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Copying Time Machine backup from damaged drive

cosmichobo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2006
486
204
G'day,

My WD Essentials 2TB external drive that I use as a Time Machine backup disk started giving the error that macOS couldn't repair it; it is now read only.

When I try to repair in Disk Utility, it gives the error:

File System check exit code is 8

I tried TechToolPro, but it couldn't help either. From what I've read online, apparently the solution is to copy over any important files and reformat the drive.

However when I try to copy the backup file to another drive, it gives error 36.

I've tried "dot_clean drivename" in terminal, but it didn't help.

Does anyone have any other suggestions of how to save the backup file? It gets about 120GB into the 2TB transfer before failing.

Cheers

cosmic
 
Last edited:

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,431
7,246
My advice and my opinion only.

The drive is just a backup drive, and is NOT the "primary source" for data, right?

In this case, I'd just erase the drive, run disk utility's "repair disk" function on it a few times (to be sure it checks out ok), and then start a fresh, brand-new tm backup on it.

Or... better yet... STOP USING time machine, and start using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create bootable cloned backups. Both are free to download and try for 30 days...
 
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cosmichobo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2006
486
204
It's the thought of formatting the drive... and then tomorrow finding I need to retrieve a file... (Even though I've basically barely ever used Time Machine, and when I have wanted it, it hasn't helped.)
 
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CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,758
1,013
Oregon, USA
It's the thought of formatting the drive... and then tomorrow finding I need to retrieve a file... (Even though I've basically barely ever used Time Machine, and when I have wanted it, it hasn't helped.)
Can you retrieve a file now from the problem TM drive now?
 
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cosmichobo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2006
486
204
No - Time Machine says it can't connect to the backup disk.

I just updated the original post, but basically the drive itself has the "8" error, and if I copy the file, it errors with code 36... dot_clean doesn't help...
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,431
7,246
OP wrote:
" then tomorrow finding I need to retrieve a file... (Even though I've basically barely ever used Time Machine, and when I have wanted it, it hasn't helped.)"

Then it's time to try a backup utility that WILL help you "in a moment of need".

For that, I'd suggest either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
Both create BOOTABLE cloned backups that are directly mountable in the finder if you need to "recover a file or two".

Just connect the cloned backup and it will mount on the desktop, the same as any other drive.
You can copy one file, several files, folders, or even "RE-clone" the entire drive BACK TO your internal drive.

CCC and SD are FREE to download and try for 30 days.
I sense that if you try it, you'll like it.
If you don't, just erase the backup and try something else...
 
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gilby101

macrumors 6502
Mar 17, 2010
383
154
Tasmania
No - Time Machine says it can't connect to the backup disk.

But you can hopefully use Finder to see what is on the drive. At the top level there will ba folder called Backups.backupdb with a folder inside it called your computer name. Inside that folder there are folders for each TM backup. Choose one and inside that there should be a Macintosh HD folder with Users and then you username.

If the above works you can drag and drop (or copy in some other way) folders (or just files) whenever you need to restore something.

But that may not work, depending on how badly the disk is behaving.

In any case you need a new drive for your backups. If it were me, I would continue to use Time Machine (with new disk) and ignore Fishrrman's well meaning rants about not using TM.
 
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cosmichobo

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 4, 2006
486
204
Hi gilby101,

The backup file was a ".sparsebundle" - not the ".backupdb" folder. It was probably originally created under Mavericks. I couldn't see a way "into" it - if I went to "show package contents" there was nothing helpful...

I decided to bite the bullet and just reformatted the drive, and started a fresh Time Machine backup.

Fingers crossed I wont need anything from the old back up... I've run a few tests and the SMART status is looking ok now on the drive, but I will pick up a new drive asap and get rid of this one...
 
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