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Time Machine <server-name> is already in use

1823 Views 23 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2014 3:43 AM by insats22 RSS
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chriscurnow Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 1, 2013 1:01 AM

I have a regular problem with Time Machine backups on OS X Server. The problem started in ML Server but continues in Mavericks.


Every few days I get the message "Backup Failed: The backup on <server-name> is already in use."


To fix it, I have to

  • go to the server,
  • turn OFF Time Machine,
  • turn OFF File Sharing
  • Eject the Time Machine backup volume
  • Use Disk Utilities to mount the Time Machine volume again
  • turn ON File Sharing
  • turn ON Time Machine


After this, TM works again quite nicely for a few days. Then the message re-appears.


Anyone had this problem?


If so, did you fine a solution?





Mac mini Server (Mid 2010), OS X Server, Updated to Mavericks
  • Paul Johnson13 Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 3, 2013 5:24 AM (in response to chriscurnow)

    I have seen the same error message for at least 2 months now. I've just restarted the server to recover from the error. I've never filed a formal error report, but I suppose this is one case where one is merited.

  • iGary Level 4 Level 4 (1,565 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 5, 2013 12:38 PM (in response to chriscurnow)

    I've been experiencing this on 2 servers at different locations, but not with all users. My fix is similar to yours, but I haven't had the problem return with my method.


    What I do is:


    1. Remove the backup share from the client Mac (in System Preferences).

    2. On the server turn off Time Machine in

    3. Remove the share point in File Sharing.

    4. In Terminal delete the sparsebundle backup in question.

    5. Turn Time Machine back on and point it back to the original backup location.

    6. Recreate the backup on the client.


    See if that improves things for you. Hopefully you don't have lots of users with the problem.

  • Paul Johnson13 Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 5, 2013 12:56 PM (in response to iGary)

    Isn't making a whole new full backup rather time consuming, iGary? Just restarting the server recovers from the problem for me and that just takes a couple minutes. I haven't needed to do a full TM backup for a while but I recall that on my machine it could take several days.

  • iGary Level 4 Level 4 (1,565 points)
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    Dec 8, 2013 10:18 AM (in response to Paul Johnson13)

    I find backups in the range of 200+ GB take a few hours. But that's worth it in order to bring back reliability to the backups.

  • Paul Johnson13 Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 8, 2013 2:31 PM (in response to iGary)

    Gary, what evidence do you have that trashing your backups and starting over with a complete backup is any more effective than a simple restart of your server? The "In Use" error may well be cleaned up by a restart that simply cleans up a "lock flag". My experience in my own configureation is that a 200+ GB backup takes days, unless Apple has fixed an obvious and old problem with incredulous backup times.

  • insats22 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 1:41 AM (in response to chriscurnow)

    I'm having the same problem. I had the exact same issues with Time Capsule, and we decided to install OSX server on a mac mini (with an external drive) to see if that worked better than Time Capsule. The backup speed increased significantly but this error persists. We have 12 units doing backup and this happens to two of them. The rest seem to be working just fine.

  • Corbin Harris Calculating status...
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    Dec 11, 2013 4:58 AM (in response to insats22)

    Having the exact same issue starting with ML and it's worse with Mavericks. 


    "The backup disk image "Volumes/Backup6/macname.sparsebundle" is already in use."


    My only solution is to reboot the MacMini running OS X 10.9 Server everyday.  Starting to look at other backup solutions now.

  • insats22 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 11, 2013 5:01 AM (in response to Corbin Harris)

    The downside to other backup solutions is that they usually only cover files, not application settings etc. - which can be a pain to reset. Time machine is very elegant and it's extremely easy to get back on track if a laptop is stolen/breaks down or similar. With other systems you'd only be able to get files back, and it's not as easy as backing up the libraries folder.


    I'm really hoping that Apple will be able to fix this.

  • Corbin Harris Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Dec 11, 2013 5:04 AM (in response to insats22)

    We have over a 100 Mac users and we manage them witih Casper (Jamf Software), so we can redeploy a newly imaged Mac quite quickly.  We exclude all users Music, Movies and Photos directories.  Looking at CrashPlan, but until then, I'm trying to reduce the headache that TM has become for backing up the Macs.

  • bhamslacker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 3, 2014 6:27 PM (in response to chriscurnow)

    Same problem here. Time Machine service was the main reason I bought OSX Server, so I'm hoping this will be addressed in an update.


    This fix has worked quickly for me: Connect remotely to OSX Server using the Server app. Stop the File Sharing service. (This will also stop the Time Machine service.) Start Time Machine service. (This will also start File Sharing service.) That's it.

  • Wipeout69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 11, 2014 11:30 PM (in response to chriscurnow)

    I stopped file sharing and time machine.  Then restarted time machine (which restarted files sharing services) on my server and the error went away on my MBP.  The Other mac mini never has had this issue.  This is the first time I have had this happen although I have only had the MBP for a week now.  :-)

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