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How to Fix Time Machine Backup Failures and Errors

Jul. 01, 2015 18:32 pm / Posted by Jerry Cook to Data Recovery on Mac
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For Mac OS X users, Time Machine is not strange. It is a backup software application that keeps a copy of all your files, and allows you to restore the whole system or specific files whenever you need. Recently, however, we found that many users are discussing on forums about Time Machine backup error and failure. Are you wondering why Time Machine failed to backup? This article contains answers to many common issues about Time Machine backup and troubleshoots to alert messages while time machine could not complete the backup.

Troubleshooting-Time Machine Failed to Complete Backup

Solution to First Backup Failure
Solutions to Specific Alert Messages When Time Machine Failed to Complete the Backup

Tip: If you lost files due to backup failure, Any Data Recovery for Mac can help you recover with no worries. It supports to recover videos, photos, documents, app data and more after deletion or format.

Solution to First Backup Failure

If this is your first backup, or the first time to a new external drive/partition, the most common cause might be that the drive has not been formatted properly. Follow the steps to set up using Disk Utility.

If Time Machine is still unable to complete a backup, please note the alert message it sends. If you missed it, you can open Time Machine preferences, and click the red "I" icon for more info.

alert message when time machine fails to backup

Solutions to Specific Alert Messages When Time Machine Failed to Complete the Backup

Regardless of what warning message it appears, firstly you should make sure your software is up-to-date.

Messages you may receive while Time Machine failing to complete a backup:

The backup volume is read only
Time Machine could not complete the backup.
An error occurred while copying files.
Message: The backup disk is almost full.
No volumes to be backed up were available.

Message: The backup volume is read only

Message: Time Machine could not complete the backup.

The entire alert message like this:

time machine cannot complete backup

Usually this problem can be resolved after you restart the Mac. If this does not help, please format your external HDD and create a new partition for your backups.

Message: An error occurred while copying files.

time machine backup failed

This message occurs for no specific reason. Restart and then try the backup once again should fix it.

Message: The backup disk is almost full

When the backup is disk full and lock of enough space, the Time Machine will delete old backups to make room for new ones. If you are not willing to remove old backups, please open Time Machine preferences to set up a new backup disk.

backup disk is lack of space

Message: No volumes to be backed up were available.

Open System Preferences, in Time Machine preferences pane, click Options. Please check and confirm you have not excluded all available volumes.

We wish you can fix the Time Machine backup issues disturbing you. If the problems you are having do not include here, write on the comment and we will respond as soon as we can.

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