar drive. The techie said he would never have fitted anything other than original spec.


    Bottom line: I could have diagnosed a hard disk failure sooooo much more quickly on a PC than on the Mac. I bought the iMac for my wife as I thought that the Mac was far more resilient and idiot-proof than a PC - I had no idea that it would need repairing before it became just plain obsolete. I have never had a disk failure personally before, and only one when I was in the business in an environment with about 60 machines locally. The MTBF for this drive was significantlly higher than the 3.5yrs it lasted in light use environment. I ask myself whether my wife's action was the problem or more likely just a coincidental symptom.


    Psychologically, I balked at doing the disk change myself as I lacked the diagnostic tools to prove that this was indeed the problem. DO people service their Macs?


    I found the simple responses here most helpful, making me feel not so alone. esp. thanks Linc.

Previous 1 2 Next