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My Time Machine seems to be in some sort of weird state where it has stopped backing up any files/folders in my home (~/) folder or below.

This is obviously a big issue since those are the files most needing to be backed up.

It does catch changes to the /Applications folder, the /Developer folder, and the /usr folder, for some examples.

A typical backup where it misses a lot of changes in my home folder is as follows:

Starting standard backup Backing up to: /Volumes/My Backup Disk/Backups.backupdb No pre-backup thinning needed: 1.22 GB requested (including padding), 253.01 GB available Copied 20 files (157 bytes) from volume . Starting post-backup thinning Deleted backup /Volumes/My Backup Disk/Backups.backupdb/My Computer Name /2009-09-11-185523: 253.01 GB now available Deleted backup /Volumes/My Backup Disk/Backups.backupdb/My Computer Name /2009-09-07-124935: 253.05 GB now available Deleted backup /Volumes/My Backup Disk/Backups.backupdb/My Computer Name /2009-10-03-205432: 253.05 GB now available Deleted backup /Volumes/My Backup Disk/Backups.backupdb/My Computer Name /2009-10-03-205215: 253.05 GB now available Deleted backup /Volumes/My Backup Disk/Backups.backupdb/My Computer Name /2009-10-03-204044: 253.05 GB now available Post-back up thinning complete: 5 expired backups removed Backup completed successfully.

And looking at it in TimeTracker it just shows a lot of 0 byte backups, with the occasional backup with only changes to the above-mentioned folders visible.

How can I reset Time Machine and get it back on track?

I'd like to preserve the current backups on it if possible.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Did you enable FileVault recently? Then your home folder is only being backed up when you log out.

Is your home folder somehow excluded in your Time Machine settings?

Or is it included in the output of the following? (Which it should not)

mdfind "com_apple_backup_excludeItem = 'com.apple.backupd'"

(And I think you can safely delete the /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine.plist file and re-attach your Time Machine drive after that. But, moving the file to another location might be a safer option.)

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No, I'm not using FileVault. Thanks though. –  Lawrence Johnston Oct 11 '09 at 17:58
    
It is not included in that output. The only things listed in the output are iTunes/iPhoto caches and software updates. And my home folder is not excluded in preferences. The only thing excluded is a secondary partition on the drive I'm using for the Time Machine backups (and the Time Machine drive itself, of course). I'll try deleting the preferences and seeing if that works. –  Lawrence Johnston Oct 11 '09 at 18:29
    
Turning Time Machine off, deleting the preference file, and restarting before re-enabling it seems to have fixed the issue. Thanks for your help. –  Lawrence Johnston Oct 11 '09 at 18:54
    
Glad it helped. Very odd though! And quite scary that you had to discover yourself that the most important data was not being backed up... :-( –  Arjan Oct 11 '09 at 19:11

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