Yesterday I mentioned about different backing up methods, I talked about Time Machine as a good, first, solution to peoples needs. It turns out that I have been a little lax in keeping my Time Machine backup up to date. I turned it on this afternoon and to my horror nothing would backup. It would run for about ten minutes then produce an error. I then did a little digging and came up with a solution that will probably help a lot of people. This tip may not work for every one but it may send you on your way.
I mentioned in my Noob2Pro series about troubleshooting problems, it was mostly designed for application that are playing up. It did, however give me an idea and search for the exact cause to why Time Machine wasn’t backing up my files. The first step in finding a solution is to open up Console, this is located in your Utilities folder.
In the console open up the system log located in LOG FILES > /var/log/ . It should be named “system.log” and depending on the age of your system other log files named “system.log.x.bz2” when x is a number. Open this log file and scroll all the way down to the bottom. Quite a lot of the text may not mean anything to you, however we are about to generate some text specifically for Time Machine and hopefully locate your problem.
Now you are at the bottom of the log file, start Time Machine. This quickest way to do this is from the menu bar option. When it starts, the log file should start to populate and you should see text being entered at the bottom. Leave console and Time Machine running. When Time Machine has a problem it will be reported to the console. You can now inspect what the problem is as shown in the image below.
It turns out in my case that a could of files where not being copied across, i’m not sure the full reason behind it but it would cause Time Machine to quit. I simply deleted the files (it was an application) and Time Machine worked.
It may not be as simple in your case, however the Console will report pretty much all errors. Depending on what is written you may need to take a different course of action. However it doesn’t help to look and see what has been written.