Hi, I've searched all forums for a good definitive answer on the time machine "Preparing" forever problem and have not found one. I know these forums are monitored by experts so will an expert please tell me what this is all about? After initial install of my time machine and setting up three macintosh computers on it all went well for several months. Then, one of my laptops apparently hasn't been backup up for 56 days according to the message displayed when it started a backup. So I let it go, and go, and go...for a day and a half and all it says is "Preparing". Then I gave up and deleted the backup file on the TM like one post suggested and started the backup again. It has now been running for about 18 hours now displaying "Preparing". Please, there must be someone out there who has the definitive answer to this and can tell me exactly what to do if anything and whether it's going to take another hour, day, week, year, or what! When I contacted Apple, they won't talk to me unless I pay them. Well I refuse to pay Apple to answer a question as basic as this and that should be posted for all to see anyway.