Time Machine not making automatic backups

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by master.po, Feb 10, 2017.

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  1. master.po macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2017
    #1
    I'm on a mac mini running Sierra 10.12.3 with a USB external Seagate hard drive for Time Machine backups. I configured the drive for time machine without any problems and set it to do automatic backups. It worked for a couple of weeks and then it suddenly stopped creating new backups. I'm only using 275GB of 1TB so it's not a disk space issue, and if I do a manual backup it works fine. Auto backups do not get done however, and it's not an issue of no new data to backup because I've tested that by adding several new files to my home folder. I also tried removing the disk from the time machine preferences and adding it back but that doesn't work either. I finally gave up and deleted all backups on the drive and started from scratch. The backups began working again and continued every hour for a couple of weeks and then it stopped again. Same exact issues and no way to get it to make auto backups that I can figure out. I don't think deleting all my backups every two weeks is a good backup solution. Anyone else heard of or seen this problem and knows a fix?

    Thanks for any help
     
  2. BLUEDOG314 macrumors regular

    BLUEDOG314

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2015
    #2
    Do you notice that every time you have to do this it caps at say the same 275GB or so? Just curious.

    One thing I'd say to try is after wiping the partition and turning off time machine, go to the /Library/Preferences and delete the .plist file related to time machine, then restart the machine and start a fresh backup. You will have to enter an admin password to delete the file.
     
  3. master.po thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2017
    #3
    I'm not sure about the exact data amount on the drive when it quits, but I doubt that would cause it, since it will do manual backups without issue. I guess anything is possible though. And I forgot to mention it, but I did delete the .plist file before I wiped everything and started over a few weeks ago. This morning I watched the logs when the scheduled time for the next backup rolled around (as shown in TM preferences). I filtered console with "backupd" which is the process TM uses and produces several log entries during a manual backup, but there were zero backupd logs produced when the scheduled time comes around. I also looked at non-backupd logs around the time, but I'm not an expert in deciphering all those log messages and nothing stood out. And one minute after the time has passed, TM preferences changes the next scheduled backup to an hour later even though nothing occurred.

    Anyway, I'm giving up. I found a free utility called TimeMachineEditor from macupdate.com and set backups to occur every 2 hours (you can set them to almost any interval you want) and turned off the native automatic backups. Things work fine so far using this. It's done 4 backups so far, and that was on top of the existing backups I already had (I didn't have to trash my existing backups and start over). Whatever is responsible for kicking off the backups in the native scheduler is failing for some reason. It's weird that it worked for several weeks then just stopped. Who knows, maybe I'll have the same issue with this new utility.
     
  4. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    #4
    OP, it sounds like a similar issue to what I posted about previously (you can search for my thread if needed). I even tried that same app. Didn't help. Backups would stop after a few days. I ended up making a very simple AppleScript application that stays running and triggers a backup every 3 hours (can be any amount of time). If you are comfortable with AppleScript, happy to share it with you.
     
  5. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    #5
    The code is so small, I might as well just drop it in a post. Drop this into Script Editor, save as an Application, give it a pretty icon, set it to start when your computer starts, and never think about it again. It has been an elegant 'fix' to this issue for me.

    on idle
    do shell script
    "tmutil startbackup"
    # Optionally, have a Notification display when the backup is triggered.
    display notification "Time Machine Triggered"
    return [time in seconds you want to wait between tiggers, do not include the brackets]
    end idle

    on quit
    continue
    quit
    end
    quit
     
  6. master.po thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2017
    #6
    Thanks! I'll give it a shot
     
  7. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2000
    #7
    After upgrading a Mac mini server to Sierra its TM backups have mysteriously stopped working. Initially it was because the energy saver settings got reset so the system was sleeping, but after fixing that I still don't know what's going on.

    Anyways, I used a method similar to Paco II but set it up through launchd so it runs in the background.

    1. Save this text to /Users/you/Library/LaunchAgents/com.macrumors.time-machine-backup.plist

    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
        <key>Label</key>
        <string>com.macrumors.time-machine-backup</string>
        <key>ProgramArguments</key>
        <array>
            <string>/usr/bin/tmutil</string>
            <string>startbackup</string>
        </array>
        <key>StartCalendarInterval</key>
        <array>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>2</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>4</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>6</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>8</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>10</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>12</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>14</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>16</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>18</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>20</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
            <dict>
                <key>Hour</key>
                <integer>22</integer>
                <key>Minute</key>
                <integer>0</integer>
            </dict>
        </array>
    </dict>
    </plist>
    
    2. Load it in Terminal via this command:

    Code:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.macrumors.time-machine-backup.plist
    It will run Time Machine backup every 2 hours.
     
  8. tomzmyslo, Jul 31, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017

    tomzmyslo macrumors newbie

    tomzmyslo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2017
    #8
    Hey everyone, we've been suffering with this same issue at my office and really liked the simplicity of kainjow's solution. I tweaked it a little bit and posted it as an open-source repo on GitHub so it would be easier to share with people.

    https://github.com/tomzmyslo/AutoBackup

    Feel free to fork and modify as needed.
     

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