Time Machine - SLOOOOOW

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by lockerc18, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. lockerc18 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    #1
    I don't know what the problem with Time Machine is, but why does it run so darn slow? It tells me there are 3.4 GB to back up, but it will take 19 hours. 19! I could move that many bits over to a 5.25 inch floppy by hand in that kind of time.

    I have a mid-2012 rMBP running MacOS Sierra 10.12.4, 256g GB SSD encrypted with 145 GB free, 16 GB RAM, a 2TB WDMyCloud NAS connected via cable to my ASUS router, and I'm on the 5G network. There's no way it should take THIS long to back up. Every time my system sleeps or I close it, the backup stops and I have to restart it. Yes, I know I can do this overnight, but this is only 3.4GB. Not a whole lot of data to backup.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  2. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    Jun 16, 2008
    #2
    The problem here is that while you're on what may appear to be a fast network, you are still limited to the speed of WiFi.. more importantly, you are limited to the highest speed the your router can use. If that is stuck on 802.11g (54Mbps) or 802.11n (600 - 900Mbps), that is what will be used. Your Mac could support 802.11n, but if your router can only go as fast as what 802.11g can support, you're negotiating down to what 802.11g can use. No increase of your internet facing pipe (5G, Fiber, etc.) is going to matter if your router can't support and negotiate a higher speed that your Mac can use.

    What you may need to do is see what copying speed you may get if you used a USB to Ethernet adapter, and plug your Mac directly into the router as well, and turn off WiFi. If that gets faster results, then you could go that way for a faster TM backup.

    But to answer your question, your limitation is the WiFi speed your router can serve.

    BL.
     
  3. lockerc18, Apr 17, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017

    lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    As I mentioned, I'm on the 5G network, which is 11ac.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 17, 2017 ---
    My apologies. I just checked, and my Mac's wifi is 11n, not 11ac. All this time, I thought it was 11ac. My bad. My router is an ASUS AC3100, which does support 11ac. If only my system had that capability.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  4. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #4
    I can't remember, since I still am on my mid-2011 MBA, and at the time, my wife was still on her 2008 MBP. Was the 2012 MBP the last to have a dedicated ethernet port? If so, you should plug directly into the router and TM backup to your NAS that way..

    BL.
     
  5. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    Baltimore, Maryland
    #5
    I'm not convinced the wifi speed is THE limiting factor. The speed is there and the OP could test copy speed on wifi vs. ethernet and compare that to the ratio of TM on wifi vs. ethernet. There's a lot going on when a TM backs up over wifi and I'd bet the wifi to ethernet ratio is a lot lower for the TM backup.
     
  6. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    May 17, 2012
    #6
    I believe the Classic model did, but my Retina model doesn't. Both were available at that time. Of course, now that I know my WiFi is 11n, and my SSD is SATA, not PCIe, I'm starting to hanker for a new Mac. And then I'll get to deal with all the adapters I'll need since that only has USB-C ports. Gads, it never gets easier with Apple.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 17, 2017 ---
    I read someplace that if File Vault is used, which I do, then decryption of the data is a time factor, too. I don't see that normally, so maybe that's involved.
     
  7. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #7

    But the speed would be limited to the highest speed that WiFi can negotiate at. If I have 2 servers that have Gigabit ethernet cards in each server, but they are connected to a 10/100 switch, I'm limited to 10/100 speeds, because that is the fastest that the switch can serve.

    Same would apply with his router. If the router is capable of 802.11ac, but his Mac's WiFi card can only do 802.11n, the transfer can only go as fast as the slowest card available, which is 802.11n. Yes, the router can use faster transfer speeds, but the Mac can't, as it can only transfer data as fast as 802.11n.

    I've backed up my MBA over WiFi, and it was just as bad.. Mine is capable of 802.11n, but thanks to my ISP's modem (ATT U-Verse), I'm limited to 802.11g speeds. backing up 256GB of data over that to my Synology NAS took roughly the same amount of time. I didn't try USB to Ethernet, as I actually had the time to do this (let it start overnight and didn't need to use it the following day), but it still took just as long. I've been going to a portable USB drive, which is obviously faster, as I'm limited to the copy speed over USB versus WiFi, but if I went over WiFi again, I'd have the same problem.

