Time Machine Backups Fail

Discussion in 'macOS' started by r0k, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #1
    It's a question I hate to ask, but is time Machine ready for prime time?

    I allowed a 10.5.4 update to run recently and the result was 6 kernel panics in rapid succession. Luckily, I noticed that just before the kernel panic, I would see the time machine arrow starting to spin. I turned off time machine and the kernel panics stopped. I decided to call Apple. Here is what they told me. I had set my machine to sleep while I was out of town for 2 weeks. Time Machine does not work well over wifi if you allow your machine to sleep. WHAT?!? How could anything be designed so poorly it can't handle sleep? But wait, it gets better.

    Next the Apple tech suggested I drag my sparsebundle to disk utility. (the sparsebudnle is target time machine volume located on a 500gig time capsule)

    Disk Utility failed to repair it. Ok, so what you're saying is I gotta delete all my backups for backup to start working again?!?

    I connected a usb drive and did a quick TM backup to that before deleting my motherload of months of backups. After deletion, TM started working again. This time over gigabit ethernet. No more kernel panics. After about a week, I went back to using wifi, but sleep is disabled.

    Then a new problem started. I noticed that none of the 3 machines I have backing up could actually complete a backup. It would always fail. So I searched Apple's forums and found you have to restart your Time Capsule and the backups start working again. Wait a minute. Restart TC to get something working? What is this, DOS?

    Anybody else have issues like this? I haven't seen Time Machine on the list of any System Update fixes since my problems began. Apple has gotta fix this or they could get dragged through the mud over this.

    The first time somebody's Macbook crashes and they head home to do a restore only to find a "corrupt sparsebundle" I'm sure we will all be reading about it in the forums. For now, I'm in the market for a backup backup solution.
     
  2. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    #2
    Though not as severe, I've had Time Machine problems on both machines since 10.5.4. I also had a new external drive fail, which is probably a hardware issue but is suspicious in context of the Time Machine problems.

    Our problem is that TM fails to make backups from time to time. No good reason; it just has an error and fails. And won't resume until I manually intervene.
     
  3. GR33NIE macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Mine keep failing too :( No apparent reason just fails, then doesn't work again until I manually run a backup

    Very strange:confused:
     
  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #4
    Same problem here. If I look in Console for backupd-related messages (backupd is the Time Machine Backup process), it usually tells me which file it halted on due to an error, as well as the error code.
     
  5. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #5
    It doesn't always have to be Time Machine in general, it could also be the fault of the designated HDD.
     
  6. glassmen07 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    #6
    Mine fails randomly, but it works more times than it fails so I'm not completely against it. It helped when I put a new HD in my MBP.

    But yeah it does fail randomly
     
  7. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    How do you see a kernel panic coming? and how do you know you stopped one? I think you need to learn what a KP is. :rolleyes:

    I call BS on this thread. Time Machine is great. You all just don't know how to set it up.
     
  8. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    #8
    I've seen it on two different, brand new Seagate drives used on two completely different systems (a new MBP and an older dual-G5). It's not the drives; it's Time Machine.

    It's clearly not setup error, since Time Machine has no setup. Plug in a drive and click the On button. Either it works or it doesn't.

    Check the Apple Discussion forums. The same errors are reported there. The error I experience can be related to Time Machine getting stuck on certain files.

    And it distinctly started after 10.5.4.
     
  9. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    What's your drive partitioned as? How's it plugged in? Journaling enabled?
     
  10. dacreativeguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    #10
    I haven't had any problems with TM, and it actually saved my mom when her HD died. After replacing the hardware, I booted from the install DVD, pointed to the TM backup, and an hour later she was back to normal. TM is great.
     
  11. voxnj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Location:
    Dark Side of the Moon
    #11
    I also had the problem of randomly failing back-ups. I diagnosed the problem as the external hard drive that I was using (a USB powered external). I replaced it yesterday with a new 1TB LaCie. No problems now!

    I don't know if this is your problem, but I have the impression that many USB powered external drives are not designed to take the continual updating that the time machine generates.

    Good luck with your problem. Let us know if and how you solve it.
     
  12. stoneage macrumors regular

    stoneage

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
    Location:
    Directly above the center of the Earth.
    #12
    I also have been having problems. I backup both my MacBook wirelessly and my iMac, which is wired directly to the Time Capsule. The MB seems to work alright, but I am getting a TM error every hour for the iMac.
     

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  13. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando
    #13
    The problem doesn't appear to be Time Machine, but the Time Capsule. I've had the same problem here, but only when backing up to a Time Capsule (500GB) and I believe the problem is most prevalent when you stop a backup before it can complete, either by shutting down the computer, or moving it out of range (in the case of my laptop), but also if you tell it to stop the correct way, by right clicking on the Time Machine icon and choosing "Stop Backing Up". It's inconvenient, but I think the best solution is just to make sure the backups always get to fully complete.

    jW

    EDIT: Nevermind, didn't notice that several people have had problems with other drives, but I stand by my basic diagnosis.
     
  14. r0k thread starter macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #14
    When you get 6 kernel panics in less than an hour, guess what? If you're paying attention, you can see 'em coming.

    I like Apple and have no reason to spread FUD about their products. They have seeded 10.5.5 today and they tout Time Machine fixes (among others).

    I hope so.

    I've been dutifully sending in all my quit unexpectedly logs. But to answer your question, I just got lucky and was staring at the screen trying to figure out why I kept getting the dreaded "Hold Power to reboot" screen (otherwise known as a kernel panic).

    Like I said, when something happens over and over again in rapid succesion, you have lots of chances to notice why. Sure enough, the TM circle would start to spin just before the kernel panic.

