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  • David Schwab Level 1 Level 1

    Indeed. I'm, not along in this either. It's a shame, because when it was working, Time Machine was great.


    For people keeping track, I'm now at 39.93GB since my last post 3 hours ago. That's about a gigabyte an hour.

  • lauhub Level 1 Level 1

    Did you try the workaround I proposed there ?


    I am under Lion, but may be it can help with ML.


    For Lion, we finally had a supplemental update that corrected the problem. Apparently, making bugreports finally made Apple move.


    I wish you good luck.

  • David Schwab Level 1 Level 1

    lauhub wrote:


    Did you try the workaround I proposed there ?



    I deleted the Spotlight index and let it rebuild them. I did that twice, because it didn't really finish the first time. The other stuff mentioned there doesn't matter IMO (like disabling spotlight, since you are deleting the indexes anyway and then rebooting). I used OnyX to nuke the index as well as cache files.


    It did help initially, as Time Machine said it would take "about a day". But that kept growing, first to 2 and then 3 days, and then to 13 days. So the fix didn't last long.


    The backup drive had been reformatted, so I was starting from scratch. I finally gave up after that last post I made, reformatted the drive, and went back to Carbon Copy Cloner. That took 21 hours to back up my hard drive. That was better than 13 days. I have it set to do a backup every night. I really don't need it doing it every hour. Time Machine used to slow the whole Mac down in ML when it was doing its thing. That was never an issue in Lion.


    Time Machine is cool, and I wish it was working, but at least I have a backup now.

  • chipsfortea Level 1 Level 1


    I've had the same problems but they have settled down.  I'm no expert but I think Time Machine uses the indexing in some way to determine what has changed and what hasn't, this is what takes the time with a backup - not copying the files.  My backups started slow and reindexing didn't help.  I did remove iTunes and iPhoto from spotlight but have since added them back.  After the initially very long backups things have settled down.  I think that each time you delete the index, you force Time Machine to start again and this is waht takes the time.

    Of course, I could be wrong...

  • David Schwab Level 1 Level 1

    I believe you are correct. I deleted the index because everyone said that's how you fix this. Things had been working great, and then out of nowhere, Time Machine starting working so slow that it said it was going to take a week to do one of the hourly backups, and then at one point it went to 30 days! It was unable to complete a 500 mb update in three days, so I stopped it and and went looking for a cause and solution.


    Interestingly Apple released a fix for slow Time Machine backups on Lion, so something must be up. For me, Time Machine never ran as well on Mountain Lion, and would just about freeze up the Mac when it was backing up, especially if I had the menu bar widget showing.


    My initial Time Machine backup was not 13 days long. While I'm sure I have some extra stuff on the Mac, I copied a lot of the bog files, like videos, to another external hard drive. I had also excluded some folders like Downloads and my iTunes library.


    It's possible that after the 13 days it would have been back to normal, but the fact that it broke just doing incremental backups, and that I would have to go 13 days with no backup (and I can't afford a second backup drive at the moment) pushed me in this direction.


    If they fix it I might switch back to Time Machine.

  • bhurte Level 1 Level 1

    This thread has gotten pretty focused on Spotlight fixes, where that has been only one of the solutions that has worked - in Mountain Lion - for some (and not for others).  What worked for me was turning off 5GHz; an RF fix.  What worked for others (and is still a mystery to me) was running a passive diagnostic - TMDiagnose.  The problem seems quite diverse - wired vs wireless; single user vs multiple; Time Capsule vs external drive.  It doesn't surprise me that a Lion solution around Spotlight came from Apple, where there hasn't been a solution for Mountain Lion from Apple.  There seem to be multiple causes for the slowdown on Mountain Lion (which is the domain for this forum).  Any Mountain Lion users still having the problem who haven't tried the TMDiagnose (didn't work for me) or the turning off 5GHz solution (did work for me), try those before messing with Spotlight (much less painful, IMHO).

