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Greymantle Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a 2TB extermal drive that I'm using for Time Machine. Recently (since upgrading to Mountain Lion), I started getting messages that Time Machine is unable to backup because it is out of space, and that it will try and delete old backups the next time it runs to clear more space--only it never seems to do that. It pops up the same message repeatedly, and there appears to be no way to tell the program "only keep the last 15 days" or something like that. I don't need backups going back to 500 B.C.

 

So, I decided to reformat the 2TB drive and START OVER with Time Machine. It worked fine for a few weeks, but is now back to the same old messages of no space, and it won't back up any longer. I removed a lot of data that isn't "critical" to back up, but still getting these messages.Does anyone have any ideas about how to make this thing JUST RUN? I don't need endless backups, just recent ones in-case there is a problem...but it's not working properly and I don't want to have to reformat it every two weeks.


iMac (27-inch Mid 2010), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (150,400 points)

    Do you use virtualization software, such as VMware, Parallels, or VirtualBox?

     

    The virtualization software creates a large virtual-disk container that is constantly changing, so it has to be backed up every time Time Machine runs. That will quickly fill up any backup destination.

     

    You should exclude the virtual-disk file(s) from your Time Machine backups. Click the Options button in the Time Machine preference pane. Back up the files on the virtual disk from within the guest OS, using a native backup application.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Greymantle wrote:

    . . .

    Time Machine is unable to backup because it is out of space, and that it will try and delete old backups the next time it runs to clear more space

    That sounds like the ". . . ran out of space unexpectedly" message, where "unexpectedly" is the key word.

     

    If so, that's usually a directory problem on the drive being backed-up, causing Time Machine's estimate of space needed to be too low, so it doesn't remove enough old backups before starting the new one.

     

    See #C18 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting for details.

     

    If that's not the message you're getting, and Linc's suggestion doesn't help, see #C4 in the same link.

  • Greymantle Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the suggestions, but no to both. I don't use any virtualization software, although I do have a boot camp partition on my 2nd internal HD.

     

    The Time Machine backup is being done on a clean, recently reformatted Lacie 2TB HD that is only used for Time Machne.

     

    The message I'm getting (don't have the exact text in front of me) is that Time Machine ran out of room because there was insufficient space on the HD, and will "attempt" to remove old backups the next time it runs...and when it runs, I get the same message again, and nothing is backed up anymore.

     

    It runs without a problem for a few weeks (after reformatting the external drive) before encountering this message, so the drive mechanism itself is working, just the "deleting of old backups" that appears to be broken and not happening. I will read both sections carefully, and will post the exact message the next time it pops up.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Greymantle wrote:

    . . .

    The message I'm getting (don't have the exact text in front of me) is that Time Machine ran out of room because there was insufficient space on the HD, and will "attempt" to remove old backups the next time it runs...and when it runs, I get the same message again, and nothing is backed up anymore.

    That's almost certainly the "unexpectedly" message, indicating a directory problem on your internal HD (or other drive/partition being backed-up). 

     

    As explained in #C18 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting, this does happen occasionally.  Follow the instructions there and let us know the results.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (150,400 points)

    If you have more than one user account, these instructions must be carried out as an administrator.

    Launch the Console application in any of the following ways:

    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)

    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.

    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Console in the icon grid.

    Make sure the title of the Console window is All Messages. If it isn't, select All Messages from the SYSTEM LOG QUERIES menu on the left.

    Enter the word "Starting" (without the quotes) in the String Matching text field. You should now see log messages with the words "Starting * backup," where * represents any of the words "automatic," "manual," or "standard." Note the timestamp of the last such message. Clear the text field and scroll back in the log to that time. Post the messages timestamped from then until the end of the backup, or the end of the log if that's not clear.

    Post the log text, please, not a screenshot. If there are runs of repeated messages, post only one example of each. Don't post many repetitions of the same message.

    When posting a log extract, be selective. Don't post more than is requested.

    Please do not indiscriminately dump thousands of lines from the log into a message.

     

    Some personal information, such as the names of your files, may be included — edit that out, too, but don’t remove the context.

  • Alex_M_C Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi all,

    Please help! I have exactly the same problem. Prior to upgrading to Mountain Lion - time machine was working fine backing up my 500GB on a 550GB parition on my 1TB LaCie external Hard Disk.

    Since upgrading I got an error saying that Time Machine couldnt complete the backup:

     

    This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires XXGB but only XXGB are available.

