backup before repair extremely slow

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
118
80
Santa Clara, CA
Hi,

On Monday, I had a Genius Bar appointment for a keyboard repair on a 2017 15" MacBook Pro but realized that the last Time Machine backup was a couple of weeks ago, so I wanted to do another backup before bringing it in for repair. They said, the repair order would be good for five days, so I would have to bring it in tomorrow.

So far, so good.

The problem is that Time Machine is so slow that it's impossible to make even an incremental backup in those 5 days!

The incremental backup was at something like 0.01% after 3 hours! our of around 90GB that should be backed up, it said, only a few KB (!) were backed up.

I left that running overnight on Monday, but the speed kept up. There wasn't even a GB backed up the next morning.

I tried to create a fresh backup and that's a little faster, but after around 30 hours of backing up, it only did 16 GB our of ~250.

I tried sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0. Doesn't make a difference.

I'm backing up onto a western digital external USB 3 4 TB 2.5" hard drive. I'm using the same to occasionally back up my iMac and it's reasonably fast, but with this machine here (which is my work laptop) it's so slow that it would take months to make even an incremental backup! :confused:
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
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1,979
That's crazy. I assume you've restarted the MacBook Pro? Tried another port? Another drive? A regular file copy works fast?
 

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
118
80
Santa Clara, CA
It's the drive!

It worked just a couple of days ago on my iMac, but it somehow broke and now it doesn't even mount anymore. I ordered a replacement on PrimeNow %)

The strange thing is that I tried to copy data from the drive when the backups were slow and that worked fine and fast. I think, it just gut problems with millions of files through the Time Machine backup and then broke.
 

EDS66

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2018
59
54
It's the drive!

It worked just a couple of days ago on my iMac, but it somehow broke and now it doesn't even mount anymore. I ordered a replacement on PrimeNow %)

The strange thing is that I tried to copy data from the drive when the backups were slow and that worked fine and fast. I think, it just gut problems with millions of files through the Time Machine backup and then broke.
When writing to a spinner is slow, be it direct copy, cloning, or TM, it's always the drive. Although I think Time Machine is a great thing for the average consumer, restoring from it is not a sure thing. Plus users are often lulled into thinking that their data is backed up, when there might be issues with the TM vojume. I always recommend to augment time machine backups with periodic cloning of the system to an external drive. This is particularly advisable before sending your machine for repair. There are several free tools for this. I prefer SuperDuper. Restoring from a clone is, in my opinion, a simpler, faster, and a more reliable process. You do need to have a spare HD or SSD lying around for that though. And it obviously has to be as big as the amount of data stored on your internal volume.

Cheers,
 

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
118
80
Santa Clara, CA
Thanks. I'll follow that advise.

The Time Machine backup isn't done yet and I have to bring that computer in today. I have to back up around 250 GB and it averages around 2GB/hour (with a brand new USB 3.0 drive). I think it might be slower because the drive is encrypted.

Since I can't wait, I'll make a SuperDuper backup and try to restore from it immediately to my temporary computer.

It's just crazy how slow time machine is, even with a new drive…
 
Last edited:

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,727
1,979
Thanks. I'll follow that advise.

The Time Machine backup isn't done yet and I have to bring that computer in today. I have to back up around 250 GB and it averages around 2GB/hour (with a brand new USB 3.0 drive). I think it might be slower because the drive is encrypted.

Since I can't wait I'll make a SuperDuper backup and try to restore from it immediately to my temporary computer.

It's just crazy how slow time machine is, even with a new drive…

Something wrong there for sure. I backup across the network (using TM) and get far faster speeds than that. Although, small files will always be slower to transfer so you might find that a mass of small files will severely degrade performance and then it will speed up when it’s processing larger files.
 

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
118
80
Santa Clara, CA
Another problem I have is that I can probably only restore from a TimeMachine backup since the old computer has a 1TB SSD and the temporary one one 250GB.

I tried to simply copy over the drive via target boot mode, but it doesn't work because the size is different (even though there's only 250GB used on the 1 TB SSD).

When restoring from image backup created with SuperDuper, can I choose what files to restore or will it try to copy the whole partition again?

EDIT: wow… SuperDuper just gives me an error after 50GB that it is unable to write to disk.

I'm really running out of time here. All I want is a way to back up the disk. Time Machine takes a week, SuperDuper just stops 20% through, direct thunderbolt doesn't work because the new disk is too small.
 
Last edited:

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,985
2,471
SF Bay Area
Another problem I have is that I can probably only restore from a TimeMachine backup since the old computer has a 1TB SSD and the temporary one one 250GB.

I tried to simply copy over the drive via target boot mode, but it doesn't work because the size is different (even though there's only 250GB used on the 1 TB SSD).

When restoring from image backup created with SuperDuper, can I choose what files to restore or will it try to copy the whole partition again?

EDIT: wow… SuperDuper just gives me an error after 50GB that it is unable to write to disk.

I'm really running out of time here. All I want is a way to back up the disk. Time Machine takes a week, SuperDuper just stops 20% through, direct thunderbolt doesn't work because the new disk is too small.
Make sure you are not using the machine during a time critical backup. Also, disable sleep.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 68030
Mar 10, 2016
2,727
1,979
Another problem I have is that I can probably only restore from a TimeMachine backup since the old computer has a 1TB SSD and the temporary one one 250GB.

I tried to simply copy over the drive via target boot mode, but it doesn't work because the size is different (even though there's only 250GB used on the 1 TB SSD).

When restoring from image backup created with SuperDuper, can I choose what files to restore or will it try to copy the whole partition again?

EDIT: wow… SuperDuper just gives me an error after 50GB that it is unable to write to disk.

I'm really running out of time here. All I want is a way to back up the disk. Time Machine takes a week, SuperDuper just stops 20% through, direct thunderbolt doesn't work because the new disk is too small.

I would stop and take stock. I know time is an issue but when "rushing" with tasks like this it can lead to mistakes. Ask me how I know :)

If SuperDuper is giving you errors too then perhaps there are other issues. Maybe it's the USB cable, or the USB port, or an issue on the MBPro logic board, or an issue with the SSD or controller.

You've got nothing else plugged in right? Just power and the HDD? Have you tried the HDD on a port on the other side?
 

EDS66

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2018
59
54
Thanks. I'll follow that advise.

The Time Machine backup isn't done yet and I have to bring that computer in today. I have to back up around 250 GB and it averages around 2GB/hour (with a brand new USB 3.0 drive). I think it might be slower because the drive is encrypted.

Since I can't wait, I'll make a SuperDuper backup and try to restore from it immediately to my temporary computer.

It's just crazy how slow time machine is, even with a new drive…
It could be that the problem is with your internal volume.
 

Somian

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2011
118
80
Santa Clara, CA
Time Machine suddenly sped up towards the end when backing up with the new hard drive and I was able to make a complete time machine backup and restore the replacement computer from that, just in time. My 15" is now in repair :)
 
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