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furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
I'm a bit stumped here regarding Time Machine as of late. Over the past few weeks, Time Machine backups have been taking hours for an hourly backup (and it's rarely anything more than a couple hundred MB), and it's been annoying, but didn't really think it was that big of a deal. Well, Time Machine has been stuck on "Preparing Backup" for well over a day, and I don't know how to fix it. I reinstalled the OS beforehand, I did the "trash the in progress file" trick several times, but it doesn't seem to fix any of this. Any ideas of what I should do to get Time Machine working back to the speed it's supposed to be going at? Thanks!
 
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furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
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South Florida
Update, it ended up backing it up, but took several days to update 13 GB. And I looked at the articles, but I don't seem to be finding anything that's helping. Maybe I'm looking at this wrong...
 

JohnDS

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2015
1,183
249
Are you backing up over wifi? If so, how close are you to the router? A weak wifi signal can slow down time machine backups.
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
Are you backing up over wifi? If so, how close are you to the router? A weak wifi signal can slow down time machine backups.

The Time Machine drive is hooked up via USB to my computer directly. WiFi shouldn't be an issue.
[doublepost=1467930481][/doublepost]Another update.

It seems like when I run Safari for a while, the "Indexing [My] Macbook" shows up on Spotlight, and it's always "Estimating Index Time". After I close it down, the bar disappears. I'm wondering if there's something I should do with my Safari in order to fix this issue.

Also, even after I shut Safari down, Time Machine speeds up copying, until it gets to those last 10-20 MB, and then takes hours and hours to finish up, to the point that it only is able to copy once or twice a day. Seems like everything is normal until it reaches that point.
 

JohnDS

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2015
1,183
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One possibility is that either your internal hard drive or the external drive is corrupted. Use Disk Utility to run Repair Disk on the external and Verify Disk on the internal.

If Disk Utility says both drives were okay, proceed as below:

Time Machine depends on the Spotlight index to work. If Spotlight is having difficulty indexing, Time Machine won't work. Your spotlight index file may be corrupted.

Shut off Time Machine temporarily, and then force spotlight to re-index as follows:

1. Open the Spotlight preferences and go to the Privacy tab. Click on the + button and add Macintosh HD (if that is the name of your drive) to the Privacy Tab.
2. Close the System Prefs.
3. Re-open the Spotlight prefs and use the minus button to remove MacIntosh HD from the privacy list.
4. Close System Prefs.

Spotlight should now start re-indexing. There should be a dot in the middle of the magnifying glass icon in the menubar.

Wait until Spotlight has completed indexing, then turn Time Machine back on and see if it does a proper backup.
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
One possibility is that either your internal hard drive or the external drive is corrupted. Use Disk Utility to run Repair Disk on the external and Verify Disk on the internal.

If Disk Utility says both drives were okay, proceed as below:

Time Machine depends on the Spotlight index to work. If Spotlight is having difficulty indexing, Time Machine won't work. Your spotlight index file may be corrupted.

Shut off Time Machine temporarily, and then force spotlight to re-index as follows:

1. Open the Spotlight preferences and go to the Privacy tab. Click on the + button and add Macintosh HD (if that is the name of your drive) to the Privacy Tab.
2. Close the System Prefs.
3. Re-open the Spotlight prefs and use the minus button to remove MacIntosh HD from the privacy list.
4. Close System Prefs.

Spotlight should now start re-indexing. There should be a dot in the middle of the magnifying glass icon in the menubar.

Wait until Spotlight has completed indexing, then turn Time Machine back on and see if it does a proper backup.

It's sorta working, but it's taking hours to days to index, and I only have about 100 GB of data, and there's no dot showing up. I wonder if I clean up my desktop, since it's pretty cluttered at the moment, or if I should take a bit more drastic measures.
 

JohnDS

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2015
1,183
249
Did you verify both disks with Disk Utility? Did Disk Utility give them both a clean bill of health?
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
Is the drive USB, USB2 or USB3? Have you tried a different cable?

I doubt it's the cable, since I've been using the same cable since before the trouble started and Time Machine was acting normally. I'm thinking I have a corrupted Spotlight since it's takes a day or two to index it.
 

