Time machine keeps daily snapshot for past month and hourly for the last 24 hours.

My question - I am only seeing backups at the rate of anywhere from 3-6 per day. Looking at the TM folder I see this -

enter image description here

3 backups yesterday, 6 the day before. We are 8 hours into the new day, and no backup has completed yet.

I am running 10.6.8 on a 12 core MacPro. The only BU is for the main drive, a 512GB SSD with only 52GB of capacity used.

  • Is it normal for the backs to take so long?
  • Is there anything I can do to speed this up?

For what it's worth, I rebooted after posting (6 hours ago) and told time machine to start a backup. It still shows "indexing" after 6 hours.

New Edit - After posting the above, backups continued to take a few hours, so I still saw a few per day. As of now, no backup has completed in 48 hours. Still hoping for a way to troubleshoot this. Even wiping the backup and starting fresh would be ok, but I'm not confident the problem won't reappear.


After searching, I've found that generally, even though this is the stated timing

enter image description here

the best you are likely to see is every 2-3 hours for this size drive. Sometimes a backup will stall, and the software will restart, so I have a few daily backups remaining that time stamp as late as 6 am, showing there was at least a 6 hour gap.

That said, I have a second MacPro, running Yosemite, same 50GB used, and its backups are every hour, like clockwork.

  • 1
    Search for backupd in the console.app - look in /var/log/system.log and you can see when a backup takes more than an hour to complete. If you want to narrow down a specific folder, you can use Time Machine preferences to exclude some folders and then see if they are busy or changing too often. Once you've done the math - if you actually have more data than can physically be copied in an hour - getting a faster drive or just knowing that everything is explained might help.
    – bmike
    Jul 9 '16 at 18:28
  • Much thanks, the best I can find is a line "Jul 11 09:04:13 MacPro12 com.apple.backupd[54595]: Copied 4954 files (1.7 GB) from volume Newton SSD." which seems like a huge change of data, given that I wasn't on the computer at this time, and much of the data that changes is not on the startup drive. eg, my dropbox, evernote, etc, are all linked to a spinning drive, the boot drive is the SSD. Jul 11 '16 at 17:37

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