I use two separate backup drives to backup my iMac and MacBook. I call one drive Time Machine and the other drive Mobile. On Mobile, it shows a folder called Backups.backupdb and inside it has a folder for the iMac and the Macbook. On the Time Machine drive it has the same folder but it is greyed out. When I click on it to try and verify the two folders inside of it, nothing happens. Any thoughts on why this is happening?


2 Answers 2


This is a time machine backup that never completed. The only way to get rid of it is to use Disk Utility and erase the drive and reformat it. Sorry.

  • Ok, I will reformat. Once I do, can I copy the backups from the Mobile drive over to the Time Machine drive? I would like the redundancy in the backup files if possible. Or do my computers associate these files to a specific drive, and perhaps I will cause problems by trying to copy them from one drive to another?
    – PioneerMan
    Oct 22, 2012 at 14:07
  • External drives strip permissions, so there should be no issues. However, the time machine backups carry permissions. SO you can move TO the TM drive. BUT not FROM the TM backups without potential data loss. Oct 22, 2012 at 14:09
  • @PioneerMan Copying Time Machine backups usually ends in tears (of frustration). Since you already have a usable backup on "Mobile", do as Tony Tellez says and erase the drive called "Time Machine" and start again.
    – Gilby
    Aug 6, 2021 at 5:33

Tony's answer isn't helpful for me so I’ll and provide another one.

You don't have to delete it. You only have to change the creation date. The Mac changes folders to a very specific date during certain operations in order to tell other applications not to modify the folder. If the original operation fails sometimes the date is not properly set back. Fixing this is most easily accomplished by using the terminal. A command such as

SetFile -d "$(date)" *name_of_folder* 

will fix it. I suspect this requires installing the extra command line tools from Apple but I don't have a fresh Mac to test that with.

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