10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 10, 2016 5:18 PM by Bosomi
GaryKing Level 1 (10 points)

I run Mountain Lion 10.8.4 on a Mac Mini 2012. Over the past year or so (dating back to my older iMac mid-2010, after which I transferred the data to my current Mac Mini), I've noticed that most of my files in Time Machine are getting locked. The files on my Mac are not locked, but the backed-up versions of the files are locked. The icons have a padlock icon on them. This is NOT due to the "auto-lock documents" feature, since this no longer exists in Mountain Lion.


For instance, my Firefox profile is a good example. Here are two screenshots:


1. Screenshot of my Firefox profile. Everything looks fine.

2. The same profile, except the latest Time Machine backup.


These locks appear in every single backup I have, up until the oldest one. I ran "Repair disk" on Time Machine, which took about 30 minutes, and then made another backup, and this time the newest backup did not have any locks—but all the older backups still had locks. I found this a bit strange, because why would a backup I made AFTER running "Repair disk" be fixed, but the older ones remained unaffected?


Anyway, I hoped that this would fix the problem, but every time I do this, a few weeks later, the problem re-occurs.

So, is there anything more permanent that I can do?

Mac mini (Late 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4), 2.3 GHz i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
  • MiiCK Level 1 (120 points)

    Hey man,


    Some things I'd be looking at trying is:


    ---> Reset ACL's


    Boot to Recovery -> Utilities -> Terminal

    Then enter the following command to open the Reset Password Utility:




    Then select the volume (normally Macintosh HD)

    Choose the user account in the "Select the user account:" pop-up menu

    Click Reset (ignore all the 'enter new password for user' sections and just click reset at the bottom after selecting the volume and the user


    Once that is done, quit Terminal and the Reset Password Utility


    Open Disk Utility


    ---> Verify/Repair Disk + Permissions


    Click Macinosh HD on the left of Disk Utility and then click Verify Disk at the bottom right, if it comes up with green text in the white box saying 'The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK', then you DO NOT need to click Repair Disk, if it finds any errors, you should click Repair Disk


    Afterwards, you should click Verify Disk Permissions, once that completes click Repair Disk Permissions (Click this regardless of what Verify Disk Permissions says)


    Once that is done, I would follow HT2409 and do a Spotlight Re-Index


    Attempt another backup and see how you get on




  • Eagle Owl Level 1 (35 points)

    The backups are supposed to be locked to protect them. You should not try to change this. If you want to delete a backup you can do it from the Time Machine interface using the little "cog" icon.

  • XENiCraft Level 2 (265 points)

    @Eagle Owl: You are mistaken. They are not meant to be locked.

    None of mine are locked, if yours are, then there might be an issue.


    @GaryKing Could you take a screenshot of the Info window for your Time Machine disk? (Command-I)

    Also do you have anything else on your backup disk? Are any of those locked?

    Maybe this site can help? http://pondini.org/TM/Troubleshooting.html



  • Eagle Owl Level 1 (35 points)


    Sorry, I meant they are using ACL to prevent modifications. I should have read the original post more carefully!

  • XENiCraft Level 2 (265 points)

    Yes that is true, but they should not display a lock icon on the files.

  • GaryKing Level 1 (10 points)

    If it helps, when I restored an older Firefox profile, and ran Firefox, I got an error saying that the files were locked. So I checked the folder, and the locked files copied over, so that's really problematic because I had to open Terminal and recursively unlock all files in the folder. That's not a good thing.


    Here's the Time Machine Info panel screenshot.


    I have nothing on the backup disk besides Time Machine. And in fact, this drive is fairly new; I copied over 2 TB from my old backup drive to this new one, a few months ago. And so I guess to answer your second question, I have nothing locked besides my Time Machine backup files, and I don't know why those are locked.

  • Eric Root Level 9 (50,458 points)

    Have you looked at E10 in the article from XENiCraft's link?

  • GaryKing Level 1 (10 points)

    I recall reading this article a few months ago, and I'm pretty sure I followed all the instructions. But I'll give it another shot to see if it helps.

  • GaryKing Level 1 (10 points)

    I just tried "Reset Home Folder Permissions and ACLs" and it looks like it might be helping. I ran this for about 30 minutes, canceled it because it took too long, backed up Time Machine again, and noticed that Time Machine backed up some files that I did not touch. Turns out that these files were the same ones being locked in backups, and in the latest backup, they were no longer locked.


    So perhaps I was having permission problems with the files that were getting locked? I don't know if this "fix" will resolve this permanently, or just for now, but it certaily seems to be related.

  • Bosomi Level 1 (0 points)


    I also had this issue and now i think i solved the problem.

    the thing is: whenever you back up, you should TURN ON the time machine feature

    in the preference-time machine menu (which may also bother you by backing up your files almost every hour)



    Before you backup, go to preferences> time machine, and let the time machine switch to the ON side.

    Your OS X will start backing up your files, but this time your backup files will not be locked.


    But the thing is, if the switch is on, your mac will back up your hard drive every hour.


    Q. Then, How do I prevent time machine to back up every hour?

    A. There may be other ways, but i just disconnect the time machine hard drive after i back up.

    the next time i connect the time machine hard drive, the time machine switch is automatically off again and

    it won't start backing up automatically.

    Thus, when you actually want to back up, just go to preferences, turn the time machine on again and

    wait until your OS X begins automatic backup. This time files still won't be locked.