     

    Time Machine needs work space on the backup disk, in addition to the space required to store backups. Open Time Machine preferences to select a larger backup disk or make the backup smaller by excluding files.

     

    Thinkin that this could be because I was genuinely running out of space on the backup disk. I reformatted and increased the Time Machine parition to be 900GB of the 1TB. As such, I was then backing up 470 GB of data (on my 500GB hard disk) to the 900 GB parition.

    This worked fine for the first backup. And then for the next 3 days - but then I got the same message:

     

    This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires 433.50 GB but only 360.70 GB are available.

     

    Time Machine needs work space on the backup disk, in addition to the space required to store backups. Open Time Machine preferences to select a larger backup disk or make the backup smaller by excluding files.

     

    It seems like it's always trying to do a full backup and never deleting old ones??

    Surely a 900GB backup disk is enough for a 500GB hard disk.. Never had any issues prior to Mountain Lion ugrade. Shall I just roll back my OS? (dont want to).

    I could just increase the backup to a 2TB or 3TB disk but I'm afraid the same thin will happen in a couple of weeks

    It seems that time machine is not working correctly with my Laptop. A tthe same time I started using Mountain Lion I installed Spotify, but I cant imagine that's causing much data to be backe

     

     

    FYI - I have a mid-2010 13" MacBook Pro now running Mountain Lion with a 500GB hard disk (nearly full)

    Linc Davis - if you're still reading this thread; I dont use any virtualsation software.. Instructions above followed and info as here:

     

    10/01/2013 18:08:32.777 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Starting automatic backup

    10/01/2013 18:08:33.000 kernel[0]: nspace-handler-set-snapshot-time: 135XXXXX

    10/01/2013 18:08:33.330 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Network destination already mounted at: /Volumes/MBP Backup

    10/01/2013 18:08:38.503 mds[39]: (Error) Volume: Root store set to FSOnly with matching create! (loaded:1)

    10/01/2013 18:08:39.310 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Disk image /Volumes/MBP Backup/Alex Campbell’s MacBook Pro.sparsebundle mounted at: /Volumes/Time Machine Backups

    10/01/2013 18:08:39.320 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Backing up to: /Volumes/Time Machine Backups/Backups.backupdb

    10/01/2013 18:08:40.965 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Event store UUIDs don't match for volume: Alex's MBP

    10/01/2013 18:08:41.464 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Waiting for index to be ready (100)

    10/01/2013 18:08:56.862 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Deep event scan at path:/ reason:must scan subdirs|new event db|

    10/01/2013 18:10:51.424 com.apple.mtmd[38]: attempting to thin because of low free space on Alex's MBP (/) by removing 2013-01-10 18:03:33 +1100, estimate 0 bytes to recover, 1 snapshot can be thinned

    10/01/2013 18:11:31.536 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Finished scan

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.130 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Found 28455 files (360.81 GB) needing backup

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.221 com.apple.backupd[1086]: 433.5 GB required (including padding), 360.7 GB available

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.531 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Deleted backup /Volumes/Time Machine Backups/Backups.backupdb/Alex Campbell’s MacBook Pro/2013-01-05-103519.inProgress/C7C7E892-FB4B-4C22-8344-9CCE6E4EA367 containing 4 KB; 360.7 GB now available, 433.5 GB required

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.535 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Deleted backup /Volumes/Time Machine Backups/Backups.backupdb/Alex Campbell’s MacBook Pro/2013-01-05-103519.inProgress/F7F60ED1-FD7B-4B6A-8F93-78235224CAE5 containing 4 KB; 360.7 GB now available, 433.5 GB required

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.537 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Removed 2 expired backups so far, more space is needed - deleting oldest backups to make room

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.540 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Deleted 2 backups containing 8 KB total; 360.7 GB now available, 433.5 GB required

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.540 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Backup date range was shortened: oldest backup is now Jan 10, 2013

    10/01/2013 18:12:14.657 _cvmsroot[1213]: audit warning: allsoft

    10/01/2013 18:12:14.659 _cvmsroot[1212]: audit warning: soft /var/audit

    10/01/2013 18:12:14.673 _cvmsroot[1215]: audit warning: closefile /var/audit/20130110070829.20130110071214

    10/01/2013 18:12:14.689 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Backup failed with error: Not enough available disk space on the target volume.

    10/01/2013 18:12:16.225 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Ejected Time Machine disk image: /Volumes/MBP Backup/Alex Campbell’s MacBook Pro.sparsebundle

    10/01/2013 18:12:16.662 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Ejected Time Machine network volume.

