Time Machine problems - advice please?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Chippy99, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. Chippy99, Jun 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015

    Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    If you can bear with me, this is a little bit long and complicated, but I'd really appreciate the thoughts of any souls more knowledgable than me!

    For 2 years, I have been using a Lacie Blade Runner 4TB drive (USB 3.0) as a Time Machine backup. The Blade Runner is a great looking and great performing, if not somewhat flaky device. Occassionally it will go offline, or fail to unmount or other such problems, but I have persevered with it. However, I've decided enough is enough since I am backing up lots of important data and don't want to take any risks.

    My suspicion is that there is nothing wrong with the actual disk in the Blade Runner (Seagate Constellation ES.3). The "flaky" behaviour has existed from day1 (some of which Lacie have admitted are issues), so I strongly suspect it's their dodgy firmware/controller and that the actual disk is just fine.

    That being the case, I dismantled the unit to take the disk out and connect it up via another enclosure, but when doing that, to my great surprise, OS X could not recognise the disk *at all* and on insertion up popped the window saying do I want to initialise it. I declined and put it straight back into the Blade Runner enclosure and to my relief, it's still perfectly readable from there.

    So my first question is, does anyone know why the disk cannot be read from another USB 3.0 controller? I am not clued up about SED drives, but is it possible that the disk is an SED encrypted disk and only readable from the Lacie enclosure as a result? I have never been asked for any password, so if this is happening, then it's completely transparent. Any other ideas?

    Anyway, since I can't read the disk (for now) I thought I would go down the other route of copying the Time Machine backups to another 4TB drive. Apple conveniently tell you how to do that (https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT202380). Unfortunately this does not work. After about an hour of "preparing to copy" (there's 8 million files in the backup) it hits an error and says some of the files can't be copied because they are locked. I could skip them, but then perhaps I end up with corrupted or incomplete/non-functioning backups.

    Opening a Terminal session, I navigate to the Time Machine volumes and search for locked files using

    sudo find . -flags uchg

    It transpires there are 100's if not 1000's of locked files -far too many to weed out by hand. Some are random jpegs, others might be system files or Aperture metadata. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what's locked and how it became locked.

    Incidentally, I am not the only one with this problem, but unfortunately I have found no solution yet:


    So now it seems I have a potentially failing Time Machine disk (who knows) that I cannot read from another enclosure and I cannot back up. (I tried copying it with Carbon Copy Cloner but CCC doesn't support copying of Time Machine folder structures.)

    Can anyone suggest how I might get these valuable Time Machine backups onto a medium I can trust?


    EDIT: Incidentally, is this the sort of thing Applecare can help with? I have extended Applecare and bought both the iMac and the Blade Runner disk from the Apple store, so it's all their kit!
  2. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    Why don't you use your new disk and create a new Time Machine backup from scratch? Hang on to your other disk for a while in case you need it.
  3. Chippy99 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    That's the route I am taking Steve, thanks. I had hoped to migrate the Time Machine backups over to the next disk so it was all in one place, but I am not sure I am going to find a way to do it.

Share This Page