9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 10, 2013 11:36 AM by Linc Davis
Fully1967 Level 1 (0 points)

Can anyone please help with my time machine problem. I partitioned an external hard drive and use one partition for time machine and one for back up using Carbon Copy Cloner. The plan being if my hard drive goes down I get a new one reinstall from backup and keep going where I left off with time machine. The problem I have encountered started when I carried out the usual test for the backup by booting from it but time machine came up with an error stating that there was already too much information on the hard drive. I have 290 Gig on a 500 Gig harddrive and use a 500 Gig partition for backup and a 500 Gig partition for time machine. If I delete the data in the time machine partition it will happily start creating a new time machine backup again so its not a space problem its a wanting to create a new time machine problem on top of the existing one.  In other words it is not seeing the time machine backup as belonging to the OS that created it. Next I booted back to my internal hard disk and the same error came up again.


I have tested various combinations and the same thing keeps happening, in summary if the time machine is accessed by the OS that created it on any hard drive other than the one that created it then it tries to create a new backup. Once that action has happened it also does the same thing if I then boot back to the original internal hard drive.


My main concern is that if my hard drive goes down then I'll be able to restore it on a new hard drive ok but the OS will not see the time machine as belonging to it.


Any help appreciated,



  • AnaMusic Level 9 (57,110 points)

    For All things TM... See Here  >  http://pondini.org/OSX/Home.html


    Personally I prefer to have One dedicated Drive for TM and A seperate Drive for my Clone.


    And a third Drive I backup to manually...


    Doesn't do to have all your eggs in one basket.... and you can Never have Too Many Backups.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    I take it you are running Moutain Lion? If you are you are not alone I have the same problem. Every time I try to do a TM backup of my Mt Lion partition, I have 3 versions of OS X installed on my MBP (Snow Leopard, Lion and Mt Lion), it always ends up doing a complete backup not just of the files that have changed and then it runs out of space on the external and fails.


    I am surprised there are more posts about this as I think it is a Bug in the ML TM system.


    I have no advice except to Wipe the Drive and Re-Install Clean/Clean. Clean/Clean meaning do not use the TM backup to replace anything on your system. Install ML then all your programs then copy over your data files from the Clone you made and do all your settings manually.

  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    First of all - you'd be best served by having two external drives: at least one dedicated to Time Machine and at least one for use with Carbon Copy Cloner. I have two drives with alternating Time Machine backups and three external drive clones of my internal drive. It's a pretty safe bet that all five wouldn't fail at the same time.


    That said, I'm not sure why you're having the problems... Time Machine should work just fine with a partitioned drive. You may want to look at Pondoni's Time Machine Troubleshooting FAQs - http://www.pondini.org/TM/Troubleshooting.html - and see if any are appicable to your particular situation.


    Good luck,



  • Fully1967 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for replying but it's not a using separate disks issue or amount of backups. I could do what you mention 100 times and still have the same problem if my internal hard drive went down and I restored to a new hard drive from a clone. In summary if your hard drive fails and you restore from a clone to a new hard drive it will not it will not recognise the time machine it was originally using. It's as if time machine uses hardware recognition when it should say use a checksum on particualr aspects of the OS that are unique after installing.


    I have checked this on another mac apart from my powerbook using a dedicated hard drive for time machine. It is simply a case of OS and Time machine working in perfect sync. You move the OS to another hard drive and the connection is broken.

  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    I don't think that I fully understand your problem. Let me see if I can summarize your setup.


    • You have a MacBook Pro.
    • You have one external hard drive, partitioned into 'two' drives.
    • One of the partitions is used for a Time Machine backup of your internal drive.
    • One of the partitions is used as a clone of your internal drive using Carbon Copy Cloner.


    Is that correct?


    I'm not sure what the problem is... are you trying to use the clone to backup to Time Machine?



  • Fully1967 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes that's the exact set up. I also tried just using a dedicated hard drive for time machine and problem still exists.


    • Everything working fine both time machine backups and carbon copy cloner backups
    • My hard drive fails that I am running Lion on.
    • I restore my Lion operating system to a new internal hard drive using carbon copy cloner.
    • I then plug in my external hard drive I'm using for time machine and its not recognised. Although the operating system is a perfect clone the time machine backup is now not in sync I presume because the the link being maintained between OS and time machine includes hardware recognition when it should work on recognition between unique aspects of OS and time machine.


    Hope this clears it up -  new hardware for OS after hard drive crash then no recogition between restored clone and time machine irrespective of how many backups or whether its partitioned or not.





  • clintonfrombirmingham Level 7 (30,000 points)

    See the File System Event Database section at http://www.pondini.org/TM/Works.html.


    Maybe it's just the way that Time Machine works that's causing the problem?



  • Fully1967 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, that may be it. Most people probably won't notice it because Mac's are so reliable. They run time machine and that's it. I only noticed the problem not because of a hard drive failure but because I upgraded the hard drive in my powerbook and it happened. It's easy to simulate (if you have a spare external hard drive) just make a clone to an external hard drive and boot from the clone then also plug in the external time machine and it will happen. It shouldn't though as the hard ware the OS is running from shouldn't be a factor it should be the OS that created it.


    In conjunction with what you mention that makes me feel that could be it is that when you boot from a clone to test it you get some pop ups that ask for some info that settle soon. This I resolved to an extent by using root when running carbon copy cloner but still get a couple of configuration pop ups making me feel that yes a clone is more than adquate for restoring a hard drive failure but there are some things a clone does not pick up that make it see it as a different OS with regards to the OS to time machine relationship.



  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,709 points)

    It sounds like you're trying to run a backup while booted from your mirror backup. If that is what you're doing, Time Machine is performing as designed. The mirror system is not the same as the original and should not be backed up at all. Back up only when booted as usual.