  • chipsfortea Level 1 Level 1

    I have run the sudo tmdiagnose command in Terminal to create a log for Apple technicians to look at while Time Machine was running.  I thought that was the only purpose of the command.  I wouldn't run any sudo commands just on the hope they might work as they are quite powerful and I'm not really expert enough to know how they work.  It's possible this helped rather than my just letting Time Machine settle down over a week or so.  I've sent a couple of logs to senior AppleCare technicians and advisers who seemed stumped by this problem  I don't have much extra software added but do have four accounts, two with parental controls which has also gone a bit haywire since Mountain Lion.

  • lauhub Level 1 Level 1

    You also can try this:


    Before starting a new backup, type the following command in a Terminal (this will stop Spotlight):

    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/


    Start TimeMachine and until it has saved all data (should not hang).


    Then I type to restart Spotlight:

    sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/


    Let us know if it helps

  • sdb185 Level 1 Level 1

    I'm experiencing the same issue -- MacBook Pro Retina, backing up to a Time Capsult 1TB (which I've used for other machines) and it's glacially slow (13 hours so far and only 20GB backed up...ugh).   Saw the recommendation for using "sudo tmdiagnose" -- question is can I run tmdiagnose while the backup process is running, or do I need to stop the backup process first?

  • r.geromin Level 1 Level 1

    The only way to fix the TM bug is to rebuilt TM.


    If your TM is slow, you can stop Spotlight

    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

    but this not solve the problem.


    I solved the problem in ML in this way:


    - delete /.fseventsd

    - reboot

    - sudo mdutil -E / (rebuilt spotlight index)

    - select a new TM in the TM menu of ML

    - new backup in a new HD


    This method is still working for me.


    If I try to use the old disk (with the old TM) but the backup is still very slow.

    I think the only way to solve it is to create a new TM.

  • chipsfortea Level 1 Level 1


    The function of tmdiagnose is not to solve time machine problems, it's to create a log that an expert can examine. AppleCare technicians are examing the log at this very moment!!!

    My first few backups were very slow and often failed, perhaps because the wireless connection dropped for a short time during the (very long) backup; I didnt watch it to check.  But, once time machine had run a few backups, things setttled down and I have had no problems now for about 10 days.  If you keep deleting indexes etc, then it seems to me all you are doing is making time machine start again from scratch creating its own new indexes.

    I did erase the disk (risky, as i then did not have a backup) and started again, but after a week it settled down and seems ok.


    Of course, I could be wrong...

  • Tech Harmony Level 1 Level 1

    Okay, i will try to summarize some of this and answer a few questions


    Many people are mentioning other kinds of problems they are having backing up under Mountain Lion (and Lion) but so far none of the non-Spotlight issues I've heard are new issues under Mountain Lion:


      • -Third-party antivirus programs interfering with and slowing down Time Machine backups is not really new.
      • -Additional external hard drives being backed up, making the process longer...not new.
      • -Time Capsule backup failures (I've had 4 different client Time Capsules choke on backups going as far back as Leopard and Snow Leopard...fairly fixable).
      • -Generally corrupt Time Machines .... old issue (thankfully not common but does happen)
      • -Backing up over Crashplan is, like any cloud backup, bottlenecked by the speed of your uploads other words SLOW...not a ML problem.
      • -5ghz RF (radio/channel) fix sounds like a regular old problem with Wireless N, interference with other networks, etc...not new.


    I've encountered all of these things under Leopard and Snow Leopard long before Mountain Lion was a glimmer in Steve Jobs' eye.


    Heck, there used to be some MAJOR problems/slowdowns with Spotlight too but it seems like the current issue is making any underlying issues so much worse!


    So the Spotlight/TimeMachine interaction issue appears to be at the heart of this breakdown for 10.7.5 and 10.8.2. I didn't have any problems under the few 10.7.4 systems I got running for clients. Nor did I have a problem setting up a two-hard-drive Time Machine back up of 3TB of data (!!!) under 10.8.0 (or .1 or whatever).


    @David Schwab

    I think your backup drive is busted or, more likely, you're having the Spotlight issue slow down your Carbon Copy Cloner too. I am running a test right now (albeit under Snow Leopard) and I've done 50GB in 30 minutes using CCC. Yours took 21 hours for under 550GB. Mine will take under 6 hours for 550GB. To put in perspective, it could take less than 21 hours to back up 550GB over a network even and you're going local.


