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Old Jun 10, 2011, 12:15 AM   #1
owwo
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Time Machine Transfer Rate/Speed

Is there a way to see how fast Time Machine is working?

I have an external HD enclosure (WD Black inside 7200 rpm inside) connected to my 24" iMac.

Time Machine is working fine. I'm just curious to know if I can find out exactly what transfer rate/speed for Time Machine backing up to my external drive.

It's funny that Apple didn't think to include an Estimated Time for Backup or a Transfer/Copy Speed/Rate.

I thought it might be inside Utilities or Activity Monitor, but it's not.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 12:23 AM   #2
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Activity Monitor > Disk Activity.
That gives you a rough estimate. Anyway, TM will not fully use the interface's maximum speed, thus not even USB 2.0 speeds are reached.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 12:38 AM   #3
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Activity Monitor > Disk Activity.
That gives you a rough estimate. Anyway, TM will not fully use the interface's maximum speed, thus not even USB 2.0 speeds are reached.
Okay...so Disk Activity will tell me the transfer rate for my Time Machine backup? Or will it show the read/write times for my Macintosh HD (internal drive of the iMac)?

How can you specify in Disk Activity which hard drive you want?
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 12:38 AM   #4
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My theory for why TM will appear to not come close to max Firewire or USB speeds is that most of the time, the new changes you backup will be pretty small, and so won't even need to hit max USB/Firewire transfer speeds. If you create a new, big movie file, for instance, and then backup, you should see greater transfer speeds. But that's just my guess.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 06:37 AM   #5
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If you right-click the TM icon in the top right of your screen while it's doing a back-up it will indicate how much RAM backing up is complete, i.e. 3.5GB/12GB.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 09:22 AM   #6
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If you right-click the TM icon in the top right of your screen while it's doing a back-up it will indicate how much RAM backing up is complete, i.e. 3.5GB/12GB.
Thanks, I already knew that.

I wanted to know the speed and perhaps the estimated time to complete.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 09:28 AM   #7
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Transfer rate is easy and any number of appliations can show you this (Activity Monitor and iStat are the mian ones that come to mind) Although if you want an estimated time to backup completion i doubt this will be possible to do accuratly.

Time Machine doesn't just send files to the time machine drive, it also needs to index, clear up space and reorganise files between actually copying the files you see.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 09:26 PM   #8
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By the way, if I'm doing a Time Machine backup, do I have to stay away from the computer? Or can I download songs, stream music, watch Hulu, etc. while I'm doing the backup?
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 09:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Paulywauly View Post
Transfer rate is easy and any number of appliations can show you this (Activity Monitor and iStat are the mian ones that come to mind) Although if you want an estimated time to backup completion i doubt this will be possible to do accuratly.

Time Machine doesn't just send files to the time machine drive, it also needs to index, clear up space and reorganise files between actually copying the files you see.
So where can I find the transfer rate in Activity Monitor or in iStat, I can't seem to find it?
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 09:50 PM   #10
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By the way, if I'm doing a Time Machine backup, do I have to stay away from the computer? Or can I download songs, stream music, watch Hulu, etc. while I'm doing the backup?
There's no reason you can't use your computer while it's backing up. No worries there.
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Old Jun 10, 2011, 09:53 PM   #11
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So where can I find the transfer rate in Activity Monitor or in iStat, I can't seem to find it?
As you correctly noted, the Disk Activity tab on Activity Monitory actually monitors the read/writes of the built in hard drive. But what you want to check is the data written/sec number when Time Machine is backing up. What the computer is doing here is writing data to the external drive. So by looking at this number while TM is backing up, you'll get an idea of the write speeds.

I've heard that Apple avoids these sorts of "Time to Completion" numbers because they often are quite wrong. But that's strictly hearsay.
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 01:35 AM   #12
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By the way, if I'm doing a Time Machine backup, do I have to stay away from the computer? Or can I download songs, stream music, watch Hulu, etc. while I'm doing the backup?
You can, but TM does slow down response time and download speeds a little I find.
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 02:24 AM   #13
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I've heard that Apple avoids these sorts of "Time to Completion" numbers because they often are quite wrong. But that's strictly hearsay.
Yes i've heard this too, the "time to completion" you mention is actually referred to as "Windows Time" haha
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 02:34 AM   #14
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By the way, if I'm doing a Time Machine backup, do I have to stay away from the computer? Or can I download songs, stream music, watch Hulu, etc. while I'm doing the backup?
It works totally in the background and shouldn't stop you doing anything, you can even shut your mac down half way through one. When you power it up it will just start where it left off.

The only weird behaviour i've ever noticed is that it backs up any files you have modified at all, its not smart enough to realise its the same files. This means if you change the names of a file or folder it backs it up again. This can be a pain with larger files (such as virtual machines or changing folders with lots of data in etc)

If you're also backing up any external hard discs with alot of data on try not to disconnect them whilst your mac is powered up, it has a habit of reindexing and backing up the whole drive again.
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 02:39 AM   #15
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By the way, if I'm doing a Time Machine backup, do I have to stay away from the computer? Or can I download songs, stream music, watch Hulu, etc. while I'm doing the backup?
You can do stuff, but i found my machine can get a bit sluggish at times during backups.
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 09:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by archangel37 View Post
As you correctly noted, the Disk Activity tab on Activity Monitory actually monitors the read/writes of the built in hard drive.
Incorrect. Activity Monitor shows the combined read/write speeds for all hard drives mounted on the computer.
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Old Jun 11, 2011, 12:41 PM   #17
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Incorrect. Activity Monitor shows the combined read/write speeds for all hard drives mounted on the computer.
Yes, you're absolutely right. I just duplicated a file on an external hard drive and it showed a spike in the disk activity as expected. Sorry for the misinformation.
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