     

     

     

    All help really appretiated!!

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Alex_M_C wrote:

    . . .

    time machine was working fine backing up my 500GB on a 550GB parition on my 1TB LaCie external Hard Disk.

    According to the messages, it's actually a NAS (Network Attached Storage, or Network Drive), not an external HD connected directly to your Mac via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt cable.  There are some differences in the way those are handled.

     

     

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.130 com.apple.backupd[1086]: Found 28455 files (360.81 GB) needing backup

    10/01/2013 18:12:04.221 com.apple.backupd[1086]: 433.5 GB required (including padding), 360.7 GB available

    Problem #1:  It's trying to back up 360 GBs.  From your description, that sounds like nearly the entire contents of your internal HD.

     

    Has something happened since the last successful backup, such as, have you replaced your internal HD, done a "clean install" (erase and install), full system restore, or other major change to your system?  Depending on exactly what you did, including how you put your data back, Time Machine may be treating your internal HD as a different one, so is doing a full backup of it.  There may be a way to avoid that, so let us know exactly what, if anything, happened.

     

     

    Problem #2 is the way Time Machine handles network backups.  It creates a rather odd container called a sparse bundle disk image on the network drive, and places the backups inside it.  When it's created, it has a maximum size equal to the size of the volume (disk or partition) it's on.  When you increase the size of the partition, that maximum does not change automatically, so you haven't actually gained any usable space yet.

     

    For problem #2, we'd ordinarily recommend changing the maximum size of the sparse bundle, per #A8 in Time Machine - TroubleshootingHowever, as noted there, some NASs won't let you do that.    If it won't, you'll have to delete the sparse bundle or erase the partition, and start over.  Most likely, your best bet to do that will be to use LaCie's instructions.

  • Alex_M_C Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Pondini,

    Thanks for the response.

     

    Pondini wrote:

     

    According to the messages, it's actually a NAS (Network Attached Storage, or Network Drive), not an external HD connected directly to your Mac via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt cable.  There are some differences in the way those are handled

    Sorry - yes - I should have been much clearer. It's a 1TB disk connected via USB to my AirPort Extreme, forming a networked drive over wi-fi whichI point Time Machine at to use for backup.

     

    Problem #1:  It's trying to back up 360 GBs.  From your description, that sounds like nearly the entire contents of your internal HD.

     

    Has something happened since the last successful backup, such as, have you replaced your internal HD, done a "clean install" (erase and install), full system restore, or other major change to your system?  Depending on exactly what you did, including how you put your data back, Time Machine may be treating your internal HD as a different one, so is doing a full backup of it.  There may be a way to avoid that, so let us know exactly what, if anything, happened.

     

    Yes - exactly, it is nearly the full contents of the internal HD. This is what I thought when I copied the messages from the console, but I dont know why. This must be the issue - however the problem is that between the last successful backup (on the 5th Jan) I've done very little / nothing to the computer. (downloaded 2 extra films, total about 1.8GB of data added). No major system changes, no installs, no additional software, etc.

    I wonder what else could be making the OS think that so many files had changed?

    My Spotify account does have a 10 GB cache for offline files, but I"m using well under 1 GB of that cache. It creates hundereds of confusingly named files (so you cant copy the music), but the total size of them all is under 1GB - so dont think that's the problem. I may try backing up soon with that cache excluded to see.

     

    Problem #2 is the way Time Machine handles network backups.  It creates a rather odd container called a sparse bundle disk image on the network drive, and places the backups inside it.  When it's created, it has a maximum size equal to the size of the volume (disk or partition) it's on.  When you increase the size of the partition, that maximum does not change automatically, so you haven't actually gained any usable space yet

     

    Interesting, I'll check this when I"m back at home on Sunday. But I dont think it actually is the issue, because when I reformatted and increased the backup size to 900 GB I deleted all the old information on the networked HD (including all Time Machine backups & data) and reformatted the disk with 2 new paritions (one 900GB, one 100GB). This then started (on the 1st Jan) with the need for a complete new Time Machine backup (took 1.5-2 days). When doing that backup the message started at 490GB required of 900GB available. So time machine knew it had 900GB available at some point. It slowly went down to 410GB available on the parition at the end of the backup (cant remember the exact message wording). The following backup then next day was weirdly large as well (circa 50GB? have *no idea* why) - meaning it now only shows 360GB available.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Alex_M_C wrote:

    . .

    No major system changes, no installs, no additional software, etc.

    I wonder what else could be making the OS think that so many files had changed?