    What people are finding is critical with the Spotlight fix in Mountain Lion/Lion -- and as @lauhub, among others, has pointed out -- is that we must unload it altogether for the initial backup. Other steps like "tmdiagnose", removing indexes, and repairing disk permissions may also be criitical. I will explain in a moment. But a Spotlight issue would be consistent with a slow Carbon Copy Cloner as well. Removing indexes alone will just take way more time and tax your processor at the same time you are running backups.


    But the main issue (and fix) has to do with finding the right combination of Spotlight fixes -- those people who did enough of them, appear to have fully functioning Time Machines on Lion and Mountain Lion.


    Of course, Lion users (most? all?) can now download the new 10.7.5 "Supplemental" update -- several users have confirmed that this fixed their problem under Lion.


    The supplemental update for Mountain Lion does not fix this problem -- nor does it claim to.


    What follows are some collected steps people have used to modify their Spotlights to work with Time Machine.


    In general, for some people, unloading Spotlight, restarting, and running Time Machine again was sufficient. Others had to clear out old Spotlight indexes.


    I will include some optional steps that may help those who have a particularly tenacious problem.


    0) A good general maintenance step that often magically fixes some underlying things is to open up the Utility "Disk Utility," highlight your main hard drive in the left so that the "Repair Disk Permissions" button becomes available. You ONLY "Repair Disk Permissions" on your main drive. Don't be a hero and click other buttons. If you don't have the option, you're doing it wrong (or I'm explaining it wrong) and move on for now. You do NOT need to boot your recovery partition to  "repair disk permissions." If you want to be thorough (and you may as well be) you should restart after you "repair disk permissions."



    So, if you're ready, fire up "Terminal":


    1) Type "sudo tmdiagnose" (no quotation marks, press return, and it will ask for you password)


    This doesn't hurt anything but I also don't think that it is merely diagnostic. I think in the process of putting together reports (which I personally assumed were utterly useless to send to Apple) that it clears out some Time Machine garbage. For me this brought my estimates under Lion from 400 days to 8 hours (for 3 different Lion 10.7.5 computers). It didn't fix the problem on its own (it bumped up to a week after I had to stop and restart the backup) but I believe it helped things for me for the next steps



    2) sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/


    (required) This is all on one line! (don't include my (2)!) It seems pretty safe if you type it out right.  It will unload Spotlight from booting when you next restart your system. So run this command and restart your computer. This is a pretty safe but absolutely critical step. Like so:


    3) restart your computer if you didn't do it just now


    If you did it right, attempting to use Spotlight won't tell you much of anything. Try typing something into it and prove to yourself that Spotlight is gloriously worthless.


    4) Try running your Time Machine back up.


    You might luck out and it indicates that it is going to work pretty fast. Give it a shot.


    NOTE 1: At a minimum, you could go into your Time Machine preference first, go to where you select a back up drive, select nothing ("do not back up" or whatever), exit, go back in, select a back up drive again, and now choose your existing back up drive. Sometimes this fixes problems with back up mounts, especially over the network.


    NOTE 2: If you suspect shenanigans with your backup drive itself, you could fire up "Disk Utility" again and this time highlight your backup drive and hit the "Repair Disk" button (just this one!) ... it may take awhile if you have a big disk but it will sort it out if there are problems with it.


    NOTE 3: If you're using a Time Capsule, odds are you're probably going to end up having to nuke your existing back up or create a new one. Your best bet with Time Capsules is using a highspeed Cat5e or Cat6 ethernet cable and plugging directly from computer to Time Capsule (provided you have a Macbook Pro that still has an ethernet port ) ... turn off your wireless on the computer to force a highspeed back up the first time.


    [Personally, I had a full second back up before I upgraded to Lion/Mountain Lion so I used some tricks to rename/move said back up and start over with a fresh one. If you can afford to, you could also reformat your back up drive... make sure it's GUID and not FAT32 (a tale for another time)]


    5) If you got through a complete Time Machine back up in record time, you're in good shape so far. if you didn't, I probably wouldn't bother doing anything beyond reloading Spotlight. There's not much point in removing Spotlight indexes to fix things since Spotlight isn't even running at this point. You should probably just reload Spotlight and pray to Jobs for a speedy fix.