MC6800

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2016
368
126
Have you looked in Console while it's running? It might be trying to tell you what's wrong.
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
Have you looked in Console while it's running? It might be trying to tell you what's wrong.

I seem to get a bunch of the following in there.

Code:
7/11/16 8:36:42.000 PM kernel[0]: SMC::smcReadKeyAction ERROR F1Mn kSMCBadArgumentError(0x89) fKeyHashTable=0x0xffffff803b813000
Code:
7/11/16 8:41:57.000 PM kernel[0]: SMC::smcReadKeyAction ERROR TC0D kSMCBadArgumentError(0x89) fKeyHashTable=0x0xffffff803b813000

Both of these messages repeat over and over every 5 seconds, with one coming after the other.

I also seem to have this each time I start a backup.

Code:
7/11/16 9:01:01.608 PM com.apple.backupd[53688]: Destination (TM hard drive) could not be found (url: (null) destinationID: D8CE26D5-BB24-4798-BF0E-7C76C3E7CA21)
Code:
7/11/16 9:01:01.610 PM com.apple.backupd[53688]: Backup failed with error 18: The backup disk could not be found.

Maybe that should clear up some issues I've been having as of late.
 
Last edited:

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
After some cleanup through Onyx, it's a little better, and the "Preparing Backup" phase seems to go as normal. Only problem is that the backup seems to stall for a few hours after reaching a certain point in the backup, and I suspect there's some type of bad file that's holding this up. Any idea of what this might be?
 

MC6800

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2016
368
126
I seem to get a bunch of the following in there.

Code:
7/11/16 8:36:42.000 PM kernel[0]: SMC::smcReadKeyAction ERROR F1Mn kSMCBadArgumentError(0x89) fKeyHashTable=0x0xffffff803b813000
Code:
7/11/16 8:41:57.000 PM kernel[0]: SMC::smcReadKeyAction ERROR TC0D kSMCBadArgumentError(0x89) fKeyHashTable=0x0xffffff803b813000

Both of these messages repeat over and over every 5 seconds, with one coming after the other.
The smcReadKeyAction error is unlikely to be related, as it's from the System Management Controller (fan and power). It's a known error, and probably due to incompatibility with some 3rd party utility such as iStat.

I also seem to have this each time I start a backup.

Code:
7/11/16 9:01:01.608 PM com.apple.backupd[53688]: Destination (TM hard drive) could not be found (url: (null) destinationID: D8CE26D5-BB24-4798-BF0E-7C76C3E7CA21)
Code:
7/11/16 9:01:01.610 PM com.apple.backupd[53688]: Backup failed with error 18: The backup disk could not be found.

Maybe that should clear up some issues I've been having as of late.

I see a similar message every half hour if the Time Machine drive is unplugged, but haven't seen it when starting a backup. You should be seeing "Starting automatic backup", "Backing up to ...", etc., ending with "Backup completed successfully.". If the drive's really not being found, I'd first try re-selecting it in the preference pane.

The external drive should be added to Spotlight's Privacy list so it doesn't try to index it. I haven't heard of a requirement for Spotlight to index the main drive for Time Machine's operation (though it's quite useful in its own right).
[doublepost=1469060521][/doublepost]
After some cleanup through Onyx, it's a little better, and the "Preparing Backup" phase seems to go as normal. Only problem is that the backup seems to stall for a few hours after reaching a certain point in the backup, and I suspect there's some type of bad file that's holding this up. Any idea of what this might be?

There's a way to see exactly what Time Machine's doing. Launch Terminal, stretch its window as wide as the screen, and copy and paste this command:

sudo fs_usage -w | grep backupd

Enter your password and it should list each file as it backs them up (a few lines per file). Type a Control-C to stop it.
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
The smcReadKeyAction error is unlikely to be related, as it's from the System Management Controller (fan and power). It's a known error, and probably due to incompatibility with some 3rd party utility such as iStat.

I have the iStat Pro widget installed, had it for years, but this issue has only really come up in the past few months. Maybe I should uninstall it and see if it helps?

I see a similar message every half hour if the Time Machine drive is unplugged, but haven't seen it when starting a backup. You should be seeing "Starting automatic backup", "Backing up to ...", etc., ending with "Backup completed successfully.". If the drive's really not being found, I'd first try re-selecting it in the preference pane.

