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Author: LorenCobb Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 65303  
Subject: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 2:41 AM
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Coupla TM questions:

1. I recently bought a tiny Western Digital "My Passport" USB hard drive, with a capacity of 500 Gb. I have been using it for Time Machine only, as a cheap replacement for a large Firewire 800 RAID drive. This evening I noticed it was doing a backup, so I clicked the Time Machine icon to see how fast it was working. Answer: as slow as dogsh*t (maybe slower). The device is actually working, but oh, so slowly. Is this normal behavior for a USB hard drive? Are they really this slow (1 Gb per hour, more or less)?

2. I read somewhere that one should never store ordinary files on the same disk as a Time Machine backup. Is this correct? What is the risk?

Loren
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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61017 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 3:44 AM
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Answer: as slow as dogsh*t (maybe slower). The device is actually working, but oh, so slowly. Is this normal behavior for a USB hard drive? Are they really this slow (1 Gb per hour, more or less)?



I've never noticed it that slow..
at a guess: a few hours for the initial
backup of 200 G or so..
have noticed TM slowing the system in
general during backup ( lots of 'thinking'?)


never heard suggestion of no other files,
so I'll be interested in the answer to that
question

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Author: TwoCybers Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61018 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 7:45 AM
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I have used TM via USB 2 and it is slow, but not 1 GB/hour. I trust you have formatted the drive to Mac OS extended - Generally external drives as sold are formatted FAT32. While Macs can read/write FAT32, TM cannot store on a FAT32 drive.

I have read one dedicate a drive (or at least a partition/volume) solely to TM. Whether that was a "good practice" or "you darn well better" admonition I don't recall. Storage is cheap. Backups generally and TM in particular are valuable. Using your 500 GB drive for storage of files beyond TM, in my view is like driving without a seat belt.

Gordon
Atlanta

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Author: JLC Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61021 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 9:09 AM
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I use a USB hard drive. On initial setup/back up it took an hour or so, IIRC. After that, only a couple minutes. But then again, not too much is changing on my computer as far as new files/data.

JLC

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Author: LorenCobb Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61023 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 1:01 PM
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JLC: I use a USB hard drive. On initial setup/back up it took an hour or so, IIRC. After that, only a couple minutes.

Yes, that what I normally experience. But TM has been running for three hours so far, and has written a total of 2.73 GB. I can't believe that is normal. Hardware errors? Driver problems?

Hmmmm. I just thought to check the Console log file. It shows several dozen messages that look like this:

10/4/12 10:50:50.000 AM kernel: IOSurface: buffer allocation size is zero

Checking the internet, I see that no one (yet) has any firm grasp on what this means, probably including Apple. It may be related to the most recent update of Mountain Lion. Some people are having system crashes, but that hasn't happened to me (yet). This does not look good.

Loren

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Author: 4aapl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61027 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 3:39 PM
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Yes, that what I normally experience. But TM has been running for three hours so far, and has written a total of 2.73 GB. I can't believe that is normal. Hardware errors? Driver problems?

Is this a USB 2.0 drive, or just a USB drive? And if USB 2, is it plugged into a USB 2 port on your Mac?

Finally, is anything else plugged into USB ports that isn't USB 2?

When time machine isn't running, you could try copying over a 100 meg or 1 gig or whatever file, to get an idea of how fast the connection is.

There are slower USB chipsets, and on older keyboards the USB ports on them aren't USB 2.0. Just trying to rule out a bit.

Aaron

(BTW, I wouldn't characterize dogsh*t as fast or slow, so that was a bit of a strange analogy IMO)

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Author: tedhimself Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61029 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 5:24 PM
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2. I read somewhere that one should never store ordinary files on the same disk as a Time Machine backup. Is this correct? What is the risk?

Loren


I can perhaps answer a couple of Loren's questions.

I have a 750 GB external USB-2 drive running through a powered USB hub. This hard drive had about 90 Gbits of info on it (not Time Machine info) from a previous computer. (Both computers run Snow Leopard)

I hooked it up to a my current computer to use for Time Machine. The first 4GB of Time Machine backup loaded in 11 minutes which is about a third of a GB per minute. Things sped up quickly and I had 100 GB of Time Machine completed in 90 minutes which is a bit over 1.1 GB/minute. The total TM load totaled 200 GB, but I did not time the balance of the load.

All of the original data from the previous computer is still on the USB drive as well as the Time Machine info.

Ted

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61031 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/4/2012 11:23 PM
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Don't waste time troubleshooting. This is a bug affecting lots of users, with many related discussion threads on Apples website.

Curiously, the bug appears to affect Lion users who updated to 10.7.5 and Mountain Lion users who updated to 10.8.2.

Both of those updated were released on the same day, and I'm sure it's not a coincidence that the bug is in both updates.

Several users have found that disabling Spotlight fixes the problem, but that's not a solution I find acceptable.

I have an 8am phone appt with AppleCare, and I'll let you know what they say.

