Friday, June 12, 2015

Why I Don’t Rely on Time Machine

Joe Kissell:

A couple of weeks ago, not long before my new book was published, Time Machine displayed the following helpful error message on my Mac: “Time Machine couldn’t complete the backup to ‘Backup Drive’. Unable to compete backup. An error occurred while creating the backup folder.”


When my backups become suddenly inaccessible for unknown reasons and I’m offered no solution but starting over, that sort of diminishes my faith in the software.

Then yesterday, Morgen’s laptop, which backs up to a completely different destination (a Time Capsule), displayed yet another error message: “Time Machine completed a verification of your backups on ‘Zora’. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you. Click Start New Backup to create a new backup. This will remove your existing backup history. This could take several hours. Click Back Up Later to be reminded tomorrow. Time Machine won’t perform backups during this time.”

I’ve encountered both of these errors, the first one with probably 10 different backup destinations, so I don’t think it can be blamed on hardware.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Until Apple gets a new file system I suspect these problems will continue. The problems of HFS+, even with Apple's improvements over the years, are well known.

"Until Apple gets a new file system I suspect these problems will continue."

FWIW, I'm that guy who's still on Snowy, and I've been using Time Machine on a very regular basis, (along with clones, of course), from multiple Snowy machines, with the destination of an OS X rig over AFP, (since best practices seem to indicate that's the most reliable destination), and I've never had a single issue with backup integrity or restoration in five years. (And I've done partial restores from the starfield, partial restores manually, and full restores from Migration Assistant.)

I'm well aware that a very large percentage of knowledgeable Apple users have experienced extremely flaky behavior with Time Machine. But I somehow guess that I'm not nearly alone in running problem free among the (now tiny) subset of Snowy users going to an OS X rig over AFP.

If my guess is correct, (and it might not be), it means Apple can get Time Machine to work, but the issues over the past few years are about the flakiness in OS X starting with Lion. (And the eternal super-flakiness of Time Capsules.)

Keith Flanagan

DiskWarrior to the rescue. It will fix the ills of your Time Machine drive.

I have seen the second error on when using OS X Server (Yosemite) as a backup server for other Macs (also on Yosemite).

Leave a Comment