Why is my Time Machine backup so slow?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by TotoroRecall, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. TotoroRecall macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2014
    I'm on Mavericks, Macbook Pro mid 2010. I recently had to have Apple do a wipe and clean install to solve some bugginess I'm still not sure of. After I got the laptop back, I wanted to re-backup on Time Machine. However, I cannot seem to do it. The furthest I got was 2-3 hours later, it was about 1/4 complete (and then it stopped because I had to move to a different room and unplugged the charger, and now apparently it has to start all over).

    I tried to do the restart in Safe Mode, login, restart in normal mode trick that I saw on the forums, but now Time Machine is somehow even slower. It was stuck on 22 KB for a while, so I tried to eject my external HD and start over, and now it's been "preparing backup..." for 10 minutes. It's done this about 5 times tonight and I'm about to go insane.

    (I did do another backup with another HD with Carbon Copy Cloner, which took about 1.5 hours, but I would still like to have a Time Machine backup as well in case for some reason I need to have another clean install).
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Depending on how much data you have, that first TM backup can be slow. You are getting that "preparing...." business now because you stopped half way through so now TM needs to recalculate what needs to be backed up.

    Here is what I suggest. Turn off Time Machine then follow this.

    1. Do a command-r boot to recovery and from there use Disk Util to do a repair disk just to make sure there are no disk errors. Reboot when done.

    2. Open Terminal and run the command below to reindex Spotlight. TM uses the Spotlight index to help ID what gets backed up. Wait until the reindex finishes.

    sudo mdutil -E /
    3. Completely erase the TM destination disk in Mac OS Extended format.

    Now go back to TM and turn it back on and select the drive then just wait until it finishes.
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Are you doing this through wifi? I suggest connect a cable and leave it running overnight whilst you are sleeping. Should be done by the morning.
  4. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    I would look into formatting the backup disk with Disk Utility. If using a Time Capsule, this can be done within AirPort Utility.

    Then turn off Time Machine and then reenable it to the new drive location.
  5. TotoroRecall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2014
    I finally got a backup done. I ran disk utility >> repair disk >> on my external, and then did what Weaselboy said about re-indexing. Those two in conjunction seemed to at least make one back-up possible, and the one I tried an hour later only needed to back up 20 GB and completed it fairly quickly.
  6. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    As posted, initial TM backups take longest. Once the first one is done, subsequent backups will be fairly quick. I have a 3TB fusion drive in my iMac. After a clean install I just let it run overnight.
  7. roblogic1 macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2014
    Thanks Weaselboy!. I solved it following your 1 and 2 steps. I had no need for the third.:)
  8. Questor3 macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2015
    Weaselboy, thumbs up!

    I did the same and you solved my problem!

    I wasn't quite sure how to do step 3, but 1 and 2 seemed to do the trick, thanks!

  9. XavierCarrel macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2011
    I started WeaselBoy's procedure. While I was in the Disk Utility, I thought that I might as well check my external backup drive. Turned out that the check was dead slow too !
    After fidgeting around a bit, I unplugged my external drive from the USB hub and plugged it directly in a USB port of my Mac and BOOOM, both checkdisk and time machine worked just fine.
    Thought it might help

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8 March 6, 2014