The external drive should be added to Spotlight's Privacy list so it doesn't try to index it. I haven't heard of a requirement for Spotlight to index the main drive for Time Machine's operation (though it's quite useful in its own right).

So the hold up could be trying to index my clone drive as well?

There's a way to see exactly what Time Machine's doing. Launch Terminal, stretch its window as wide as the screen, and copy and paste this command:

sudo fs_usage -w | grep backupd

Enter your password and it should list each file as it backs them up (a few lines per file). Type a Control-C to stop it.

I'll try it next time there's a hold up on my Time Machine backup.
[doublepost=1469131159][/doublepost]Update, it appears that the problem is somewhat related to my Calendar Sync. Not the first time that thing has caused problems recently, since it's been taking sometimes 30 minutes or more for my calendars to sync with my iPhone and iPad via iTunes at some points. My "Calendar Sync Changes" folder contains nearly 200K items total. Should I delete the folder contents to speed things up?

Here's some code lines to get an idea of what's going on.

Code:
15:47:33.602645  getattrlist                            /Users/“Furcalchick”/Library/Calendars/Calendar Sync Changes/CEDB6440-A349-4C41-9F60-8E7F0FBAC6C2.tmp                                                                        0.803230 W backupd.577937
15:47:33.602769  getattrlist                            /Users/“Furcalchick”/Library/Calendars/Calendar Sync Changes/CEDB68D2-4925-4CCE-A546-D6F2376014DE.tmp                                                                        0.000116   backupd.577937
15:47:33.602836  getattrlist                            /Users/“Furcalchick”/Library/Calendars/Calendar Sync Changes/CEDBDC48-B012-4314-9A72-F3EBA80B9C82.tmp                                                                        0.000057   backupd.577937
15:47:33.623157    RdMeta[ST3]     D=0x000f1330  B=0x2000   /dev/disk0s2                                                                                                                                                      0.020212 W backupd.577937
15:47:34.606476    THROTTLED                                                                                                                                                                                                  0.983204 W backupd.577937
15:47:34.606477  getattrlist                            /Users/“Furcalchick”/Library/Calendars/Calendar Sync Changes/CEDBEA44-9990-4878-9680-A9BDDB0290C8.tmp                                                                        1.003640 W backupd.577937
15:47:34.638712    RdMeta[ST3]     D=0x000dc880  B=0x2000   /dev/disk0s2                                                                                                                                                      0.031890 W backupd.577937
15:47:35.410605    THROTTLED

Now to get it fixed up. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
 
Last edited:

MC6800

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2016
368
126
I have the iStat Pro widget installed, had it for years, but this issue has only really come up in the past few months. Maybe I should uninstall it and see if it helps?

You can google "smcReadKeyAction iStat" (without the quotes) and find others who have run into this. Apparently an OSX update broke it.

So the hold up could be trying to index my clone drive as well?
It's possible, and easy to set right anyway.

I'll try it next time there's a hold up on my Time Machine backup.
[doublepost=1469131159][/doublepost]Update, it appears that the problem is somewhat related to my Calendar Sync. Not the first time that thing has caused problems recently, since it's been taking sometimes 30 minutes or more for my calendars to sync with my iPhone and iPad via iTunes at some points. My "Calendar Sync Changes" folder contains nearly 200K items total. Should I delete the folder contents to speed things up?
Could be-- someone else (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3771745?tstart=0) had apparently deleted them successfully.[/QUOTE]
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
Another update.

Good news is that the last update only took two hours after I put that folder to exclude the "Calendar Sync Changes" folder (it was taking 4-6 hours before this).

Bad news is that there's another source of our slowdown. I have a google calendar updating and it has a couple thousand items on it (and I can't delete it right now, I need it), and it seems to be the other part of the slowdown. Any suggestions that involve not deleting said calendar from my Mac?

At least it's progress.
 

furcalchick

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Dec 19, 2006
2,424
4
South Florida
Down to half an hour to back up 120 MB. Still seems quite slow, but it's an improvement over six hours. I still think the calendar issues are the main issue, though.

Thanks for everyone's help!
 
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