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wallny

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 31, 2011
16
0
Just bought a WD 1TB portable USB HDD. I plugged it in to do the first time Time Machine backup. The backing up process is ok: 20GB data in about 15 mins. But the encryption process is taking forever.

It seems like a 2-step process: system copies your data to the external disk then encrypts the data.

It's been 2hours but the encrypting only finished 27%. I guess it'll take at least another 5 hours to finish the whole thing.

Will it take so long to do incremental backup as well? Every time I finish the backup in a few minutes but have to wait for hours for the encryption?

Is it normal? What happens if i unplug the disk while encrypting is still going on? Will the encryption resume next time I plug it back in again?

What's the bottleneck here? I looked at Activity Monitor, CPU's been very low usage. So I guess it's the USB2.0 that limits the encryption speed? Or the hard drive itself?

Thanks!
 

jsolares

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2011
844
2
Land of eternal Spring
Just bought a WD 1TB portable USB HDD. I plugged it in to do the first time Time Machine backup. The backing up process is ok: 20GB data in about 15 mins. But the encryption process is taking forever.

It seems like a 2-step process: system copies your data to the external disk then encrypts the data.

It's been 2hours but the encrypting only finished 27%. I guess it'll take at least another 5 hours to finish the whole thing.

Will it take so long to do incremental backup as well? Every time I finish the backup in a few minutes but have to wait for hours for the encryption?

Is it normal? What happens if i unplug the disk while encrypting is still going on? Will the encryption resume next time I plug it back in again?

What's the bottleneck here? I looked at Activity Monitor, CPU's been very low usage. So I guess it's the USB2.0 that limits the encryption speed? Or the hard drive itself?

Thanks!

Remember that it's encrypting the entire drive even the empty space, you should have no problems after it's finished tho.
 
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wallny

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 31, 2011
16
0
Remember that it's encrypting the entire drive even the empty space, you should have no problems after it's finished tho.

Thanks!

Yes I created the partition as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)", it's "Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted)" now.
 

JayMysterio

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2010
1,484
32,920
Rock Ridge, California
I ran into that myself last night. It took hours ( 5+ ) to finally encrypt, and this after the time machine back up itself. I also didn't take into account that I left time machine on, so every hour it was backing up as well. Turned off time machine, extended the sleep duration, and waited patiently. Now my new drive is encrypted and working fine.
 

misterneums

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2009
268
0
Does time machine ever turns off? I don't have file encryption on, and anytime I have my stupid external plugged in it's going NONSTOP :(
 

JayMysterio

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2010
1,484
32,920
Rock Ridge, California
You can turn time machine off completely, so that it backups will only be done manually by you. Just open Time Machine preferences, and hit the switch to turn it off. Otherwise, it will constantly run.
 
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steaksauce

macrumors newbie
Apr 28, 2010
2
0
Does time machine ever turns off? I don't have file encryption on, and anytime I have my stupid external plugged in it's going NONSTOP :(

I'm having the same problem. When the external drive is plugged in it is constantly grinding away even though both the encryption process and backup are complete.
 

ambientdaw

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
237
155
Sonoma County CA
My 2014MBP Sierra is 12 hours into Time Machine encryption via FW and is 22% through. So its going to take another 48 hours? There's only 400gb data on the SSD. What is wrong?
 

26139

Suspended
Dec 27, 2003
4,315
377
My 2014MBP Sierra is 12 hours into Time Machine encryption via FW and is 22% through. So its going to take another 48 hours? There's only 400gb data on the SSD. What is wrong?

That's how long it takes the first time.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
34,002
15,327
California
OK, now it's been 24 hours and is only 26% done. It REALLY slowed down overnight. So 3 more days now? Is there a safe way to cease this?
If you want, you can stop and just format the drive as encrypted in Disk Utility. Of course all your backup data will be gone, and you will have to start a new Time Machine backup, and that takes time also.

The encrypted format just takes a few seconds. I find if you have a lot of data, it is faster just to format and start over.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
34,002
15,327
California
How can you stop it? Other than just yanking out the cord?
Open up Disk Util and unmount it. If that won't work, you can just unplug it.

When you go to reformat, go to the erase tab in DU and select the drive itself at the very top of the left column, and not the partition below.
 
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26139

Suspended
Dec 27, 2003
4,315
377
OK, now it's been 24 hours and is only 26% done. It REALLY slowed down overnight. So 3 more days now? Is there a safe way to cease this?

Tell it to cancel, unmount disk, and if that doesn't work, pull out the cord.

The only thing you'll ruin in the backup data, which you'll have to rebuild anyway.

I'm assuming there's nothing on the HD besides the Time Machine backup.
 

gavin-t

macrumors newbie
Aug 14, 2017
2
1
Sydney, Australia
I waited about 24 hours for 13% of my new drive to encrypt. I wanted a faster solution.

The answer to this question seems to be here, but it's not all in one place. Here's how I fixed the "slow encryption" issue.

a) assuming you've got a new drive, or even a new partition for your backup and no information you need to keep on the drive.


do the following:

0. Open Disk Utility and unmount the disk.

1. Click the "erase button" and re-format the drive as a Journaled, Encrypted Volume. (takes only a couple mins)

2. Go back into Time machine Preferences and start a new backup on the drive. All of the "encryption time" will be removed and you're just backing up the information.

I wasted hours "waiting" for the encryption, but with the few small steps above solved the problem.
 
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SierraNevada

macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2017
5
2
Here's a slightly different twist on the encryption issue, which maybe someone can provide some insight to. I know this thread is a few months old, but maybe some of you are still watching it.

