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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Time Machine backs up everything every hour!


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PeterSG

 
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In recent weeks Time Machine started "Calculating Changes" and "Preparing Items" in a repetitive manner and taking excessive time to complete. A backup now takes about 40 minutes. Therefore, the next backup is scheduled for about 20 minutes after the current one finishes.

This behavior started about a month ago. I have not changed my usage of the Mac.

Time Machine selects about 8,000 during the "Prepares Items" process. Then it writes about 200 MB.

Then it repeats those same steps and selects about 7,800 items. It then appears to write 200 MB.

I use Snow Leopard. I was using a La Cie 500GB drive. Thinking it was going bad, I purchased a Seagate 500 GB external drive. The backup operates exactly the same on both drives.

If I take a backup and then do not use my Mac at all, the next backup operates exactly the same way -- that is, by selecting about 8,000 items and so on.

Why does Time Machine appear to be backing up all or many of my files each time -- even when I don't use the Mac or use it only to read news sites?

Thank you very much for any suggestions.
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chscag

 
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It's not backing everything up. You said it yourself that it writes about 200 MB. That certainly is not a full backup unless you're using a hard drive from 1990. However, what Time Machine is doing is "looking" at all your files to see what has changed and therefore should be included in the backup. The more data you have, the longer it's going to take.

Why do you need to backup every 60 minutes anyway? Just backup once a day in the evening when you're sleeping or the machine is idle. Download the free Time Machine Scheduler and use it to set a more realistic interval.
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PeterSG

 
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Thank you chscag!

Before about a month ago, this Mac was executing its backup in less than 3 minutes.

Without changing my usage pattern or any hardware or software, it is now taking 40 minutes.

The "looking" for file process used to take less than 1/2 a minute and selected about 20 to 60 items. That same process now takes about 5 minutes and selects about 8,000 items.

It appears to not be seeing the fact that most files have not been changed since the last backup.

Also, even when there has been no usage of the Mac, it still selects about 8,000 items and the backup takes about 40 minutes.

Could Time Machine not be seeing its "no change to this file" tag?

Thanks for your suggestion to use the re-scheduler.
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Several things could cause that to happen: Your internal hard drive may be getting full (around 70% or more) or you have a lot of fragmentation.

When the internal hard drive starts to fill up on a Mac, fragmentation likewise starts to occur. Normally it's not a problem on a drive with a lot of free space.

If your internal hard drive still has lots of room, and as you say this just began to happen... have you recently installed any new programs or done any updates, like to OS X?
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PeterSG

 
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Thank you for more good thoughts.

My internal hard drive has about 185 GB used out of 250 GB total capacity.

I accept all updates from Apple. The last update was about a week ago. I am running OS 10.6.8.

Is there a parameter in the Mac's config file that may not be set to "Update only changed files" for Time Machine?

If so, how can I reset that parameter to "Update only changed files"?

Thank you.
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Quote:
Is there a parameter in the Mac's config file that may not be set to "Update only changed files" for Time Machine?
Not that I know of. It does it automatically. One thing you can try but it may be a bit drastic though, is to wipe out the backup drive and start over again to see if that makes a difference. Or, have you tried that already when you purchased the new drive?
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Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Not that I know of. It does it automatically. One thing you can try but it may be a bit drastic though, is to wipe out the backup drive and start over again to see if that makes a difference. Or, have you tried that already when you purchased the new drive?
~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you.

I just bought a new, formatted for Time Machine, Seagate 500 GB drive a few days ago.

I do appreciate any ideas of why after 2-1/2 years using the La Cie 500GB drive, and now the Seagate, this might suddenly happen.
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I'll keep at it. One of our members "Slydude" is our expert on Time Machine as he has done some tutorials on it for a column he writes. I'll try to point him to this thread and see if he can come up some answers for you. Don't give up yet.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
I'll keep at it. One of our members "Slydude" is our expert on Time Machine as he has done some tutorials on it for a column he writes. I'll try to point him to this thread and see if he can come up some answers for you. Don't give up yet.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I read the thread right before getting your PM. At the moment I am a bit flummoxed myself. I would have suggested deleting the old backup and starting over but it appears the OP has done that already.

I'll do a bit of poking around and see what I can find out. We all know how much I hate to say "I don't know".

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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@OP I know you mentioned that you have not changed you usage habits recently. Are you running any antivirus software or virtualization software (Fusion, Parallels, etc)?

BTW If you open Console in your Utilities folder and look at the System log does it show anything unusual? There will be a lot of messages there and they are time-stamped. Take a look at the time period from a minute or two before Time Machine is preparing the backup until the period after it completes. Are any errors reported?

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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PeterSG

 
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Hello Slydude & thanks for pursuing this dilemma.

I have run Parallels ever since I got this Mac. I checked Parallels' version 7 parameter under its Virtual Machine menu. There I verified that the box to "Do Not backup Parallels" is checked to prevent that from happening.

I have used McAfee anti-virus under the Windows 7 for the last 11 months.
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Is it possible that McAfee is somehow set to scan the drive that you use for Time Machine? If so, try excluding that from scanning. Just in case Time Machine is ignoring the Parallels setting go into the Time machine preference pane and exclude Parallels from there. Be sure to exclude the folder that houses the virtual machined. I doubt it is necessary to exclude the Parallels app.

I have seen some reports that this can cause problems. The reports in question were not specific about whether the drive was being scanned by Mac virus software or Windows virus software,

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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PeterSG

 
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Yesterday I used the Option button on Time Machine to de-select Parallels. Then I ran Time Machine. The results, file counts and time taken, were exactly the same as before excluding Parallels. (About 8,000 items.)

A few days ago I shut down McAfee but got the same results.

Today I shut down McAfee again just to learn what might happen after doing this again. I got the same results.

My latest Time Machine backups displayed:

Preparing items: 8,080 items
Backing up: 416.4MB
Backing up: 149.3 MB
Finishing Took 4 minutes
Cleaning up Took 6 minutes.
Total elapsed time = 32 minutes.

Several times I have run Time Machine, either by allowing it to start itself automatically or initiated by me, the results are exactly the same in elapsed time and item count.

This is getting interesting but I bet we all wish it were resolved.
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Have a look at this for some ideas on possible causes and fixes Time Machine - Troubleshooting D1. Stuck in "Preparing" or "Calculating changes". Unless my old eyes deceive me there may be a few things there we have not tried yet.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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PeterSG

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
Have a look at this for some ideas on possible causes and fixes Time Machine - Troubleshooting D1. Stuck in "Preparing" or "Calculating changes". Unless my old eyes deceive me there may be a few things there we have not tried yet.
~~~~~

WOW and Thank you!

I will use the suggestions on the page you were good enough to link.

Please allow me some extra hours today.

Sincerely,
Peter
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