Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintOn my Mac, Time Machine backups sometimes slow to a crawl, and stay like that for hours on end. After some digging, I discovered that Finder is often the culprit, and quitting Finder seems not to have any adverse impact on the backup -- but it does speed it up by an order of magnitude. Here's what happened in my case...

I had been making an initial Time Machine backup over a network. Initial write speeds were over 5mbps, but an hour later, it was down to 100kbps -- and CPU usage went up to almost 90%. I left it this way for four hours and there was no improvement -- at this rate, the backup would take a week.

A look at Activity Monitor showed almost all the CPU usage due to Finder, and a look at the 'Open Files and Ports' by Finder showed it accessing the Applications folder in the backup, crawling through all the application packages over and over again.

Fed up, I quit Finder and suddenly backup speed went back over 5mbps -- and the backup finished absolutely fine.

I don't know what Finder was doing, but it doesn't seem like anything crucial (I didn't notice anything in the logs). This was only seen on Snow Leopard, and over a network (although this happened to me with a FireWire backup device as well.).

[robg adds: I haven't seen this on my Macs, but if you're having Time Machine backup issues, it might be worth a look.]
    •    
  • Currently 3.52 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (25 votes cast)
 
[58,698 views]  

10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups | 12 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: diamondsw on Feb 03, '10 08:03:04AM

Perhaps it was LaunchServices looking for applications to use when you right-click a file and "Open With". Still a bug, and other than that, I have no idea.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: jmontana on Feb 03, '10 08:06:40AM

Is the Applications folder set to calculate sizes? That can slow things down a lot.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: Anonymous on Feb 03, '10 09:03:22AM

When you say 'Quit Finder' do you mean force quit or just close the window?



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: Mrchhas on Feb 03, '10 09:53:45AM

I just tried this, using activity monitor to soft quit finder (not force quit) and then restarted it. I immediately saw my backup rate go on average from about 200 KB/s to 6 MB/s. So pretty neat trick! I wish I knew why it worked...



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: ptrondsen on Feb 03, '10 12:33:30PM

Most likely the FInder is latched onto something, causing the backup to go slowly.
Quitting the Finder will release the files the Finder has open.

You can test this by performing the following command before you quit the Finder:

lsof | grep Finder

Then quit the Finder and run the command again.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: wayfarer on Feb 04, '10 03:22:24AM

Hey,

Sorry, by quit Finder I do mean either use Activity Monitor to quit Finder or if you've enabled the 'Quit Finder' option using Onyx or something then quit as you would normally.

jmontana: No it's not...

Perhaps it was launchservices but would that be using Finder to do the crawling?

ptrondsen: I did check what Finder was latching onto - it was only files in the backup that had already been copied. But for some reason that was enough to reduce the backup speed to a crawl.

(Good job it works for someone else, I thought it was just me!)



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: JaxMyers on Feb 13, '10 08:33:32AM

Thanks, this worked like a charm for me. After 2 hours of annoying slow backup with lots of hard drive sounds, I force quit finder and it went from 1 kb/second to 23 mb/second (peak). Yay, now I don't have to wait a whole week for my backup to finish!
(I have a lot of data to backup because I just upgraded to Aperture 3 and it basically has to copy my entire upgraded library to the backup drive).



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: groggles on May 01, '10 08:17:37PM

This worked perfectly. Running 10.6.3, only apps open where Finder, TM and Activity Monitor. TM backing up 315GB of data to an external FW RAID 5 volume. It would have taken over a week. Quit Finder and now it will be finished with a day. An order of magnitude is right.





[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: mrhatken on May 14, '10 07:56:32AM

I too have recently started to experience VERY SLOW network backups (not the first one but subsequent ones). Megabytes in minutes if not hours.

One thing I noted when looking at Activity Monitor was that network traffic was faster (Mbps) for receiving from the machine being back up compared to (Kbps) being sent from the machine being backed up. The wrong way around ...

I am not sure what was causing this but perhaps Finder is doing that and killing the Finder stops this allowing the backup to proceed normally.

I also noted that one of the volumes on the machine serving the backup volume has "Calculate folders sizes" turned on. It wasn't the backup volume itself, so I'm not sure how it could affect things but I have turned off that attribute and will check again.

Cheers,
Ashley.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: tnmacguy on May 29, '10 07:30:02PM

I was experiencing the same problem. TM was just CRAWLING. 500 meg in 4 hours!

Tried restarting the Finder, but that didn't seem to really solve the problem.

Relied on using Path Finder by CocoaTech, and excellent Finder alternative - in it, you can choose to turn the Finder off!

Did that, and have backed up 2 gigs in a few minutes.

Thanks for the info!



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: picoscope on Jul 22, '10 04:28:30PM

So, has anyone actually found a true fix for this issue yet? I have an end user on my network who's TM backs up once per hour and is slowing *everything* down (excel, firefox, all apps). Quitting finder might speed things up for that backup, but I'm not comfortable telling her she has to quit the finder once per hour...

Thoughts?



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.6: Avoid slow and CPU-intensive Time Machine backups
Authored by: diroussel on Mar 17, '11 01:48:17PM

Just tell her to not use 'Calculate all sizes'



[ Reply to This | # ]