    I switched off TM and it didn't happen any more. In legal circles this is known as "prima facie" evidence. In other words, Time Machine was caught red handed being the reason a filesystem was corrupted rather than the means to recover from such an event. When something happened every 10 minutes and I made a change and it stopped happening, then yes I can say without a doubt I successfully prevented it.

    Apple level 3 support insisted I delete all my backups to solve this. They assured me that once the "sparsebundle" is corrupted, you can't restore from it anyway.

    As for now knowing how to set it up? Huh? There are two lousy things to click on. "change disk" and "on/off". I guess you could open "options" and try to screw something up in there. Let's see "back up on battery power" and "warn when old backups deleted" Ooooh. Complicated. Not even Mr. Bean could screw that up. Clearly this is a software design and quality issue, not an end user error.

    Here are issues I want to see addressed in Leopard 10.5.5:
    1 - TM should recover gracefully when a system sleeps or it should postpone sleep until the backup is finished. Even if the system does sleep or there is a power failure, backups should be able to pause and resume without corruption or other issues.

    2 - A corrupted target volume should result in a nice dialog box not a kernel panic and possible lost work - recover gracefully from disk corruption.

    3 - Time Machine has no business executing in kernel space - it's a backup application and TM doesn't deserve access to regions of memory that could panic the kernel.

    4 - Add the option to check and repair the backup target volume in disk utility whenever there is a problem backing up or restoring.

    5 - Stop requiring periodic reboots of the Time Capsule for backups to keep working. This is a nuisance and is so much like DOS it isn't funny.
     
  15. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    #15
    Single 500GB partition, in the default Mac HFS Extended Journaled format. USB 2 connection either to computer or to USB hub.

    We've seen this on three different drives now. My wife's new Seagate drive died (I darkly suspect that Time Machine killed it, but that might be paranoia) so I've temporarily replaced it with an older 160GB WD drive. She's getting the same errors again. It's obviously Time Machine, and not a specific drive. And we know it's TM and not her computer because I see it on my machine too.

    It's a real issue. It's Time Machine. There's various threads in Apple's discussion forums about it.


    Fortunately Time Machine largely works for me. But Apple needs to fix this. An untrustworthy backup system can be more dangerous than no backup at all.
     
  16. mcapanelli macrumors regular

    mcapanelli

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Whitestone, NY
    #16

    As much as I like apple and don't regret my switch......YET. It has to be time machine. I just started a new thread about this very problem. My book is about a year old and now that I've been leaning on her after giving winblows the boot, the trouble starts. I was using a reformatted 160gig seagate and thought it had crapped out on my so I went out and got a brand new sealed in the box WD MyBook and I keep getting the same error message after it hits about 30 gigs. If this were on one drive I'd give it the benefit of the doubt, but two? I hope they resolve this TM issue son as I NEED to back up as this is my main work computer now.
     
  17. swrigley macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    #17
    I too have endless problems with Time Machine/Time Capsule and it looks like many others have. It simply isn't fit for purpose. I removed all my old backups and sparsebundle and starting the whole thing from scratch. It crashed with the same old error message that says nothing more than 'an error occurred' and invites you to click 'OK' as if it IS OK! I deleted them all again and this time excluded almost all my files. It worked so i went back in and un-excluded some more. It still worked. And so on and on laboriously until all my files were backed up. It worked for about a day then the same old message popped up. Let's be clear - we as users are doing exactly what Apple wants us to do. We are not messing with our settings or trying anything fancy. And yet this programme consistently and repeatedly fails without any usable diagnostic information on how to fix the problem. Its not good enough - the Apple adage 'it just works' will soon be seen as a lie. In the case of Time Machine 'it just doesn't' and the sooner Apple address this the better for them and us.
     
  18. mcapanelli macrumors regular

    mcapanelli

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Whitestone, NY
    #18
    It's really very disappointing. I'm essentially new to Mac and this is NOT inspiring me to make the big switch. In fact I have a Gateway running Ubuntu of all things that's more stable then my mac and is virus free due to it's unix heritage. I would except this level of tinkering from a $600 machine and not whine too much about it, but a $1500 machine? C'mon now. I know I've had this machine for a year now yet this is the first month I've leaned on it and it's failed already. I think I'll be selling this machine while people will pay top dollar for it and go back to running a PC with a Linux or Unix kernal and tinkering to get it all right, while baking the other $1000. Please don't turn this in to the classic Windows/Mac debate. The truth of the matter is mac is virus free, as most of you know, because of it's use of unix, not because Steve Jobs sprinkled fairy dust on it. The superdrive will read but not write sighting a medium error and now this? Anybody wanna buy a used macbook?
     
  19. mcapanelli macrumors regular

    mcapanelli

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Whitestone, NY
    #19
    Just want to apologize for my frustrated rant there. Sorry, it's been a long night.
     
  20. bplein macrumors 6502

    bplein

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX USA
    #20
    Sure, discounted appropriately!
     
  21. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #21
    You're either being sarcastic or you're lousy at sales. You tell us that your Mac experience is awful (but you don't tell us much) then you say the Superdrive produces errors then you ask the forum if anyone wants to buy it?
    I say NO based on your sales technique, it's a turn off.
     
  22. mcapanelli macrumors regular

    mcapanelli

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    Whitestone, NY
    #22
    That would be sarcasm my friend. I do admit to being disappointed by this whole experience (And mind you I'm really just starting to use it more.) that was just a joke.
     
  23. Trajectory macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Earth
    #23
    A few times TM failed on backups, but, if I start the backup manually, that seems to clear it up for me. Other than that, it has been working well on 2 iMacs. I've tried a bunch of different backup solutions for Macs over the years, but, Time Machine is the best one so far, despite a few glitches.
     

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