    BL.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 17, 2017 ---
    Know the feeling. My wife has the rMB. but she really needs a 15" screen (she's legally blind), so she's definitely going to go up to the latest MBP, regardless of TouchBar or not.. We're going to sell her rMB, as I'm going to need more than one port as well, and with USB-C... If we didn't need the portability, I'd go back to building another Hackintosh, and I'm done with building my own machines..

    With Legacy FileVault that may be right.. FileVault 2, not that I can really see, because the drive is already unlocked while the Mac is on, and TM isn't doing a block copy of the data for the backup..

    oh yeah.. thanks for reminding me.. I'm coming up on ACSP exams again.. :eek:

    BL.
     
  8. lockerc18, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017

    lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    As it turns out, I also have a Yoga 900 running Win10. I checked, and it is running 11ac on my 5G network. I did a backup today and it took 17 minutes. Compare that to my Mac backup taking 19 hours.

    OK, so there are a whole lot of caveats here. This is not an apples-to-apples comparison. These are different OSes, different backup tools, different network speeds, different size backups, and many more things. Maybe the only similarity is that the backups are going to the same MyCloud NAS through the same router, on the same network, albeit at different network speeds.

    And, the Time Machine backup didn't really take 19 hours. It took about 6. So the TM progress bar is totally useless. By contrast, the Win10 progress bar appears to be pretty accurate and more descriptive.

    So, do all the rationalization about this that you want. Factor this thing in and that thing out. Talk about the different backup algorithms used and the different network speeds. All those things are valid, but are irrelevant to the point I'm about to make. The only thing I can see which applies might be the network speeds, but even with that, there's still a huge difference between the two systems.

    Not having an 11ac-capable Mac, I don't know how long a backup should take. All I know is that my Mac took 6 hours to do a backup, when my Windows system took 17 minutes. Even when all the differences are accounted for, there's no way that Time Machine can be guilt-free in this.

    I think it's pretty clear that there is an issue, or a set of issues, with Time Machine that makes it an inferior offering to the competition. It would be acceptable for it to take a little longer, or even a few multiples longer. But 20 times longer? Even when the network speed difference is accounted for, and with 11ac being theoretically 3 times faster than 11n (1300 Mbps vs 450 Mbps), it's still clear that TM is so much slower than Windows. That is just plain unacceptable.

    And to get it to work, I have to keep my system on overnight, and have to configure it to not sleep or quiesce in any way. Every time TM gets interrupted, it has to start over.

    I have to believe that Apple needs to do something to TM to make it work at least as well as Windows. Functionally, it's a good tool, and it's saved my bacon on multiple Macs more than once. But it just can't be this slow. And there's no way a user should have to jump through hoops to get it to work.
     
  9. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #9
    Another thing to think about: how frequently are you performing TM backups? Obviously, the longer you take, the more of a delta between your last TM backup and the files currently on your Mac will be.

    Perfect example. I back up my Mac to an external USB drive, as well as to my Synology DS213J NAS over WiFi. As mentioned before, I'm limited to 802.11g thanks to my ISP's modem/router. To be honest, I haven't backed up my Mac to the NAS since ... actually, check on my Mac, it would be 2 years to the day: 4/19/2015. My last backup to my USB drive was 5 days ago. I've made some changes to files, added files (Tax forms), so I currently have a 5GB delta between my last TM backup and what I currently have. I'm being told it's about 30 minutes for that TM backup to complete. Again, that's over USB, so that isn't bad.

    For the backup on the NAS? well, at this point, it's easier for me to start over, because that backup would have been from OS X Yosemite. And for each version of MacOS that comes out, I do a clean install, with restoring my data and apps from the latest TM backup. So I'm stuck with a 19 to 20-hour or longer TM backup over that 802.11g network to my NAS.

    Oh.. in the time it took me to type this, that 30 minutes dropped down to 6 minutes left, and that's just from a delta.