To see similar reports, click here: http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/lion/index.html#d28s...

(Please forgive any typos, I typed this without my glasses, and used Siri dictation for some of it.)

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Author: LorenCobb Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61035 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/5/2012 12:41 PM
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I wouldn't characterize dogsh*t as fast or slow, so that was a bit of a strange analogy IMO

I love analogies that have no surface validity whatsoever, metaphors that challenge the imagination, and even allegories that go nowhere at all. In the random DVD of life, they are the fizz at the end of the mirror.

LC

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Author: 4aapl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61036 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/5/2012 1:00 PM
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I love analogies that have no surface validity whatsoever, metaphors that challenge the imagination, and even allegories that go nowhere at all. In the random DVD of life, they are the fizz at the end of the mirror.

Good to know.

So, on that USB thing, what computer are you using, what USB drive or enclosure is it, and how do you have it connected.

While Steven might be right that it's a widespread current issue with the latest OS's, it could also be running at USB 1.0 speeds, which were very slow.

My keyboard is an oldie but goodie, and so I know that when I plug things into it they run at USB 1.0 speeds. That's fine for a jump drive if I'm moving a 50k document, but if I'm moving a couple hundred megs, I remember to plug it into the back of my iMac to get the much faster USB 2.0 speeds.

Aaron

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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61037 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/5/2012 2:39 PM
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Apple has just released an update to fix this problem. You can install it using "Software Update…" from the Apple menu.

It resolves two issues, one of which is:
"Resolves an issue that may cause Time Machine backups to take a very long time to complete"

I just installed it myself, and I hope that in an hour or so I'll know if it worked.

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Author: LorenCobb Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61038 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/5/2012 3:19 PM
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SJK: Apple has just released an update to fix this problem... I just installed it myself, and I hope that in an hour or so I'll know if it worked.

Yep, the update seems to solve all of these problems. I just initiated a TM backup, and it completed in less than 10 seconds. No more mysterious messages on the Console Log either.

To answer a left-over question, the drive has a USB-2 connector. I don't expect Thunderbolt- or even USB-3 speed out of it, just decent performance. That seems to happening now. :-)))

Loren

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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61039 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/5/2012 3:51 PM
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was the question of the safety of other files on
TM disk answered?

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Author: tedhimself Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61042 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/5/2012 6:18 PM
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was the question of the safety of other files on
TM disk answered?


Answer us yes, at least on Snow Leopard, as I pointed out a few posts back in this thread. See post 61029.

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Author: 0x6a74 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61045 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/6/2012 3:15 PM
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was the question of the safety of other files on
TM disk answered?

Answer us yes, at least on Snow Leopard, as I pointed out a few posts back in this thread. See post 61029.




thanks.

i'm using Lion and 'sharing' ...
thinking the only 'issue' would be that you don't want TM to run out of space

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Author: 4aapl Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61053 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/7/2012 1:01 PM
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I just initiated a TM backup, and it completed in less than 10 seconds. No more mysterious messages on the Console Log either.

To answer a left-over question, the drive has a USB-2 connector. I don't expect Thunderbolt- or even USB-3 speed out of it, just decent performance. That seems to happening now. :-)))


Do you realize that you didn't really answer either of the questions?

That TM backup would have been an incremental backup, which I believe happens hourly. If you only changed one meg of data during that time, nearly any data transfer method common in the past 10 years would do that in under 10 seconds.

But it's probably fine.

If in the future you need to double check that something is running at the correct speed (entirely different than just if it supports that speed), you can try copying a file to it and timing it, or pull up System Profiler and take a look at the USB section. Within it, it shows the speed supported of each device.

For instance, when I have one of my jump drives in a rear port on my iMac, it says it supports 480 Mb/sec, whereas with it plugged into my keyboard it says it supports 12 Mb/sec. That's a huge difference of 40X!!!

If running at the full theoretical rate (not likely with USB), that's the difference of transferring 20 gigs taking 3.8 hours, vs less than 6 minutes!

Aaron

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Author: LorenCobb Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 61063 of 65303
Subject: Re: Time Machine questions Date: 10/8/2012 1:15 AM
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Do you realize that you didn't really answer either of the questions?

Well, I realized it only after hitting the Submit button.

The USB drive is plugged into the back of my Apple Thunderbolt Display, which is in turn connected to my Mac with a thunderbolt cable. Checking the System Profiler, as you suggest, I see that it has a speed of "up to" 480 MB/sec no matter where it is plugged in, even the keyboard.

That TM backup would have been an incremental backup, which I believe happens hourly. If you only changed one meg of data during that time, nearly any data transfer method common in the past 10 years would do that in under 10 seconds.

Yes, I am aware. I changed 8GB just to make TM do some actual work.

Thanks for sharing your ideas -- they did help me to understand what was going on. The drive now backs up my internal SSD with speed to burn, and I am very happy.

Loren

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