We all know that Time Machine is a built-in backup mechanism available in Mac. Almost every Mac user relies on TM to preserve their data. It is an easy as well effective way to maintain data backup.
Time Machine facilitates enhanced data restoration i.e. when you need to restore specific file from TM backup, restoration of entire hard drive is not required. So, it is far better than other backup techniques like cloning or cloud storage.
All these assets go fruitless, if you fail at first step of Time Machine. If TM stuck at data backing process then what is the use of it? Yes, many Mac users have experienced this issue. Time Machine hangs at preparing backup phase and takes long time to finish/never start backup process.
Generally Time Machine takes long hours to backup data if,
- Mac drive is fairly large
- You are employing TM for the first time or after long period
- Running Time Machine after doing major modifications on drive
In all above cases you will experience delay in backup process. But, if you are facing Time Machine delay at all times or it permanently stuck at preparing backup point then really you have to do some troubleshooting.
So, how to solve this problem? Here is the answer.
- First check, whether or not Time Machine is really taking long time to backup. To do this,
- Go to System Preferences and open Time Machine
- You must see any one of these messages:
- Scanning xxx items
- Preparing xx items
- Preparing backup
- Observe the object count in message
If, count is growing then your TM is normal. The count should increase even if Time Machine works at lower speed. If the count remains fixed for more than half an hour then it indicates that TM is stuck. In your case, if you feel Time Machine is stuck then give another 30 minutes to ensure.
After above verification, if you feel Time Machine is not operating normally and it is stuck then solve the problem via these methods.
How to fix when Time machine stuck at preparing backup?
Stop current Time machine backup attempt.
Method 1: Sometimes, malware protection tool may interrupt TM. Few AV programs don’t allow Time Machine to backup specific disk volume. So, in that case eliminate Backups.backupdb folder of Time Machine backup volume from malware protection.
Method 2: Stop Spotlight from indexing TM backup volume, as it interrupts backup process. To do it,
- Open Spotlightand select Privacy
- Drag your Time Machine backup volume
- Drop it to un-index list
Or use mdutil -i off /Volumes/X command, where X is name of your Time Machine backup volume.
Method 3: Remove Time Machine place holder file
- Open Time Machine drive
- Go to backupdb folder
- Find the file having .inProgress extension
- Delete the file
- Reboot your Mac without detaching Time Machine drive
Time Machine’s catalog file gets corrupt due to abrupt shutdown/freezing of Mac, improper handling of external volumes etc. That is why, TM need new catalog file.
Time Machine creates this new file when you reboot the Mac whilst TM backup drive is connected. Thus, TM requests extended time to set up new catalog file and accomplish backup process. Once TM creates healthy catalog file then later backups will be normal.
Additional Info: Errors or issues crop up in TM lead to corruption of Time Machine backup. As a result, your TM backup may go missing or get delete. If you are one who is searching ways to recover lost/deleted TM backup then read the context here, which describes a proven and simple method.