Time machine takes FOREVER to backup....

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mr.stinki, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. mr.stinki macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #1
    I keep my time machine HD unplugged from my laptop to reduce the clutter, when i plug it in, time machine starts automatically backing up. It says "Preparing Backup..." and it stays like that for a while. I've had it like that for about 15 minutes.


    Why does this happen, and how can i fix this?
     
  2. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #2
    have you done your initial backup? this will take a while as its backing up your whole computer.

    if so Time Machine is probably just doing a deep traversal of your backups because it may have been interrupted. just leave it over night at it should stop preparing and do a backup.
     
  3. mr.stinki thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    This isn't my initial backup. It just does this sometimes. I haven't backed up in about 9 hours though...
     
  4. creator2456 macrumors 68000

    creator2456

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    #4
    That may be why. TM does hourly backups of any file that has changed since the previous one. By you not allowing this for an extended period of time, you are lengthening the amount of time it will take to backup.
     
  5. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #5
    There is nothing that _you_ can do about it. Maybe Apple can do something, but I'm not too sure.

    Let me explain what happens: When Time Machine starts backing up, it has to know what has changed between the last backup and now. To help doing that, MacOS X keeps track of every folder that is modified. It could keep track of every single file that is changed, but it doesn't because that would be too much information and gathering that information would slow down your normal work.

    So when you start the backup, Time Machine has a complete list of all folders that contain changes. It then checks every file in each of these folders to see whether they have changed or not. For people doing hourly backups, they usually haven't changed many folders so this is quick; the more you have changed, the more work it is and the longer it takes.

    I would hope that Apple puts an engineer or two on the job and tries to make it faster. What doesn't help that as you describe it, you plug the hard drive in and then wait for the backup to finish (I do the same thing); someone using Time Capsule for example or using Time Machine with their desktop computer and a backup drive permanently plugged in wouldn't even notice, even though it takes exactly the same time.
     
  6. valdore macrumors 65816

    valdore

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    #6
    This exact problem has started for my Mac Pro Clovertown-8 core immediately after the damned 10.5.6 update. I never had this problem before.

    The external drive stays plugged into the back via USB at all times as well.

    I've booted from the Leopard Install and repaired permissions, this and that... still seems to be "Preparing for Backup" for a highly excessive amount of time.
     
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #7
    That's nothing. I started the backup process around 6:00, and it's now 7:17 and I've only backed up 214 KB of 1.11 GB. Don't ask me why there's so much to backup either, I just restored OS X from time machine a few hours ago.
     
  8. junker macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #8
    THAT'S nothing... I started around 10:00 pm last night. As I write this, (13 hours later) I am still waiting on it to finish. Granted, it says my last back up wasn't since dec. 16th but I thought I had done it since then...but even still, just how slow is USB 2? Sheesh!!!

    It seems to be stuck however... I woke up at 8:30 this morning and it's still at the same number: "Backing up 26.3 GB of 37.6 GB" It's been at 26.3 for about 2.5 hours now....

    Should I be concerned?
     
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #9
    Why: 1. Because your Mac has to figure out all the changes that were made since you last plugged it in, which might be a lot. If you have the Mac connected all the time, each "preparing backup" only needs to check for things changed in the last hour, which is obviously a lot quicker. 2. I think Time Machine tries to not use your machine too hard, so that other work you do doesn't suffer. I'd say they might have got the balance wrong. 3. If your hard drive is full, Time Machine spends time deleting older backups as well.

    What can you do: Are there folders that don't ever need backing up? You can exclude them from backups. Apart from that, not much. If you develop software and download new XCode versions, don't back up your "Developer" folder, because it takes ages and you can always recover it (just don't delete the last installer).
     
  10. mkaake macrumors 65816

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    mi
    #10


    THAT's nothing - my Time Machine has been preparing it's last backup since 1/16!

    Of course, I have stopped it a few times, and done tons o trouble shooting on my time capsule, and still can't get past 'Preparing Backup', even if I leave it alone for 2 days (yes, I've tried). The only thing left to do is to erase my time capsule and start over - which seems kind of counter to the entire point of buying a time capsule (but I digress).
     
  11. junker macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #11
    Yeah, I've pretty much done the same thing (minus the time capsule) And I started to wonder if I should just wipe it (the back up file) and just start over.

    As I write this, it still hasn't moved any further. (backing up 26.3gb of 37.6)

    I may wait and see a few more hours.
     
  12. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    AR
    #12
    Awwww, yes. The infamous Time Capsule. Probably the worst piece of Apple hardware I've ever owned.

    I hate mine. It's slow. It does what yours is doing every few weeks or so, and I've had to erase it twice over the past few months because it became corrupt.

    I don't store anything on the actual Time Capsule internal disk anymore. I have a 1TB external USB drive connected to it that stores my Time Machine backups and other additional files.

    At least if the external drive becomes corrupt, I can plug it into my MacBook and run Disk Utility on it.
     
  13. junker macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #13
    Ok, it's 2:17 pm - no change in the amount... I'm going to stop it from backing up and just wipe it.... friggin' ridiculous and severely pointless function of backing up.
     
  14. junker macrumors 6502

    junker

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    #14
    Man, what a pain! I tried to stop it jsut after my last post....it's still stopping!!!

    Ugh. I hate that I may just have to literally pull the plug....I'm sure it will really LOVE that.

    Then I'll wipe it I guess... anyone ever had this issue?
     
  15. dinaluvsApple macrumors regular

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    Oct 14, 2008
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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #15
    what does TM even do?

    ive seen a folder called backup on my external harddrive.
     
  16. sutom macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2008
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    UK
    #16
    Errr...has anyone here used Microsoft SyncToy 2.0 for Windows (or similar), and if so do you know if Time Machine can do an "Echo" backup like SyncToy can?

    I'm getting a Mac soon, and plan to use TM, but I keep reading stuff like this about TM being slow, and not being very efficient with space etc. I've been using ST on Windows to backup My Documents, and it can be set to just copy changes/renames/new files and folders and copy any deletions - so the backup on my external drive is only ever as big as the original My Documents (about 30GB atm). And it only takes a few minutes each time.

    Admittedly I haven't used it yet, but TM seems to require huge backup drives and takes hours/days to do backups! Can it be set to just keep one backup of everything, and not multiple ones?
     
  17. creator2456 macrumors 68000

    creator2456

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    #17
    TM takes time to do the initial backup since it is copying all the files. The subsequent backups only store the changes made on the drive.
     
  18. MooneyFlyer macrumors 65816

    MooneyFlyer

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    #18

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