Brand-new retina MacBook Pro (512 GB SSD) connected to brand-new Time Capsule (3 GB).
Software is all up-to-date (Mountain Lion).
After purchasing and setting up this top-of-the-line system last month, Time Machine was configured to make backups on the Time Capsule.
As best as I can tell, Time Machine has been quietly doing it's thing. The TM icon in the menu bar has been spinning around every hour or so, backing up my work (mostly Office 2011 activities). Or so I thought.
Last week, Microsoft Office 2011 suffered a meltdown and hosed the all-important Microsoft database file. My Outlook Mail, Calendars and Contacts were all inaccessible. Off I went to Time Machine to recover a previous version of the database file. To my surprise, upon entering TM, there was nothing there. A Finderesque window displayed my MS Identities folder, over the star wars background. The go-back-in-time arrow did nothing. The calendar slider on the right was grayed out. According to TM, there are no previous backups to browse.
However, the available space on the TC hard drive has dropped to 2.1GB, suggesting that TM has written some 800 GB to the drive during the last month of backup activity. I've not copied any other data to the Time Capsule, so the 800 GB that's been consumed has to be due to Time Machine. My hours/days/weeks of backed-up data seems to be on the TC hard drive, but it's invisible to Time Machine.
The TC appears to be operational. I can mount the /Data volume, see the backups.backupd folder. I mounted the sparseimage -- all that's in it is a single file timestamped 10-1-2012 whose extension is .inprogress. The TC is working fine as a WiFi access point, an ethernet switch and gateway router connected to my ISP.
I spent over three hours on the phone with five different advisors from AppleCare. At the end of it all, the senior advisor's advice was to send the Time Capsule off to a 3rd party data recovery company and see if they could recover the TM data files. At my (considerable) expense. To rub salt in the wound, he refused to dispatch a replacement Time Capsule so I could maintain my business (i.e connectivity to the internet, WiFi network) while the Time Capsule was off being analyzed.
So where did my 800GB of TM backup data go? It must be on the TC drive somewhere, even if Time Machine can't find it. And how on earth can Time Machine pretend to be working for over 4 weeks when it's not? There's little point in copying backup data to the Time Capsule if one can't access the information.