Never.Ever.Trust.Time.Machine!

yippi

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 16, 2013
45
2
Time machine is a big risk to your data if you trust its reliability. I just seem to have lost the backup from 4 Month worth of data (3TB)… and it's not the first time that TM malfunctions. I had no crash, nothing happening, running my MacPro just besides me working on an MBA. Then, this afternoon I noticed audible and hours long disk activity. TM's icon indicated backup activity. When checking the backup volume TM was just running something like a first backup on my 2.3 TB HDD. No older backup was preserved.

Fortunately I still have a daily backup on an external device and a weekly backup separately, but my

WARNING TO EVERYBODY: NEVER EVER TRUST TIME MACHINE (so-called) BACKUPS.

They are prone to vanish without warning and cannot be relied on.

YOU NEED AT LEAST ONE OTHER BACKUP DONE BY ANOTHER APPLICATION.

Using another application is absolutely crucial. I use Chronosync and CarbonCopyCloner.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,059
30,604
Boston
That's unfortunate. I've been using TM since its been released and I've never had a problem, I've used it on numerous occasions to restore files, folders and my entire drive.

Usually if Time Machine notices significant amounts of changes it will switch from an incremental backup to a full backup but I thought it usually warns you on this. Did you recently upgrade your system or update it?

While I can understand your frustration, this is different then having TM failed, it may be working as expected, just not as you expected.

As for your advice of multiple backups, that is always good advice. I use Time Machine in conjunction to Carbon Copy Cloner. Relying on a single backup is risky no matter what software you're using
 

caribiner23

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2005
106
0
Chicago
I've always found Time Machine problematic, for what it's worth.

Over the couple years I used it, I'd find it would run for months without a glitch and then one day it would just send an error that says it has to create an entirely new backup. Other times it would just mysteriously stop working altogether.

Rather than continually mess around with it, I simply got religious about creating timely backups with SuperDuper and storing data on Dropbox and external hard drives.

After years as a systems administrator, I've come to believe it's good to follow the "belt-and-suspenders" approach to backup.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,405
5,640
Here on the MR forums you will find "Time Machine" supporters, who will tell you that's all you need.

And you'll also find "clone backup supporters". I'm one of the latter.

If you use a cloned backup, all your files are always "right there", in POFF (plain old finder format). Just connect your cloned backup drive and copy one file, or the entire drive if necessary.

Further, a cloned backup is FULLY bootable.
By "fully" bootable, I mean it will boot "right to the finder", with ALL your apps and data ready to go at a moment's notice.

You can't do that with TM, regardless of a few here who claim that TM backups are "bootable". What that means is that you can boot to the recovery partition, but once there, your options are EXTREMELY limited. You can't open files, nor can you run any app of your choosing. About all you can do is a re-install of the OS, or a TM "restore". In many cases either of these might be overkill, more "repairs" than what is actually needed.
 
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Partron22

macrumors 68020
Apr 13, 2011
2,497
711
Yes
Rather than continually mess around with it, I simply got religious about creating timely backups with SuperDuper and storing data on Dropbox and external hard drives.
Yes, using Time Machine to back up the whole startup disk just seems like a tremendous waste of space to me. I don't need copies of every minor System and App update from 10.8 on. SuperDuper keeps me well enough protected for these major assets.
Where Time Machine shines is in regularly imaging the few folders I change regularly, like "Documents" and "Developer". Excluding System, Apps, iTunes, Desktop, from Time machine lets me use a small partition for the BU, have hourly images of the files I'm working on, and have some space to do work that I don't want Time Machine keeping alive forever.
 

GSPice

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2008
1,623
76
Sorry, but TM's always worked for me.

There's always going to be malfunctions and errors with any backup method. That's why it's important that each person figures out for themselves what data redundancy solution best suits their needs.