    If 360 GB is nearly everything on your internal HD, TM seems to think it's a different disk, not that a lot has changed on the same one (unless you've renamed and/or moved folders containing about 360 GB). 

     

    You might be able to stop that by telling Time Machine to "associate" the disk with the old backups, per #B6 in Time Machine - Troubleshooting.  (As noted there, that may not work on your network backups, and/or the NAS may not allow it.)

     

    If you decide to do that, see if it shows more than one old backup.  If you don't, you might want to take a look at the backups with the Time Machine browser (the "Star Wars" display) -- see if there's more than one backup.

     

     

    My Spotify account does have a 10 GB cache for offline files, but I"m using well under 1 GB of that cache. It creates hundereds of confusingly named files (so you cant copy the music), but the total size of them all is under 1GB - so dont think that's the problem. I may try backing up soon with that cache excluded to see.

    That's worth a try -- although most caches (and logs and trash) are excluded automatically, that one might not be.  Backing-them up would cause individual backups to be somewhat larger, and take somewhat more space, but shouldn't cause a full backup. 

     

    It looks like something else is going on here.

     

    Problem #2 is the way Time Machine handles network backups.  It creates a rather odd container called a sparse bundle disk image on the network drive, and places the backups inside it.  When it's created, it has a maximum size equal to the size of the volume (disk or partition) it's on.  When you increase the size of the partition, that maximum does not change automatically, so you haven't actually gained any usable space yet

     

    Interesting, I'll check this when I"m back at home on Sunday. But I dont think it actually is the issue, because when I reformatted and increased the backup size to 900 GB I deleted all the old information on the networked HD (including all Time Machine backups & data) and reformatted the disk with 2 new paritions (one 900GB, one 100GB). This then started (on the 1st Jan) with the need for a complete new Time Machine backup (took 1.5-2 days). When doing that backup the message started at 490GB required of 900GB available. So time machine knew it had 900GB available at some point. It slowly went down to 410GB available on the parition at the end of the backup (cant remember the exact message wording). The following backup then next day was weirdly large as well (circa 50GB? have *no idea* why) - meaning it now only shows 360GB available.

    The thing is, even if it's backing-up some things you really don't want to back up (like that cache) every hour, Time Machine will delete all but your last remaining backup before failing for lack of room. So something seems to be taking up a lot of space on that partition.

     

    The last remaining backup should take up roughly 360 GB.  Since it now says there's only 360 GB available, there must be about 180 GB of something else on the 900 GB partition.  

     

    The only other thing I can think of is, TM may not have "compacted" the sparse bundle, to recover the space used by deleted backups.  Usually there's a message to that effect in the logs when it runs out of room, but there wasn't one on the log you posted.  It may have been done in an earlier failed backup.

     

    You might want to try doing that manually, per the pink box in Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #12.  (Again, some NASs won't let you do that.) 

  • Alex_M_C Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Great,

    Many thanks Pondini - I'll check out all of the above on Sunday / Monday and will report back how I get on either way.

  • Alex_M_C Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Pondini,

    Well, now then - this is weird. We moved house of ther the weekend so took down my whole wi-fi network for a day, unplugged everything and moved it.

    Plugged it all back in again 2 days later. Expected all the same TM issues, but to my amazment, it's all working fine and now only wants to back up 20MB or 10MB each hour, etc as per usual. It didnt do a full backup or try to do 360GB again. I have no idea what happened, didnt touch my laptop or network, etc. Been working fine now for 1.5 days.

    I"ll keep an eye on it and if the same massive backup issue occurs again will try the above. Thanks for all your help so far

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Ah, it never fails

     

    Glad it (seems to be) fixed!

     

    Let us know if it gets screwy again.

  • Nima Zahadat Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have had the same problem for months.   One thing I did was to make sure not to disconnect my externa disk.  Seems like when you disconnect, somehow it loses track and backs up everything again instead of doing a differential backup so it runs out.

     

    If you have a better solution, please let me know.

     

    Thanks,

    Nima Zahadat

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,720 points)

    Nima Zahadat wrote:

     

    I have had the same problem for months.   One thing I did was to make sure not to disconnect my externa disk.  Seems like when you disconnect, somehow it loses track and backs up everything again instead of doing a differential backup so it runs out.

    It certainly shouldn't do that.   And I've not seen other reports of it here, so it's not common.

     

    Do you do anything else with the external when it's disconnected, like connect it to another Mac or PC? 

     

    Is it the only external you have?

     

    Do you have any other odd things happening?

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