When backups go bad: The problem with using network drives with Time Machine

Everyone needs to backup their data. No matter what’s on your Mac, if you lose files, you’ll be in a pickle. You may be able to work solely in the cloud, using services such as Dropbox, Google Docs, or Microsoft Office, but there are still essential files on your Mac.

Kirk’s first law of data protection is this: “It’s not a question of whether your hard drive will fail, but when.” If you’re lucky, and if you upgrade your computers frequently enough, you may never see disk failure, but trust me: it eventually happens.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

3 thoughts on “When backups go bad: The problem with using network drives with Time Machine

  1. While the hardware failures that Kirk talks about in the second paragraph are ultimately inevitable, isn’t it true that the issues which the rest of the article focuses on are primarily software errors? If so, then Apple has more options, and greater responsibility for avoiding, detecting, and correcting software issues, before they lead to complete loss of data. DiskWarrior used to almost choke on Time Machine volumes, but in the more recent versions, it handles them at reasonable speed. It generally reports repairing errors. For something a critical as backups, Time Machine or another Apple utility ought to check and repair the volumes automatically, on a frequent basis.

    • I’ve never tried using DW with a sparseimage; I’m not sure it can work with one. I have used it, in the past, with physical TM volumes, and, as you say, it was excruciating slow, but it worked.

  2. There are a few, mostly old, articles about repairing Time Machine disks, sparse-images or sparse-bundles using DiskWarrior. DW’s maker Alsoft doesn’t mention it, as far as I could see. The 2015 article linked below offers a set of three Terminal commands, which the author, Joe Auty, says will repair some sparsebundle Time Machine disk problems, including the “must start a new backup” issue. He mentions that DiskWarrior can also be used to repair Time Machine sparsebundle issues.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.