Sudden Time Machine & External HDD Problems —*Nothing works

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DJDools, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. DJDools, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013

    DJDools macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    Hi there

    I really hope someone can help...

    Today, I went to backup my MacBook Pro files using Time Machine and my external HDD, as usual.

    Until today, Time Machine and the HDD have been running fine, and today I saw all backups in the HDD going back to September 2011.

    However, today when I tried to backup an error message came up saying there was not enough disk space on the HDD. Here's the error message:

    Time Machine could not complete the backup.

    This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires 299.79 GB but only 50.95 GB are available.

    Time Machine needs work space on the backup disk, in addition to the space required to store backups. Open Time Machine preferences to select a larger backup disk or make the backup smaller by excluding files.


    Nothing would work. So I deleted 1 backup to free some space, but the same error kept coming. I deleted another go.

    Then all of a sudden all HDD in Finder is showing NO backups/files/folders...nothing!!!

    Time Machine still thinks all the old backups are on the HDD. So does finder, which shows the following for the HDD:

    Capacity: 159.7 GB
    Available: 50.95
    Used: 108,747,599,872 bytes (108.75 GB on disk)

    Yet NO backups/files/folders are showing on the HDD under Finder and Time Machine won't recognise the old back-ups — ie, it says "Oldest Backup - None, Latest Backup - None"

    I've tried all sorts of things... including restarting, shutting down, repairing the HDD via Disk Utility etc and the tips here:

    But nothing is helping.

    I really don't know what to do next.

    (BTW, by chance, i did keep two of the old backups that I copied over today from the external HDD to my internal HDD)

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. DJDools thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    Anyone any ideas?

    I would appreciate ANY help with regards to the above... The problem is still persisting. Heyelp!
  3. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I would appreciate ANY help with regards to the above..."

    You could switch from using Time Machine (which produces ever-growing backups with the same files backed up over and over and over and over again), to either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

    Either will give you a _fully bootable clone_ of your internal drive, that is instantly bootable and has all your files available in plain old finder format, easy to access.

    The big difference between T.M. and CCC/SD is that you have to run your backups manually (I believe both have an option to automate).

    CCC can even "archive" older (changed versions) of files, so that they aren't over-written during an incremental backup.

    It's "more to do" initially than simply turning on the "Time Machine on/off switch", but both CCC and SD can make _getting your files back_ MUCH easier after a problem.

    And if you ever get into an "I can't boot" situation, where the Mac refuses to start from the internal drive, having a second bootable drive will prove invaluable to you.

    That's my advice.
    Others' may be different.
  4. DJDools thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    Thanks, Fishrrman but...

    Thanks so much for your reply, really appreciated. I'll look into those two... thanks!

    But first is there any way I can get access to the backups on my external HDD? Time Machine isn't showing any of them anymore, but clearly they are still there, as the disc is almost full!


  5. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    Have you tried repairing the disk via disk utility to see if that helps?
  6. DJDools thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    Tried that, but no-go

    Yes, but thanks for the suggestion. :D
  7. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2010
    Just reread your post...guess my reading comprehension isn't all here today. :eek:
  8. DJDools thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2012
    Same here!

    Haha! My brain is definitely having a brain-fart day... :)

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