How to Fix Time Machine When it Freezes on Preparing Backup

As a Mac user, you probably rely on Time Machine to backup your system regularly. However, sometimes, you might encounter issues where Time Machine freezes on “Preparing backup.” This can be frustrating, especially if you need to backup your data urgently. In this article, we will explore the causes of this issue and provide you with detailed steps on how to fix Time Machine when it freezes on “Preparing backup.”

What Causes Time Machine to Freeze on Preparing Backup?

There are several reasons why Time Machine freezes on “Preparing backup.” The most common cause is a software issue in macOS. Other factors that can cause Time Machine to freeze on “Preparing backup” include:

– A corrupted or incomplete backup file
– Lack of disk space on the backup drive
– A damaged backup drive or external storage device
– An outdated Time Machine or macOS version
– A network connection issue

How to Fix Time Machine When it Freezes on Preparing Backup

Here are detailed steps on how to fix Time Machine when it freezes on “Preparing backup”:

Step 1: Check Your Network Connection

If you are using a wireless network, ensure your Mac is connected to a stable network. Alternatively, you can try using an Ethernet cable for a wired network connection. A poor network connection can disrupt Time Machine’s backup process and cause it to freeze on “Preparing backup.”

Step 2: Check Your Backup Drive for Errors

– Open Disk Utility from the Utilities folder in Applications.
– Select your backup drive from the list on the left pane.
– Click “First Aid” and then “Run” to fix any errors on your backup drive.

Step 3: Reset Time Machine Preferences

– Open the Time Machine preferences panel from System Preferences.
– Click on the “Options” button in the panel.
– Select the backup destination and click on the “-” button to remove it.
– Restart your Mac and add the backup destination back again.

Step 4: Delete Incomplete or Corrupted Backup Files

– Open the backup drive and navigate to the folder named “Backups.backupdb.”
– Locate the folder with the name of your Mac and delete any incomplete or corrupted backup files.

Step 5: Update macOS and Time Machine

Ensure you are running the latest version of macOS and Time Machine. To check for updates:

– Click on the Apple menu and select “Software Update.”

Step 6: Check Disk Space on Your Backup Drive

Ensure you have enough free space on your backup drive. Time Machine needs enough space to store incremental backups. If you are running low on disk space, consider deleting unnecessary files or purchasing an external drive with more storage space.

Concluding Thoughts

Time Machine freezing on “Preparing backup” can be frustrating and lead to data loss. However, the solutions above will enable you to fix the issue quickly and easily. Ensure you update your macOS and Time Machine regularly and check your backup drive regularly for errors or lack of disk space. A good backup strategy is essential for Mac users to ensure their data is safe from unexpected data loss.

FAQs about How to Fix Time Machine When it Freezes on Preparing Backup

1. Can I use Time Machine without an external hard drive?

No, you need an external hard drive to use Time Machine to backup your Mac. You can also use network storage devices that support Time Machine backups.

2. Can I skip incremental backups and only do full backups?

No, Time Machine creates incremental backups to save space and backup only the updated files since the last backup.

3. Can I use Time Machine to backup multiple Macs to one external hard drive?

Yes, you can backup multiple Macs to one external hard drive. Time Machine organizes the backups by creating separate folders for each Mac.

4. How often should I backup my Mac using Time Machine?

It would be best if you backup your Mac using Time Machine at least once a week. However, this depends on how frequently you use your Mac and how critical your data is. It’s also good practice to backup your data before carrying out significant system updates.



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Peter Graham
Peter Graham
Hi there! I'm Peter, a software engineer and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. I have a passion for sharing my knowledge and helping others understand the latest developments in the tech world. When I'm not coding, you can find me hiking or trying out the latest gadgets.


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