Time Machine keeps failing on MBP with external disk?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by alexjholland, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. alexjholland macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Hey, I recently sold my iMac as I'm abroad, so am now using a 2011 MacBook Pro with a 1TB SSD boot and a 1TB spinner in the optical drive, for holding GoPro footage.

    Both are around 60-70% full, so I have a 4TB Hitachi desktop spinner as a Time Machine backup drive.

    Unfortunately, it keeps failing when doing backups.. I left it for ages doing the first backup, a few weeks back, which never quite finished.

    Now, whenever I plug in the Hitachi drive, it tells me it has 59GB to go (a fraction of the total amount) and my Time Machine drive has used 1.39TB - so clearly has backed-up a significant portion of my files.

    However, each time I plug in and start the backup, it gets a little way-in and then says it couldn't complete.. specifically:

    "An error occurred while copying files. The problem may be temporary. If the problem persists, use Disk Utility to repair your backup disk."

    This could be unrelated, but this Hitachi disk (and an identical model, except 2TB, that I kept films on) would routinely detach themselves from my iMac.. I was never quite sure the source of the problem, but using programs like Caffeine (stops drives from turning off) never quite solved it.. so I had to routinely unplug/replug the drives. Although the Time Machine 4TB drive - in this instance - is still attached.

    Could there be a problem with the caddy itself?

    Given the cost of a 4TB spinner, would it make more economic sense to buy a new SATA 3.5" case and break the Hitachi one open, then place the spinner inside?

  2. elf69 macrumors 68000


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    It could well be the controller within the case.

    We see it alot here at work.
    Generally WD drives (not passport, these seem very solid).

    We recase alot of WD desktop drives with controller issues.
    worth a go considering the price of a new caddy.
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    How is the drive connected - USB? That 2011 MacBook Pro would have USB 2.0 ports, so if that's what it is using then it's definitely worth considering elf69's solution and get a FireWire or Thunderbolt enclosure. You'll pick up a lot of performance, even if the issue turns out to be something else.
  4. alexjholland thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Ahhh... so I could get a Thunderbolt case? Are they expensive?
    Yeah, it's USB 2!
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Feb 20, 2009
    My suggestion:

    Download CarbonCopyCloner from:
    Carbon Copy Cloner - Download
    Partition the external 4gb drive.
    Reinitialize both partitions using Disk Utility.

    Use CCC to create cloned backups of BOTH internal drives -- one on each partition.
    You will now have a "bootable backup solution" on the external drive. Will become indispensable if you're traveling and have problems with your internal boot drive.

    Update the clones every few days (or more frequently if you wish).

    No more TM problems!
  6. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    You could get Thunderbolt, or FireWire. Either one would be faster than the disk itself, so no practical performance difference between the two. Probably, thunderbolt will cost more but might also give you forward compatibility that FireWire won't. Several options out there, I don't have a specific recommendation.

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