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Time Machine Backup Failure 10.6+


It’s been a few months since I originally posted this. The same thing has happened again. The quick solution — format the drive, start a fresh TM backup. Working again without any issues. Apple really needs to get on this. This problem seems to be happening in Snow Leopard Server 10.6.5 as well as 10.6.6.

Time Machine is unable to complete backup. For no apparent reason, Time Machine backups stop mid way through with an obscure error stating that it may be a temporary problem and to try again later.

Unfortunately, trying again later means you’re screwed and there is a problem that you should probably fix now.

Open the Console and browse the log for the TimeMachine backup error. Usually it’s a file that’s messing up the backup. In my case it kept stopping on some .AI or .PDF files. I deleted some, zipped some, it kept finding more and the backup kept failing.

Suggested fixes that failed for me but may work for you, including the one that finally worked for me:

  • Deleting preference files for time machine > fail
  • Deleting the .InProgress file located in the Backups.backupdb folder > fail
  • Repair Permissions > fail
  • Repair Time Machine disk > fail
  • Select a new external drive as Time Machine backup disk > fail
  • Select an internal drive as the Time Machine backup disk for shits and giggles > fail
  • Manually change permissions on Time Machine drive > fail
  • Repair Permissions again > fail
  • Disable Spotlight Indexing > fail
  • Re-enable Spotlight Indexing > fail
  • Plug the original drive back in, format it, make it the TM drive > success!

Many sites suggested deleting the files that are causing problems with the backup because obviously there is something wrong with those files. I would like to say something to those people… You are morons. What good is a backup if I can’t actually BACKUP all of my files? I checked the integrity of the files in question and they were all 100% fine. Idiots.

Error Message examples from Console:

10-11-29 11:14:48 PM com.apple.backupd[3927] Error: (-41) SrcErr:NO Copying /Volumes/WORK/CLIES/ILLUSTRATOR/layout3.ai to /Volumes/TIME MACHINE 2/.Trashes/501/2010-11-29-224534.inProgress/900105DA-1772-46B3-AB61-F3CD63A58619/WORK/CLIES/ILLUSTRATOR
10-11-29 11:14:48 PM com.apple.backupd[3927] Copy stage failed with error:11

One Response to “Time Machine Backup Failure 10.6+”

  1. Ed Eastridge says:

    Check this site out for the Error -41… seems to have a lot of help and maybe some answers…


    I’m getting ready to go through this myself.

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