Skip to Content
Skip to Table of Contents

← Previous Article Next Article →

ATPM 14.06
June 2008



How To



Download ATPM 14.06

Choose a format:


by Mark Tennent,

10.5.3 and Time Machine

The latest Mac OS X update is available at a Software Update near you. Apart from fixing loads of glitches, it also messes with Time Machine; and some people, including me, have had mixed results after the update. For more details go to the discussions on Apple’s support pages.

In most cases, the drive used by Time Machine for storage refuses to mount. Various solutions are offered: a low-level reformat, turning Time Machine to a new drive and back again, and trashing Time Machine’s and other preferences. See the discussions for greater detail.

Once…Twice…Three Times Went Crazy

We updated three Macs. The first, last night, went without a hitch and has been rock-solid. The second spent a long time, perhaps three hours, being busy saving things into Time Machine. The third Mac seemed happy enough after upgrading, Time Machine worked, everything else seemed unaffected. Then it had a kernel crash.

This is a pretty rare event for Mac users, the equivalent of a Windows Blue Screen of Death so ably demonstrated by his Biliousness, here on Windows 98, here (twice) on Windows 2000, and here in 2005 while demonstrating the Xbox. Mac users, on the other hand, think of kernel crashes as traffic accidents involving a Jeep.

Getting a Good Thrashing

On restarting the Mac, the Time Machine drive would not mount yet it was obviously thrashing away at something, its little LED blinking Morse code at a terrific rate. The Mac was shut down and the Time Machine drive connected to a laptop. It refused to mount, and again the drive thrashed away at something.

Checking in Activity Monitor showed fsck_hfs was consuming a lot of processor time and had been started by root. This usually happens automatically at restart on the drive containing the system, but this is the first time we’ve seen it run automatically on another drive. The system log in Console stated there was Runtime Corruption and fsck would be forced on next mount. The drive was returned to the original Mac and left for an hour or so for fsck to do its thing. Eventually the thrashing stopped, the drive mounted, and all is well.

As far as the rest of the 10.5.3 update: no other problems have been experienced and running Repair Permissions after the update showed nothing needed fixing.

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (4)

Robert Leitao (ATPM Staff) · May 31, 2008 - 20:44 EST #1
Thanks for this timely article on Apple's major OS update released earlier this week. In all, I'm finding my Macs a bit more response since the update and I haven't experienced the Time Machine issues mentioned.

This update also plugs at least one of the reported vulnerabilities of iCal as well as provides some performance and compatibility enhancements.

Thanks for jumping on the release so quickly and providing a helpful user report.
Mark Tennent · June 4, 2008 - 07:19 EST #2
Hmmm. Yesterday I dragged a file to the wastebasket in the Dock. First the Dock quit then one by one my Firewire drives dismounted, accompanied by the usual warning message that it might damage the drives.

It took a shutdown and disconnection of all Firewire leads to get them to mount again. Then fsck automatically checked the Time Machine drive.

Clever stuff but it seems Firewire is a little flakey under 10.5.3.
Mario Gajardo Tassara · June 20, 2008 - 13:15 EST #3
My macbook pro with 10.5.3 dont freeze in regular basis like with 10.5.2, but still crashes some times. For me (and for now) 10.4 is THE OS X system, in terms of stability and reliability.
Dave · February 8, 2010 - 00:23 EST #4
Thanks. My TM drive won't mount, but I noticed the fsck process running and the drive working. I hope it's all good in the morning!

Add A Comment

 E-mail me new comments on this article