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  1. #1

    Member Since
    May 19, 2013
    Very slow initial time machine backup (other solutions haven't worked yet)
    Hi everyone, new here. I've got an old Macbook that I've tried to back up using time machine several times over the years and never had success. This time it seems the closest to working but is running just so slow. The Time Machine initial backup seems to be transferring at a rate around 1 to 2 MB/second (3 GB per hour). Is this normal? At this rate, I estimate it taking 36 hours to transfer my full 107 GB.

    I've read a lot of these posts but can't seem to make it go faster and hope someone might have a suggestion for me?

    Here are my specs:
    - Macbook 10.5.8, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    - USB High-Speed Bus (with speed up to 480 Mb/s)
    - All software up-to-date
    - Trying to save onto WD My Passport that is USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible (only USB port, no option of ethernet)

    What I've tried so far:

    - Came formatted for Windows, so I formatted/partitioned it (into 2 partitions). Set Partition Map Scheme to GUID Partition Table and Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). I also erased the partitions to make sure they were empty.

    - Quit all other programs that were running (including what I could see on Activity Monitor). Disabled Spotlight. I don't have an antivirus program installed.

    - Tried transferring files manually to see if it was a hard drive problem. When I copied and pasted folders into the external drive, it was able to do it at a speed of around 30 MB/s. I emptied the drive and tried again on time machine, but still here only got 1 MB/s.

    - Also tried excluding system files from time machine to see if it was just these that were taking so long, but even my documents/pictures go at the same slow speed.

    - Saw that the USB port that it was using was being shared with iSight, so changed it to the other port in case that would make a difference. It didn't.

    - Monitored console and saw that it kept getting an I/O Warning about some ArcSoft software that I didn't even know was on my computer. I got rid of this and the warning stopped, but didn't speed up the transfer.

    - I also tried to just accept that it was slow and have it run overnight to see how far it would get, but over night it quit working ("Unable to complete backup. An error occurred while copying files to the backup volume"). I found the file in Console that it listed as "Could not scan" (it was in the library/websever/) and so I have now excluded this folder from Time Machine. Haven't run it long enough to tell if other files will make it quit.

    I understand that initial backups are slow, but several days is more than I expected (or can afford to go without computer - I'm a student and it's finals time) and wanted to just see if anyone had any other ideas for how to speed it up.

    Thanks for taking time to read/help! I really appreciate it.

  2. #2

    RavingMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2008
    In Denial
    4GB Mac Mini 2012, 13" MBA, 15" MacBook Pro OSX 10.7, 32 GB iPhone 3GS, iPad2 64gb 3G
    I would download and try Carbon Copy Cloner
    Carbon Copy Cloner - Download

    Or Super Duper
    SuperDuper for Mac - CNET
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  3. #3

    Member Since
    May 19, 2013
    Thanks for the tip! I'll check out these programs, sounds like using an alternative might just be what I need.

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Before doing anything else, I would run a verify and repair on your internal hard drive on the MacBook. Chances are if Time Machine is taking that long, there are either bad sectors on the internal hard drive or errors. Cloning software will be somewhat faster, but if the drive has errors, they'll also run slow.

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