Mac OS forum


Can Time Machine really be this stupid?

by Terri N. Peate / November 24, 2012 6:44 AM PST

Time Machine (Snow Leopard) deleted all my old backups and then, and only then, informed me it did not have enough space to complete the backup in progress. True, I was perhaps naive to think TM would treat a clone of a volume as if it were the same volume and not a whole new backup, but still, a rational person would think TM would calculate the disk space it needs and warn the user before nuking all old backups. But the only option I find in TM prefs is "Notify after old backups are deleted." I assume those backups are now irretrievable, since I did not back up the backups, in an implicit infinite backup regress.

Carramba! If the same people who designed TM designed altimeters, the pilot would get an alarm after the plane has crashed. Sometimes we mere mortals are aghast at how dumb smart people can be.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 24, 2012 6:57 AM PST

But if you recall your days with computers you only reach a state of backup with 2 or more copies. It sounds like you were driving some unicycle with no spares and crashed.

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by 3rdalbum / December 3, 2012 11:20 PM PST
In reply to: Sure.

So, what you're saying is this: Mac users should always make a second backup, in case Apple's backup software destroys all your other backups without even warning you. Your analogy is incorrect: It's like driving a unicycle whose designers decided to make the wheel come off after 10km of travel.

And Apple fans wonder why there are so few Macintoshes being sold to enterprise...

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I didn't write that.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2012 11:59 PM PST
In reply to: Absolutely

It does not matter if you have an Apple or an IBM MainFrame. The area of backup is something we covered in the second year of most Computer Science or information classes.

With the move to where you can get a computer in the check out lanes with that tabloid trash rag, you don't get a course in computer science.

Around here I see Apples are being sold to enterprises. Just a few months agoI found the iPad in the front lines at a major brand car maker. Looks like they could not wait for Android, Microsoft or RIM to get their act together.

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When the OS plays gotcha
by Terri N. Peate / December 5, 2012 1:10 AM PST
In reply to: I didn't write that.

I have been using Mac OS since System 7, and somewhere along the line, I have become accustomed to software warning the user before data is erased. Erasing a whole partition without an alert when that isn't even sufficient to complete the task is insult to injury.

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Been there. No T shirt.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 5, 2012 1:23 AM PST

I've only been around a while (google the GE 210 computer) but I see what the changes are. For folk that don't want to backup and be defensive about computing use the new Cloud stuff is OK. But Wozniak is right too.


He covers a lot of ground but the key point is you must own your files. If you don't backup and think that some OS will save you.

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That is very sad, but . . . maybe . . .
by Devoted2as / November 30, 2012 5:43 PM PST

When I got this new Mountain Lion OS, I thought I'd lost several things that I later found. My mail was there on iCloud. My iTunes albums and songs (I hadn't saved them) returned when I did something I'd read about on the internet after I'd Googled "lost iTunes library", somehow I'd backed up on a thumb drive my documents and found them again, so that was the good news.
However, I lost my bookmarks, I lost my passwords (which I kept in my computer - OK that's dumb), and I lost some of my Contacts.
All I can say, is you might find some of that stuff you were trying to back up, here and there. Look at your backups on to remote drives, thumb drives, DVDs. Even if it's older stuff - it's yours and you'll be glad for anything you can find.
I haven't got around to trying Time Machine yet, so thanks for sharing your situation. That will be a lesson I'll keep foremost in my mind. Good luck!

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by 3rdalbum / December 3, 2012 11:07 PM PST

I'm sorry for your data.

A couple of years ago, Apple got picked up on another silly bug where, if you MOVE a file from one disk to another, or cut a file and paste it to a different disk, it got deleted before it was fully written to the destination. If anything went wrong with the writing operation, you lost the original too.


Apple's first response, if I remember correctly, was to say something like "Well, users shouldn't be MOVING between disks, they should COPY and then delete the original". I never MOVE between disks because I don't trust the operating system - but if the function is available, it should be safe to use or come with a warning. Apple's attitude was blaming the user for assuming that the function was safe to use.

So, to answer your question: Time Machine can really be that stupid. And knowing some of the schoolboy mistakes Apple's software engineers make, I'm really not surprised.

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Computer Science folk and everyday folk.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2012 11:30 PM PST
In reply to: Apple

I think you summed it up but need to do more research. Folks are still losing their stuff and your post is fine but the position you take can't help. That is, we need to help folk think defensively and get their stuff backed up.

One last copy on time machine or that external drive is not "backup."

Can you go one step further and share what it takes to get to a state of backup?

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Let me clarify
by Terri N. Peate / December 5, 2012 1:27 AM PST

The erased partition had a good year's worth of TM files on it, many dozens of backups, not just one.

If I had to draw conclusions from this, I'd say the user needs to back up his TM files on at least one other hard drive, or, if you're paranoid, a daisy chain of external drives. Or you could burn a lot of optical media and never run out of coasters. You could use a more intelligent backup application.

We used to have to protect ourselves from drive failures. Now we have to protect ourselves from the OS. I was one of the unhappy few who found out 1) InDesign and other pricey software quit working under Snow Leopard and Adobe's solution was just buying new software and 2) There is no available Intel version of Tiger, so Apple had no solution. I thought I had prepared by making a clone of the boot drive in my PPC before getting a new and Intel Mac, but silly me, it all became useless.

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Here I'm seeing a house of cards.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 5, 2012 1:36 AM PST
In reply to: Let me clarify

It's not a good analogy but as folk pile in with more apps I see the system go wonky. Sometimes you see if fall like a house of cards.

Somewhere there's a lesson.

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