I have an iMac11,2 running MacOS 10.8.5. Time Machine (TM) has made backup on a LaCie 320GB Firewire400 HDD for almost 2 years now. It stopped working 2 weeks ago, stuck on 'looking for drive'. My HDD is full, but I am quite sure it already deleted older backups successfully. I tried:

  • to connect a new external HDD (Seagate 2TB with USB cover) and switch TM to this, formatted in MacOS extended,journalized (no encryption);
  • to turn off TM, delete /System/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine.plist, turn on TM, reselect my disk; once again rebooting before turning on TM;
  • entered StarWars mode, copied com.apple.TimeMachine.plist from my last working backup to my internal HDD;
  • copied Backups.backupdb from the 320GB to the 2TB disk; I can enter StarWars mode and browse, but still the infinite 'looking for drive' message
  • checked the drive permissions: 320GB's Backups.backupdb is drwxr-xr-x+ root:staff. 2TB is similar due to the copy. I am currently changing the 2TB's Backups.backupdb persmissions to drwxrwxr-x+ root:staff recursively, but it takes some time, I will post the result later. Took the night to do that, still no luck.

Any ideas?

  • It is unclear exactly what you are asking. I would start by using Disk Utility to look at what is on your old HD. Assuming this is OK you should be able to copy to another HD.
    – Milliways
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 2:55
  • To clarify my comment above I suggest copying the partition. There are a number of hidden files in addition to Backups.backupdb
    – Milliways
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 3:32
  • @Milliways I can try that, but if the partition was corrupted, I will recopy the corruption... What I wanna try: erase the original 320GB and start over TM on it. If fails, upgrade to Maverick, maybe TM's settings get renewed?
    – m-ric
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 12:58
  • Disk Utility has options to Verify and Repair partitions
    – Milliways
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 21:51
  • verify found nothing wrong. Repaired anyway, no improvement
    – m-ric
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


Eventually upgraded from 10.8 to 10.10 (Apple having removed 10.9 from AppStore...). And Time Machine is now up and running. I'll never know what happened.

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