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Time  Machine  -  Troubleshooting

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This topic provides some troubleshooting tips for common Time Machine errors and problems.

It does not cover most problems specific to Time Capsules or other wireless backups.  See Using Time Machine with a Time Capsule,  and/or Apple’s Time Capsule forum,  in the wireless section.

Nor does it include general information about Time Machine. For that, see Time Machine - Frequently Asked Questions.


  A1.  Time Machine Buddy widget

  A2.  Time Tracker and/or Backup Loupe

  A3.  Tinker Tool

  A4.  Full Reset of Time Machine

  A5.  How to Repair or Verify Disk

  A6.  Common Backup Messages

  A7.  How to Navigate to a file

  A8.  Changing the maximum size or case-sensitivity of a sparse bundle

  A9.  Information needed to diagnose a problem

A10.  Deleting an "inProgress" package

A11.  Navigating to your backups via the Finder

Section B.  SET - UP  PROBLEMS

B1.  I can't select my drive for use with Time Machine

B2.  The Select Disk button doesn't work

B3.  No oldest or latest backup date shown

B4.  Wrong icon shown for TM drive/partition

B5.  Would you like to inherit (or re-use) the Backup . . .?

B6.  "Reconnecting" to your backups


C1.  Initial Backup Failed

C2.  Other Backup Fails

C3.  ". . . an error occurred while copying files . . . "

     or "Aborting backup because indexing a file failed"

C4.  "The backup disk is full" or ". . . almost full" or "This backup is too large . . ."

C5.  "You do not have appropriate . . . privileges to save file ".<nnnnnnn>" in folder <TM drive >"

C6.  "The backup volume is read only."

C7.  "Error (12): Link of previous volume failed."

C8.  Backup fails after Logic Board replacement.

C9.  "The back-up disk image could not be created."

C10.  "Error: (-50) Creating directory" or "error ... while creating the backup folder."

C11.  Drive does not appear to be the correct backup volume for this computer (Cookies do not match).

C12. "The Backup disk image ... sparsebundle ... is already in use."

C13. " . . . Time Machine must create a new backup for you."

C14.  "Backup volume could not be mounted."

C15.  "The identity of the backup disk has changed ..."

C16.  "The network backup disk does not support the required AFP features."

C17.  " . . . sparse bundle could not be accessed (error -1)"

C18.  ". . . ran out of space unexpectedly"

C19.  "Backup delayed" or "The backup disk is not available"


D1.  Stuck in "Preparing" or "Calculating changes"

D2.  Backup is slow or seems "hung"

D3.  TM is doing a full backup for no good reason

D4.  My backups seem too large

D5.  Backups seem to run ok, but nothing gets backed-up

D6.  How to Cancel a Backup, or if it won't cancel

D7.  All Backups are Full Backups

D8.  Some Applications that may cause problems

D9.  Amount to be backed-up changes or doesn't match actual

D10. Applications, Library, and/or System folders not backed-up, or periodic large backups


E1.  Backups were deleted unexpectedly

E2.  I can't see some backups

E3.  I can't see or restore from backups for a disk/partition that's no longer connected

E4.  Time Machine "Star Wars" won't display properly, or crashes

E5.  Can’t Restore from Address Book

E6.  Can't empty the trash after deleting backups via the Finder

E7.  TM won't restore some files: names / capitalization

E8.  After a full restore, Mac won't start up, or kernel panics.

E9.  Permissions problems restoring iPhoto Library

E10. Permissions problems restoring folder contents

E11. Can't see old backups via Mail (on Mountain Lion)

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