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Two of my machines converted fine (though upgrading my main machine required me to prune the size of the backup archive from 1.1TB to under 1TB before conversion, which was a drag).
CrashPlan Home users take note: Code 42 just told me that the 1TB archive limit only applies to users who manually trigger a migration to the Small Business product.

If your CrashPlan for Home subscription expires after the October 23rd end-of-life date, then your subscription will automatically migrate on October 1st. "The 1TB limit does not apply to users who migrate automatically," sayeth Code 42, with that emphasis.

Maybe this means that migrations before the Oct. 1 date require Code 42 to copy all the data from the CrashPlan for Home data store to the Small Business databases. But on October 1st, they're just going to update all the remaining Home data in-place, to now be Small Business data.
 


I upgraded [CrashPlan] about 2 months ago. I had 1.2 TB of data, and it was quick and easy. Nothing to re-upload. So far, I been very happy with the new plan.
 


CrashPlan for Home did the auto-upgrade to CrashPlan for Small Business today.

The new app looks completely different, but as far as I can tell, it is functionally the same - aside from not supporting computer-to-computer backups, of course.

It still is a Java app. There are signs that the GUI is using the Electron framework, is that new?

The migration (if you can call it that; it is more like an in-place upgrade) did retain all of the same settings and backup sets that I had before. One difference, however, is where those settings are. You may search in vain for certain of the CrashPlan for Home settings, such as the file verification schedule and some of the more advanced backup set controls. The answer is that they're not in the client app anymore.

Remember, this is now CrashPlan for Small Business, which is a small-company version of the Enterprise product. The Enterprise product is designed so that an administrator can control what the clients do. The administrator can see all and control all in the cloud, and those settings are pushed down to the client devices. You are now that administrator. So when you are looking through the CrashPlan settings, be sure to visit the new cloud portal. From the CrashPlan app, go to Settings > General > Manage account on the web.
 


Code 42 is saying that its CrashPlan backup service will not back up files with personal data under macOS Mojave due to Apple's new privacy restrictions. According to Code 42, CrashPlan cannot back up some files from apps like Contacts, Photos, and Mail until you grant access full disk access to the Code42 app. They have provided instructions to do this by opening the Security and Privacy settings in Preferences, selecting "Full Disk Access", clicking the + icon in the right hand pane, and choosing Applications: CrashPlan. You then have to close Preferences and restart CrashPlan. Here is the link:
macOS Mojave not backing up files with personal data​
 


Code 42 is saying that its CrashPlan backup service will not back up files with personal data under macOS Mojave due to Apple's new privacy restrictions. According to Code 42, CrashPlan cannot back up some files from apps like Contacts, Photos, and Mail until you grant access full disk access to the Code42 app. They have provided instructions to do this by opening the Security and Privacy settings in Preferences, selecting "Full Disk Access", clicking the + icon in the right hand pane, and choosing Applications: CrashPlan. You then have to close Preferences and restart CrashPlan. Here is the link:
Got to do the same with Backblaze and Carbon Copy Cloner
 


According to Code 42, CrashPlan cannot back up some files from apps like Contacts, Photos, and Mail until you grant access full disk access to the Code42 app.
You have to do the same also for Mojave-compatible Retrospect versions 15.5 & 15.6. They have specific instructions of what to add to the Full Disk Access section of the Security & Privacy system preference panel.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A MacInTouch reader forwarded this email he got about Prosoft Engineering eliminating their Data Backup app:
Prosoft Engineering said:
Dear Valued Customer,

This notice is to inform you that Prosoft engineering has discontinued Data Backup from further development. We have had many great years providing you with great software for your back up needs. That being said, there will be no further development of the software and no update/upgrade to macOS Mojave.

Our focus has changed to build a new superior and improved Drive Genius software for the years to come. We hope you stick by our side until we are ready to release these new version of Drive Genius.

What does this mean for current users?
Data Backup will still run on supported versions of macOS. However, there will be limited support for the software if any issues arise.
We look forward to the years to come!

- Your friends at Prosoft
 


I went into Time Machine today for the first time in many months (years?) to restore a file from my desktop from a week ago. Time Machine opened up as normal, but I found that using the "timeline" feature on the right side of the window, clicking on any date going back at least a year did not select that date. The main Time Machine windows did not scroll.

Additionally, clicking the "Now/Older" buttons just to the right of the Time Machine windows scrolled the windows all the way back to last September.

There appears to be no way to select "yesterday" or a day last week or last month.

