Time Machine Problem "No Engineer Ever Heard Of"

Laisha

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 21, 2014
138
25
Far northern Maine.
But when I went in recently, I found that the RESTORE dates — the one which you scroll through to find the date you wish to restore from — only went back as far as January 13, 2019.

Meanwhile, if I look over to the right of the monitor, I can see dates going all the way back to August 2016. And when I go into the Seagate, I can see that the backups are all in there.

Apple got me to the second tier. We worked on it for literally 3 days. Nothing. He indicated that none of the engineers he talked to had ever heard of such a thing and told me it probably wouldn't happen again.

Has anyone here ever heard of such a problem? Or has anyone here got any ideas of what I can do?
 

Laisha

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 21, 2014
138
25
Far northern Maine.
Yes. In both cases. I don't know if it will help, but I'm posting pictures of both the total backups (the ones all the way back to 2016) as well as the ones that appear to be available but have the "RESTORE" button greyed out now.

New.Timemachine.01.jpg New.Timemachine.02.jpg Old.Timemacine.01.jpg Old.Timetable.02.jpg
 

G4DPII

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2015
250
300
Have you re-installed the OS and had to choose the Back Up disk again in Time Machine preferences?

I've had this happen on a couple of occasions.
 

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,128
576
Oregon
Yes. In both cases. I don't know if it will help, but I'm posting pictures of both the total backups (the ones all the way back to 2016) as well as the ones that appear to be available but have the "RESTORE" button greyed out now.

View attachment 819286 View attachment 819287 View attachment 819288 View attachment 819290
Have you force quit finder? I am finding that finder is not always showing most recent files and every so often I have to force quit and restart.
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2011
3,395
333
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
This doesn't sound unusual to me, depending on the size of your backup disk and how much space is free on it. Time Machine saves "Hourly backups for 24 hours, Daily backups for the past month, Weekly backups for all previous months" which is stated right at System Preferences > Time Machine. It also says "The oldest backups are deleted when your disk becomes full". SOME data may be available from older backups, e.g. you can browse to it in the Time Machine browser. But to do a complete restore, the entire backup must be available - which it usually is not, more than a few weeks to a few months out unless you have a ginormous Time Machine disk.
 
  • Like
Reactions: harriska2

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,128
576
Oregon
This doesn't sound unusual to me, depending on the size of your backup disk and how much space is free on it. Time Machine saves "Hourly backups for 24 hours, Daily backups for the past month, Weekly backups for all previous months" which is stated right at System Preferences > Time Machine. It also says "The oldest backups are deleted when your disk becomes full". SOME data may be available from older backups, e.g. you can browse to it in the Time Machine browser. But to do a complete restore, the entire backup must be available - which it usually is not, more than a few weeks to a few months out unless you have a ginormous Time Machine disk.
Yes, it is obvious that older backups fall off but why would it list it?
 

Laisha

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 21, 2014
138
25
Far northern Maine.
This doesn't sound unusual to me, depending on the size of your backup disk and how much space is free on it. Time Machine saves "Hourly backups for 24 hours, Daily backups for the past month, Weekly backups for all previous months" which is stated right at System Preferences > Time Machine. It also says "The oldest backups are deleted when your disk becomes full". SOME data may be available from older backups, e.g. you can browse to it in the Time Machine browser. But to do a complete restore, the entire backup must be available - which it usually is not, more than a few weeks to a few months out unless you have a ginormous Time Machine disk.
I don't think my disk has become full. I've been watching it for just that purpose. I still have 3.05 TB left. Would it dump a few terabytes at once?


Seagate.Info.png

[doublepost=1549072761][/doublepost]
Have you re-installed the OS and had to choose the Back Up disk again in Time Machine preferences?

I've had this happen on a couple of occasions.

Hmm...I missed this post. My disk ground to a stop in December, which is why I needed to restore back to last Christmas.
Once Apple sent my computer back with the new drive, I did have to install the OS. I don't remember it asking me to choose the backup disk. Don't remember going into TM preferences.

If that is indeed what happened to it, are my backups lost forever?

I note that the January backups, which used to be functional no longer seem to work as RESTORE is now greyed out for them as well.

[doublepost=1549073200][/doublepost]
Have you force quit finder? I am finding that finder is not always showing most recent files and every so often I have to force quit and restart.
Do you mean using force quit on the backup drive?
 
Last edited:

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2011
3,395
333
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
My disk ground to a stop in December, which is why I needed to restore back to last Christmas. Once Apple sent my computer back with the new drive, I did have to install the OS. I don't remember it asking me to choose the backup disk. Don't remember going into TM preferences.

If that is indeed what happened to it, are my backups lost forever?
The 3TB free means it is NOT pruning that has caused this. If you "Restored" the backup - i.e. booted to Recovery, then "Restore from Time Machine backup", it would NOT ask you about "Inheriting" backup history, that's assumed. If you use Migration Assistant, it would ask and you would need to select "Yes" to inherit the backups. See https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/if-your-new-mac-inherits-your-backup-history-mh35732/10.14/mac/10.14.3 for more info on that.

So, is it only showing backups since the disk was replaced at this point if you select to "Restore", but you can see earlier ones otherwise? If so, that might be behavior I just haven't encountered before. I don't know if it's right, wrong, or indifferent though.
 

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,128
576
Oregon
I don't think my disk has become full. I've been watching it for just that purpose. I still have 3.05 TB left. Would it dump a few terabytes at once?


View attachment 819497
[doublepost=1549072761][/doublepost]


Hmm...I missed this post. My disk ground to a stop in December, which is why I needed to restore back to last Christmas.
Once Apple sent my computer back with the new drive, I did have to install the OS. I don't remember it asking me to choose the backup disk. Don't remember going into TM preferences.

If that is indeed what happened to it, are my backups lost forever?

I note that the January backups, which used to be functional no longer seem to work as RESTORE is now greyed out for them as well.

[doublepost=1549073200][/doublepost]

Do you mean using force quit on the backup drive?
No, I mean force quit Finder itself.
 
Last edited:

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,128
576
Oregon
Ok. I'm cutting my losses and buying a new drive.

Thank you all.
If the backup drive is an external usb hard disk drive and it is 5 years old or older then it probably needs to be replaced anyways.

I think the reinstall question is referring to your computer, not time machine hard drive. If you recently have reinstalled the operating system on your boot drive then used the old time machine drive to start backing up, it may not let you access the files due to security reasons (I’m guessing).
 
Last edited:

w1z

macrumors 6502
Aug 20, 2013
451
278
Did you at anyone point prior to the 13th of Jan update to or activate the beta branch of macos?

Beta branch and time machine backups of the branch are notorious for failing ie. Can't restore, will start restoring then failing or won't see restore dates options when attempting to restore on a system with the base/default branch set.