Time machine failing back up

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Baxterae, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. Baxterae macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2015
    Montreal, CA
    I've been using an external G-drive with Time machine for years with no issues. Recently, I got an error message saying that there was not enough space on the disk to complete the backup. I went through my files and removed all but the essential ones from the backup, bringing the size well within the space available on the disk.

    Now Time Machine starts a back up on schedule, but just stops with no error message. There's not a specific point at which it stops (it could be 250mb or 20Gb from 125GB total). I have rebooted the machine (hard reboot and restart multiple times) and set up Time Machine preferences again, neither helps. I also ran Disk Utility and there are no issues with the disk.

    I am running a MacBook Pro Retina with OS Yosemite Version 10.10.5.

    Any help would be great! Thanks.
  2. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Enter Time Machine and select older backups for removal in order to clear up space on the drive. Time Machine will ask for your admin password for each backup you select to remove. Do not remove old backups from Time Machine using any other method as that will corrupt TM. Better yet, buy a new drive and continue your backups on it. Just select the new drive from Time Machine Preferences.
  3. Baxterae thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2015
    Montreal, CA
    Thanks. I am in the process of ordering a new hard drive, but need a solution in the mean time!

    Time Machine was automatically deleting all of my old backups. But the oldest one, when I open time machine, appears in red. It says "waiting" in the toolbar and doesn't give me the option to restore from this backup. Does this suggest there is a corrupted backup somewhere that's causing the issue?
  4. Riku7 macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2014
    What I have learned about Time Machine is that the backup disk that you use should have at least twice the amount of space compared to the amount of data that you're trying to back up. And even more never hurts if you absolutely want to avoid that message forever. I haven't been doing regular backups for very long yet so unfortunately I can't say anything on whether or not something is corrupted. Just make sure that the new hard drive that you're getting isn't too tight. If you need to back up 125GB, 250GB for a backup disk is a bare minimum, 500GB on the excessive side but I'm not sure how many inbetween models there are, perhaps none. But say, if you get a 500GB drive, you can always partition it as a 300+200GB partitions, using the 300GB one for backing up and the 200GB side for whatever else you like.
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Larger is always better, but larger will just take longer to get filled up with the hourly incremental backups, before Time Machine begins to delete the oldest increments. So a larger backup disc is not a fireproof strategy for avoiding the dreaded "Time Machine Failed" notices. If these problems persist you may have to wipe your TM disc and start over. I had to do that a bunch of times with my old Time Capsule. Probably the disc itself was failing. Replacing it solved that problem once and for all.

    Some good Time Machine troubleshooting advice can be found here:


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