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Old Dec 20, 2011, 05:54 AM   #1
Rustyboy
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Time Machine/External Hard drive Issues

Hello all,

I'm having some issues with my time machine/external hard drive that hopefully one of you kind people will be able to help out with. I'm not overly Mac literate, so simplicity in any responses would be really appreciated!

I'll start from the start:

I had been using a Western Digital external drive as a host for my time machine on my old 2007 Macbook with no problems. I recently made the switch to a Macbook Pro and went about using time machine to set up my new laptop. There turned out to be problem with doing this - the guy in the Apple shop tells me it was something to do with an new Intel chipset on the new Macbook Pro affecting the file export programme (which I can't remember the name of).

Anyway, I was able to access and drag the back up files manually. But, then, as I tried to use the drive as a time machine for my new Macbook Pro, it would always say the the drive was full. I had been under the impression that it would delete old backups to make space for new ones, but this didn't seems to be happening. So, rather than keep wasting time, I just used disk utility to erase the drive and set it up again as the time machine for my Macbook Pro.

Everything was working fine at this point. It started backing up no problem. It was going to take 3 hours or so. Unfortunately my girlfriend obviously had something mightily important to check on Facebook and casually removed the hard drive mid backup. When I tried to do the backup again, I was given this message:

"Time Machine could not complete the backup.

Unable to complete backup. An error occurred while creating the backup folder."

So then I thought, ok, I'll just erase it again and start over. But when I try to erase with disk utility (in the format Mac OS Extended (Journaled)) I get this message:

"Volume Erase failed:

Volume Erase failed with the error:

Couldn’t unmount disk."

If I try to go into the actual drive and delete the backup manually I get:

"The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code -8072)"

One forum I read recommended Repair Disk and then Repair Disk Permissions with Disk Utility, but when I try Repair Disk, I get the message:

"Disk Utility stopped repairing “System Back Up”

Couldn’t unmount disk."

It appears to me that the drive still thinks it's running time machine, or that the backup that was stopped half way has been corrupted in some manner.

When I go into the drive and look at the backup file that was stopped, the file says that it's "in progress".

That's as far as I can get. Short of trying to delete, switching off time machine, and unplugging the drive and restarting, I'm not really all that sure what to do.

This whole external drive/time machine thing has been very frustrating and disappointing. I had been using it to backup work I'm doing for a PhD, so I wanted something reliable, but it's never actually performed the tasks it's supposed to since I bought the thing.

If anyone can help, I'd love to hear from you.
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Old Dec 20, 2011, 10:27 AM   #2
tug
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: loughborough. u.k.
so why don't you turn off time machine, shut down the WD drive, (after unplugging it) restart your pro, turn time machine back on, turn on WD, plug it back in

hopefully it will mount in finder, then select it for backups in t/m.
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Old Dec 20, 2011, 11:22 AM   #3
Rustyboy
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Tried that already, no luck.
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Old Dec 20, 2011, 11:25 AM   #4
tug
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Location: loughborough. u.k.
sorry i can't help you but good luck with it anyway.
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Old Dec 21, 2011, 09:34 AM   #5
Fishrrman
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""Volume Erase failed:
Volume Erase failed with the error:
Couldn’t unmount disk."
If I try to go into the actual drive and delete the backup manually I get:
"The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code -8072)"
One forum I read recommended Repair Disk and then Repair Disk Permissions with Disk Utility, but when I try Repair Disk, I get the message:
"Disk Utility stopped repairing “System Back Up”
Couldn’t unmount disk.""

Try my suggestions below, in the EXACT ORDER presented.

First, shut down the drive and computer. ALL THE WAY OFF (not "sleep").

Next, disconnect the drive by removing the USB cable.

Next, restart the Mac (without the drive connected).

When you get to the finder, go to System Preferences, click on Time Machine, and flip the TM "on/off" switch to OFF.

Now, restart the Mac once more.

When you get to the Finder, again check the TM preferences to be sure that it's off.

NOW, reconnect the external drive and turn it on.

Let it mount up on the desktop, and launch Disk Utility.

