Time Machine 'Preparing' Problem

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
Hey everyone,

I'm having a problem with Time Machine in 10.12 Sierra.

For nearly the past 45 minutes, I've been trying to run a Time Machine backup on my 2015 rMBP. I plug my WD HDD in, and it says preparing for backup, which is normal. However, it seems to get stuck there. The blue progress bar fills up all the way, but the backup doesn't actually commence.

I've had this problem once before, last year when I had my MacBook Air. Eventually, it worked. But so far, I can't get it to work today. I've tried to unmount and remount the drive, etc. I even thought perhaps there was something wrong with one of my USB ports, so I tried the other one, but that didn't make a difference either.

Is anyone else having this problem? If so, is there a way to get past the "preparing" stage?

Thanks
 

rshrugged

macrumors 6502a
Oct 11, 2015
895
627
In this case, the preparing stage may be normal if TM is doing a "deep scan" or Spotlight is indexing.

See this for explanation(s) and troubleshooting steps to take if you determine that your wait isn't a normal one -- http://pondini.org/TM/D1.html
 
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KALLT

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2008
4,922
3,004
45 minutes is not that uncommon or unreasonable. Just wait a bit longer. :)
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
45 minutes is not that uncommon or unreasonable. Just wait a bit longer. :)
Oh is it not? I feel like this is the longest I've ever waited lol but if it's not unusual, perhaps there is nothing to be concerned about. I tried to restart the process and am still currently waiting, but I'll wait it out and see what happens. Thanks
 
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jgelin

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Jul 30, 2015
898
1,045
St Petersburg, FL
This is normal, let it do its thing. You can see if it is still doing things in the console window, and look for the backupd process. Likely it will say it is doing a deep scan, or rebuilding the index as others have stated above. This especially occurs if you add any directories to the exclusion list in TM prefs.
 
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KALLT

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2008
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3,004
Restarting it will reset the progress, so it really must be allowed to complete. Time Machine is most effective when you use it regularly, ideally daily or a couple of times a week. The more time passes between backups, the higher the chance that Time Machine will have to perform a deep scan.
 
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Ace2617

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
This is normal, let it do its thing. You can see if it is still doing things in the console window, and look for the backupd process. Likely it will say it is doing a deep scan, or rebuilding the index as others have stated above. This especially occurs if you add any directories to the exclusion list in TM prefs.
Thanks, I will continue to wait it out.

Restarting it will reset the progress, so it really must be allowed to complete. Time Machine is most effective when you use it regularly, ideally daily or a couple of times a week. The more time passes between backups, the higher the chance that Time Machine will have to perform a deep scan.
I have been slacking on the TM backups, which is probably why it's taking so long - I'd say it's been ~ 2 weeks. Like you both have said, it seems it's probably doing a deep scan. Thanks to both of you, I appreciate your help.
 

Matthew.H

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2015
443
350
Norwich, UK
It took a little while for my TM backup yesterday to move from preparing to actually backing up. Although my previous backup was may 2016 so that could well be the reason why.
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
It took a little while for my TM backup yesterday to move from preparing to actually backing up. Although my previous backup was may 2016 so that could well be the reason why.
Mine is still preparing from the last time I wrote here, which was a little over an hour ago. The last backup i did was I believe around 2 weeks ago. I should backup more, but since its a laptop I don't always have the drive connected.
 

Eric5h5

macrumors 68020
Dec 9, 2004
2,406
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It's not normal to take 45 minutes for an incremental backup, unless you did a massive amount of stuff in two weeks. (If this was the first backup, sure.) This happened to me once, so I tried canceling the backup and restarting the computer, which fixed whatever the problem was.

--Eric
 

Ace2617

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2016
161
42
It's not normal to take 45 minutes for an incremental backup, unless you did a massive amount of stuff in two weeks. (If this was the first backup, sure.) This happened to me once, so I tried canceling the backup and restarting the computer, which fixed whatever the problem was.

--Eric
Well I've been trying for a few hours now. It's not the first backup, as I've had the drive for in use for about a year. I haven't done anything too strenuous over the past 2 weeks, I wasn't even expecting this to be a big backup, just trying to do it more frequently. It's taken way longer than I aniticipated. At some point, if it continues like this for a few more hours, I might restart the computer (with the drive disconnected) and see if that fixes it.

Thanks