    So my point here is not only the speed for your network and method used for TM backups, but also the frequency. Shorter times between backups = shorter times the backup will take.

    EDIT: 2 minutes after me hitting the post button, that TM backup completed.

    BL.
     
  10. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    May 17, 2012
    #10
    I have TM set on the default, which is to do automatic backups, so I get all the regular incrementals. If I keep my system on all day, then this seems to work OK. But if I don't, it doesn't. I really don't pay any attention to it because I expect it to just work.

    I also stay current on updates, so I updated to 10.12.4 when it came out on 3/27. I got into all this because I was getting notifications from the system that it hadn't been backed up in such and such a time. What happens is that when an update comes along, it's big, and the backup following installation is big, and it takes forever to complete. And I don't keep my system on all day, so it never completes, and has to restart the backup the next time I power up. And then it starts nagging me after a while.

    But my point is still valid, that there's something wrong with TM if it takes this long to do a backup. It's not a matter of just size. I could do a complete clone in, what, 30 minutes?
     
  11. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #11
    I suspect it's nothing to do with network speed, unless something ridiculous wrong.

    TM require to download data from your previous backup, find the changes, and then backup the required files.
    Since the backup is a very large image file, looking up thousands of small files inside a large file can be very slow (especially the backup drive is a HDD). It's a bit rare to see something like 19hours for just <4GB. But I guess since you can never finish the backup. Which makes the TM gets more and more work to do on the next backup, which eventually reach this state.

    Of course, it can also be something like that large image file is corrupted (or may be little bit damaged), which makes the HDD has to do lots of work (e.g. keep retrying to read required data), and which make it looks like the TM backup process require ridiculous amount of time.

    If I were you, I will do the following thing (in sequence)

    1) Give it a day to settle down

    2) If nil help (e.g. still no progress, or next back up is the same), I will stop using this backup. Start another new TM backup. Because this backup is effectively useless now, no point to use it. If the data inside the backup is important, or this is the sole backup. It's time to make sure you have another backup. Or at least copy that image file to another storage before you start another one.
     
  12. xflashx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    #12
    Well, I built my own time machine with a raspberry pi and it is nowhere as slow as you described. To back up 20 GB it takes two hours via wifi, so 5 gb shouldn't even be near an hour to backup. If nothing helps, make sure your devices are properly connected and have good signal strength. If necessary, delete your current backup, maybe something is messing around.

    One thing you can try is to open terminal and type in "sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0" and restart the backup, maybe this will help
     
  13. zarathu macrumors regular

    zarathu

    Joined:
    May 14, 2003
    #13
    I don't understand this fascination with using the hackable Cloud. When for about $55 at Walmart you can buy an un hackable 2 T hard drive running on a usb 3 connection, why would you waste time dealing with the hackable Cloud? The drive is tiny and weighs hardly anything. And when you need it, its right there with you.
     
  14. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    May 17, 2012
    #14
    So... now I have a 2017 MBP. It is running on 11ac to the same router/NAS pair that I wrote about before. (Asus AC3100 / 2TB WD MyCloud). There are 27GB to back up. It has taken TWO DAYS, so far, and the time calculator says there are still 12 hours remaining.

    2 and a half days to do a backup.

    This is not acceptable.

    Yes, this is my first backup with my new Mac. I know that takes a long time. And yes, yes, there is so much function needed to build these sparse bundles. But let's stop making excuses for a defective product, which Time Machine is. It is essentially USELESS if it takes 2 and a half DAYS to do ONE backup. That is absurd.

    I have tried a direct enet connect to the NAS, and there was NO DIFFERENCE.

    Maybe my NAS is slow. I don't know how to gauge that. But I suspect the problem isn't there. It's in Time Machine.

    What a joke. Except that it isn't funny.
     
  15. MRxROBOT macrumors 6502

    MRxROBOT

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    #15
    Yep! Time Machine is slow. This is because the OS puts a low priority on the task. However there is a way to temporarily resolve this (it will reset when you restart). I personally only use this on the initial backup as i don't find it as useful on the smaller incremental backups after. You may find It useful to use before each large backup as well.