Try to re-initialize the drive now, any better?

If that doesn't work, try this (with the drive mounted and DU still running):

Before you try to re-initialize, first select the drive in DU, and go up and hit the "eject" or "unmount" buttons. Does this unmount the drive from the desktop?

Or, in the finder's window, just grab the icon for the drive and drag it to the Trash. Sometimes, this works.

Finally --

If you do get the drive unmounted and re-intialized, I strongly suggest that you consider using CarbonCopyCloner to create a fully-bootable "clone" of your main drive, and use that to do your backups, rather than Time Machine. You will find it much more useful in a moment of need than a TM backup that you might have problems with (as you're having them now)....
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Old Dec 21, 2011, 12:34 PM   #6
Rustyboy
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Thanks so much for the help. Your precise instructions worked perfectly. I knew it was something to do with the drive still running, but couldn't quite work out how to stop it. I'll take your advice on CarbonCopyCloner as well.

Thanks again.
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Old Dec 10, 2012, 11:02 PM   #7
Qwerty11
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
""Volume Erase failed:
Volume Erase failed with the error:
Couldn’t unmount disk."
If I try to go into the actual drive and delete the backup manually I get:
"The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code -8072)"
One forum I read recommended Repair Disk and then Repair Disk Permissions with Disk Utility, but when I try Repair Disk, I get the message:
"Disk Utility stopped repairing “System Back Up”
Couldn’t unmount disk.""

Try my suggestions below, in the EXACT ORDER presented.

First, shut down the drive and computer. ALL THE WAY OFF (not "sleep").

Next, disconnect the drive by removing the USB cable.

Next, restart the Mac (without the drive connected).

When you get to the finder, go to System Preferences, click on Time Machine, and flip the TM "on/off" switch to OFF.

Now, restart the Mac once more.

When you get to the Finder, again check the TM preferences to be sure that it's off.

NOW, reconnect the external drive and turn it on.

Let it mount up on the desktop, and launch Disk Utility.

Try to re-initialize the drive now, any better?

If that doesn't work, try this (with the drive mounted and DU still running):

Before you try to re-initialize, first select the drive in DU, and go up and hit the "eject" or "unmount" buttons. Does this unmount the drive from the desktop?

Or, in the finder's window, just grab the icon for the drive and drag it to the Trash. Sometimes, this works.

Finally --

If you do get the drive unmounted and re-intialized, I strongly suggest that you consider using CarbonCopyCloner to create a fully-bootable "clone" of your main drive, and use that to do your backups, rather than Time Machine. You will find it much more useful in a moment of need than a TM backup that you might have problems with (as you're having them now)....
Thank you. This worked for me as well.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:51 AM   #8
serexa
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Join Date: Feb 2013
External hard drive won't unmount

Unfortunately the procedure did not work out for me. The external drive was in use for months with Time Machine, but suddenly started to give errors. When I try to use it with Time Machine, or want to erase the drive completely, the error message comes out: "Unable to unmount the drive". And when I want to eject it, I can only do it by "force ejecting".
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Old Mar 8, 2013, 02:48 AM   #9
rkbhadhya
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Could not find Time Capsule

Hello All

I have been using Time Capsule (The white box) for backing up my MacPro. I recently upgraded the hard drive of my Mac and started using it as a New Mac.
I use OSX 10.8.2.
Now I need to retrieve some files from the Time Capsule backup but unable to connect to it.
Earlier I was connecting it through WiFi but now it is not showing up in my network.
I tried to connect through cable but still could not.
Appreciate if someone may help me on this.

Thank you so much for the support.

Regards
Ram
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Old Mar 29, 2013, 08:35 AM   #10
Rinn
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Odessa, Ukraine
 
BTW, it is a huge problem to clear Time Machine disk by any other method except traditional (Finder). Third party apps cannot deal with hard links, one consider them as a new file, another select any hard link as an original file.

So be careful with that!
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Old Feb 7, 2014, 11:42 PM   #11
ibradle3
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Good Troubleshooting

This totally worked for me...thanks so much (fishrrman) you saved me at least $60!
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