    If things are working alright with Spotlight unloaded -- and mind you, even under ideal conditions (and Leopard/Snow Leopard) I've seen Time Machine backups take all day AND then seem to run constantly for several days thereafter.... soo annoying -- either way, it's time to reload Spotlight:


    sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/



    6) restart your computer and tell Time Machine to "Back Up Now"... see what happens....


    7) Now, what if things get slow again? It does seem as though clearing out old crappy Spotlight indexes is a smart move.... The problem is that the most powerful methods involve commands that could be lethal to your computer. So far everything we've done is easily reversible. So I'm not even going to mention the lethal commands...I'll tell you the ones that are less aggressive but will at least clean something up.


    What is critical to note is that you have a Spotlight index for your main hard drive (and any connected external drive), you have a Spotlight index on your backup drive, and if you are backing up over the network, you have another Spotlight index inside the Time Machine back up sparsebundle. Unfortunately, that's probably the hairy one!


    And, of course, deleting any of these could make your computer reindex for a long may take hours, your processor will chug along in the background. Unfortunately, this is kind of what you want This happens after you upgrade your OS and explains why many upgrades start out a bit sluggish as the "mds" process churns along in the background indexing your computer. I would just completely ignore Time Machine estimates while the computer is reindexing (as indicated by your magnifying glass pulsing a little dot at you)... in fact, I would turn off Time Machine altogether while Spotlight reindexes!


    Okay, so you could do the harmless (potentially helpful) step where you add your hard drive, backup drive, and mounted backup sparsebundle to your Spotlight privacy list in System Preferences.... (optional restart)...then remove them from the privacy lists again. Seems to be a low-tech way to erase existing Spotlight indexes.... Like this:


    If you know how to reveal invisible files/folder, you're basically going after the ".Spotlight-V100" file at the root/top of each of the drives in question. You just want to trash it (and only it) altogether.


    I can tell you about "sudo mdutil" commands to turn indexing off/on for drives and flush index caches BUT when I ran them all just now, they didn't appear to touch my .Spotlight-V100 file.


    sudo mdutil -E -p -a

    (this technically flushes indexes in local stores, network stores, and all volumes... it will probably mention some errors becauseo of the -p network flush)


    sudo mdutil -i off -a

    (disables indexing on all drives)


    sudo mdutil -i on -a

    (reenables indexing on all drives)


    8) When you're finally within reach of Time Machine backup bliss, you might Google a little app called "TimeMachineEditor" which lets you schedule daily/weekly Time Machine backups instead of having it run all the time. It will have you set up Time Machine but then turn off the TM switch...then this little app runs it for you. Now, your computer has to be awake for the scheduled backup (Energy Saver lets you schedule one wake up) ... I just prefer to control when my backups happen....

  • William Abbott Level 1 Level 1

    I would like to point out how far we have come from the concept of the Mac computer as an appliance. Maybe Cook & Co. can get us back to that idiom.



  • stuff4me Level 1 Level 1

    I am having a similar issue. What is happening is that when I connect via 802.11N Time Machine is extremely slow an sometimes will stall out and error out or can not find the drive. When I connect to the 802.11G Network my backups works as expected. It maps/mounts the drive within a few seconds and starts backing up. Then I connect back to the 802.11N network and the long maps/mounts happen again.


    I am running AEBS (newest Gen) with G and N networks. I have even just made it an N only network, and I still get the issue as stated above.


    I have an external HDD attached to the AEBS. This worked in Lion just find under the N network.


    I seems to be an issue with Mountain Lion/Time Machine with a 802.11N wireless network.

  • Tech Harmony Level 1 Level 1

    I would forget about Wireless N for now.

    If Time Machine isn't working for people to local drives, it absolutely won't work to Wireless N.

    You're lucky if Wireless G still works for you.


    If you have the ability to perform the above Spotlight fixes, try them in conjunction with Wireless N and see if you get stable performance.

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