    Open Terminal and enter,

    The above will not let Time Machine enter low priority and in turn really speeds things up.
     
  16. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    May 17, 2012
    #16
    Thank you. I'll try that.

    But the system ran overnight, unattended, twice, with nothing else running. Why wouldn't TM have been the top priority process running then? And I haven't been using the system much during the day so that it can churn away at the backup unimpeded.
     
  17. MRxROBOT macrumors 6502

    MRxROBOT

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    #17
    macOS will always tag Time Machine as low priority.
     
  18. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

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    Oregon
    #18
    Despite their manufacturers' insistence to the contrary, there are no non-Apple NAS devices that will reliably work with Time Machine. If you want to use your NAS device to back up your Mac's contents, then use a backup strategy other than Time Machine.

    See John Galt's reply
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/30726936#message30726936
     
  19. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Anyway, I did that command, and TM has sat at 12 hours to completion all day. Except when it went to 13 hours, and then back to 12, and then to 13 again, etc. Net, I have seen no improvement with this.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 11, 2017 ---
    I think you've taken that out of context. The OP said that TM couldn't see his backups from yesterday. That isn't my issue. My system can see the MyCloud fine. It just takes forEVER to do a backup.

    When I first got this system a few days ago, I did a restore of a prior TM backup from my old system using Migration Assistant. That was really slow, too, but it worked. So my NAS does work with TM, irrespective of what Mr. Galt says.
     
  20. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    So, my backup went from 12 hours left to Finishing Backup about an hour ago (directly, with no intermediate hours left statuses) and it's now in Cleaning Up.

    Such a wild and crazy guy, this Time Machine thing.

    But the good part about it taking so long is that once I get my system back from this interminable process, it's like getting a whole new system AGAIN. Every two days! Whoot whoot.

    Anyway, apart from that, I love my new MBP. I will suffer the slings and arrows of indignity that Time Machine slays me with to continue enjoying it. It is truly worth every last fercockt fershtinkiner.
     
  21. MRxROBOT macrumors 6502

    MRxROBOT

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    #21
    So it seems the terminal command did help! :)

    Glad it all worked out for you in the end.
     
  22. lockerc18 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #22
    And, after the backup finally finished... the system went right into ANOTHER backup. This one only took 4 hours. But they have stopped, for now.

    At least, with this new 2017 MBP, I won't have to worry about doing an initial backup for a new laptop for many years. Maybe Apple can fix this backup tyranny by then.
     
  23. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    Illinois
    #23
    I've found most inexpensive consumer NAS products to be incredibly slow for things like Time Machine and I suspect that is where your issue is. Doing a sequential write test isn't going to tell you anything about how Time Machine is going to perform.

    I back up multiple Macs over the network to a Mini running macOS Server and this has an Areca TB RAID connected that houses the Time Machine backups. I have no problems with backup performance and I get near 1Gb/s throughput during backups. The only time performance is impacted is when my rMBP backs up over wifi, that slows down Time Machine considerably. My early 2013 rMBP with File Vault enabled speeds right along when wired in, which it is 99% of the time.

    I've used multiple different NAS products, from inexpensive to high-end, and the inexpensive ones were always frustratingly slow.
     
  24. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #24
    That is not correct, TM does not read the actual files or bands from the last backup to compare to the current system to determine what to back up, that would be hugely inefficient and incredibly slow. Time Machine over a network doesn't write to a large file, either. A "sparsebundle" is not a file, it's a directory that contains data in "bands" and various plist files.

    macOS/OS X itself keeps track of what directories have been modified since the last backup so it knows exactly where to look for changes that need to be backed up. There is no need to read the contents of the sparsebundle to know what changed. This makes Time Machine relatively efficient in terms of knowing what to back up.

    What makes Time Machine inefficient over networks, specifically wifi, is that the bands within the sparsebundle are 8MB in size and wifi latency combined with writing a bunch of small files combined with a slow NAS/drive on the other end of the network makes for a very slow Time Machine backup.
     

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