Apple Time Machine Mega-Fail

[See update below posted Jan. 16, 2013 at 18:20 GMT -8]

Anyone who has tried to work with Apple’s “backup” software (Time Machine) knows that it pretty much sucks.  There is little user control, an insistence that only drives formatted to Apple disk specs can be used, and so on.  I thought we had solved these problems when we acquired our QNap NAS box.  One of the many, many features of this little device is an option to use part of it for Time Machine backups.  And, as far as I can tell, the space on the drives is allocated dynamically between Time Machine and other uses.  Terrific — except for the lousy Apple software. This article is about the latest Apple Time Machine mega-fail.

It began a few days ago with the dialog box shown above.  Frankly, I have only a few ideas about what that might mean.  Apparently something has gone terribly wrong with my Time Machine backups.  OK, I can live with that. But what I can’t live with is the choices I’m offered.  Either consume several hours right now or wait until tomorrow.  Hey, Apple, I don’t have a couple of hours right now and I won’t have them at this time tomorrow either.  How about adding a scheduling option?  They maybe — just maybe — Time Machine will get a bit of respect in the computer professional community.

Nah, our stock price is still in three digits, we can ignore our customers a while longer. (Apple stock closed today at $506.09 per share, down about $200 per share from its recent high.)

Update: Apple support has an article about this at A better explanation is at  In brief, you can hold down the Option (Alt) key while clicking on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar (top right of my screen, may be different on yours, look for the little clock face, no it won’t work from System Preferences). You’ll see this:

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Time Machine Menu Bar With Options Key

Time Machine Menu Bar With Options Key

Select Verify Backups and the dialog box will open.

Tell me again about how Apple products are intuitive and have really good help.  They’re only intuitive until you need to do something moderately difficult.  Then … well, good luck.



About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos

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