Device is a new 2017 15" MacBook Pro, and after days of getting it all set up I wanted to do a TM backup. I mistakenly did not format the drive as encrypted, but in a senior moment selected to "encrypt backup" from TM instead. (I have always formatted the drive as encrypted and not the backup but, now much to my regret, I did the reverse here).

Encrypting data of course takes forever, and after waiting 12 hours to be only 1/3 through 250 gigs, I called it quits to restart it all. Probably should have unmounted the drive by force quitting TM, but I instead closed the lid and thought I could pull the plug on it...the OS provides no 'nice' way of stopping the encryption. If anything, unplugging might corrupt data, but nothing physical on the drive itself...I hope!

Reformatting was kind of a bear though...after multiple failures, I had to finally do it unencrypted first, then encrypted. Ran a first aid check and no errors, so I don't think I did physical damage by unplugging it with the lid closed during encryption above. But the darn Time Machine kept wanting to encrypt the backup even when not checked and so I had to terminate again and do the entire process above over with reformatting as an encrypted drive. (Incidentally, this previously was an encrypted drive I used for TM with my previous MacBook Pro. Never a hiccup with it until this incident.)

Since it still wanted to encrypt the TM backup, I deselected the drive and then re-enabled it for TM after formatting yet again (so that's like three times now). After making sure that encryption was off, I lastly excluded everything but my shared folder (which has nothing much in it). But it still wanted to decrypt the drive...but with only 100 megs it went fast. I thought I had finally figured it out now that it was decrypted. Double checked again that backup encryption was off, and removed the exclusions. The backup seemed to go normally with the full 250 gigs...until...

The darn thing is now unencrypting the full backup, even though it was not set to encrypt it and it had already previously decrypted the partial 100 MB backup! This is making me batty. Now it's been unencrypting for 10 hours and is less than 1/4 the way though...at this rate it will be going for two more days. It's like it still thinks there was an encrypted backup to begin with, but I wiped it clean with multiple formats.

Since everything I've tried has failed, I'm letting this run out and hopefully that will be the end of it and it will then work as an unencrypted backup on an encrypted drive, but I'm not holding my breath on that. It's early evening Saturday now, so I'll find out maybe late Monday or Tuesday, unless another approach can be found.

Any inkling what is going on here? Could there be a .plist or other file somewhere that needs to be removed? I'm starting to wonder if I need to low level format the drive...haven't done that since like 1995! Or is TM somehow seeing the unique S/N of the disk or something? I am totally baffled!

Thoughts and suggestions welcome, hivemind!
Thanks!
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
34,002
15,327
California
Thanks Weaselboy...but why would that be different than reformatting with DiskUtil?
Because normally when you have a core storage volume on the drive like that, DU will not let your format. This will nuke the whole thing and let you format (hopefully).
 

SierraNevada

macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2017
5
2
So it looks like I have this working now, and in the process finally understand how TM handles encryption. I mistakenly thought that TM had a separate encryption from encrypting the drive. When I selected TM to not be encrypted, it decrypted the already encrypted drive. I reformatted as encrypted (and made a separate encrypted partition just for my Parallels backups that I exclude from TM due to size), and see that the check box for encrypted TM comes up automatically. School of hard knocks learning for sure. Thanks for your suggestions.
 
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miemo

macrumors newbie
Dec 14, 2017
23
25
So it looks like I have this working now, and in the process finally understand how TM handles encryption. I mistakenly thought that TM had a separate encryption from encrypting the drive. When I selected TM to not be encrypted, it decrypted the already encrypted drive.

Holy s**t, that's it! I spent the whole evening googling this issue without finding any clear instructions or guidelines on this (neither from Apple, nor from any of the "expert" publications) – and was frustrated at seeing either an overly long encryption process or an overly long decryption process with TimeMachine, depending on which encryption was set on. When all along the key was to have encryption on both on the file system level AND in TimeMachine.

Thanks so much for posting this, saved the rest of my evening (and actually days worth of en/decrypting time)! (And FU Apple for not providing a clear instruction on this!)
 

nicmart

macrumors member
Nov 29, 2012
49
9
(And FU Apple for not providing a clear instruction on this!)

I’ve gone through the same funhouse as the other posters. I’m afraid the problem is that Apple’s margins are too thin and it can’t afford thorough documentation.
 

ambientdaw

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
237
155
Sonoma County CA
Wow. Day 3 (about 48 hours so far) of encrypting my 2014 MBP with Apple SSD. Maybe 300gb worth of data. I thought it was done yesterday but then it started the "optimizing" routine. Still says "more than a day remaining". I shudder to think how long it will take to encrypt my iMac with 750gb of data, lol.

I heard something about random number generators you can add to some pool that will help this tired old program run better?
 

kunalmishra9

macrumors newbie
Apr 5, 2018
1
0
I'm having the same problem. When the external drive is plugged in it is constantly grinding away even though both the encryption process and backup are complete.

Just wanted to let y'all know about this sweet app called Time Machine Editor that basically fixed this problem for me. I have a laptop and not ejecting the hard drive while it was always backing up was super annoying because it corrupted the backups and I had to restart. Now, my Time Machine backups only run every 24 hours at like 4am so I can disconnect as I please.
 

BigMcGuire

Cancelled
Jan 10, 2012
9,832
14,020
I made the mistake of encrypting my 3TB drive. I had a heck of a time with it - first formatted it to the new APFS - copied all my backups to it, then ... found that timemachine won't work with that. So ... formatted, copied all my data over, started time machine, chose to encrypt via time machine and I'm looking at weeks of encrypting - but at least it backs up during. I should have formatted encrypted then just do a normal time machine backup. Oh well, I'll have my laptop on with the drive connected at work so it speeds it up a bit more.
 
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