Can't say I've heard of this problem before. Any way to fix it and retain the backup information that goes back to Spring of 2017?

FWIW: I have three spinning disks used for Time Machine backups; one goes back to August of last year, the other two go back to Spring of 2017. One disk is local (installed inside the Mac) and two are on the local network.

Mac Pro 4,1 (firmware updated to 5,1), running Mojave 10.14.3.
 


I went into Time Machine today for the first time in many months (years?) to restore a file from my desktop from a week ago. Time Machine opened up as normal, but I found that using the "timeline" feature on the right side of the window, clicking on any date going back at least a year did not select that date. The main Time Machine windows did not scroll.
I'm in a similar position (Time Machine on a spinning disk in a Mac Pro 5,1 neé 4,1) and I have occasionally seen something like this over the years. So far it's always cleared up either spontaneously or following a reboot.

I'm sure you already know that you can retrieve a particular file from a known date using the Finder, albeit without the convenience of the Time Machine interface. Just traipse through the files in Backups.backupd in your Time Machine partition and copy what you want to your desktop.
 



"Something" happened to a Mac OS Server hard drive (files 'disappeared') and Disk Utility said it couldn't repair it so to copy the files to another drive. I did that using ChronoSync, which reported that a few files couldn't be copied, I guess due to some kind of corruption. I reformatted the hard drive and, using a backup, copied the files back. So far, so good, but those few corrupt files are missing from the restoration. There are older versions but...

So I need to update my backup strategy. How can I mitigate against file corruption? I'm already using ChronoSync and 'archiving' previous versions when a file is changed. But here it was the latest (or only) version of a file that became corrupt. If this was caused by a fault with the hard drive directory would having another backup help? Or a RAID (which I know is not a backup!).

I'm already using an off-site solution but willing to consider a commercial cloud if that would help me. But I'd prefer to keep our files on our premises.

I've given up using Time Machine, because it’s a big pain. But if anyone wants to advise otherwise, I'll listen.

In the past I've used DiskWarrior but never upgraded, as it seemed to fall behind the changes in Mac OS. What other utilities should I have to keep an eye on my hard drives?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
"Something" happened to a Mac OS Server hard drive (files 'disappeared')...
I think your first order of business is checking the hard drive that lost the files - e.g. with DriveDX, SMART Utility or the like.

I would suggest adding a Time Machine backup to a new drive. (I like to do Time Machine backups via "Back Up Now" from its menubar item whenever I've completed a chunk of work.)

If it’s important data, SoftRAID and RAID1 could make sense, if you don’t need FileVault encryption, but you need to be sure your hard drives are good. (SoftRAID can ‘certify’/test and monitor SMART data too.)
 


KJM

I found GoodSync listed at BackBlaze and wondered if anyone here has been using it for backup or synchronization?
I am using the free version to sync my most important data on two Macs via a Thunderbolt cable. GoodSync is fast and has a clear user interface that shows what it is doing:
1. Analyzing which data have been changed, and
2. Synchronizing.

I recommend it.
 


"Something" happened to a Mac OS Server hard drive (files 'disappeared') and Disk Utility said it couldn't repair it so to copy the files to another drive ... So I need to update my backup strategy. How can I mitigate against file corruption? ...
Well, OpenZFS on OSX is purpose-built for this exact scenario (mitigation against file corruption), but there is a bit of a learning curve. Also, to get full benefit from ZFS it helps to have your hardware set up with redundancy, so that if one drive starts to go south you still have data on the other drive(s). This is easily done with a classic Mac Pro and its four SATA drive bays, but you can also buy a multi-drive enclosure from a company like OWC.

I run my home directory on my Mac Pro as a ZFS dataset, and I send snapshots to an OWC Elite Pro Dual enclosure via eSATA. If you set up your source computers (the ones being backed up) with ZFS, as well, you can send automated snapshots to your server, and it will take a tiny amount of time, because ZFS sends only the differences between the source and destination across the network. I routinely backup my 2TB home partition to the enclosure (both ZFS), and it takes about two minutes at most.

So, about that learning curve: ZFS is command-line only (at least for macOS). The command line structure is well thought-out, with sensible syntax like "zfs create / zfs destroy / zfs send / zfs receive," etc). But with a little launchd magic, you just get it set up once, and then everything is automated after that.

Allan Jude and Michael W. Lucas have also authored a pair of books on ZFS that are very helpful. Or you could set up a FreeNAS box to act as your backup destination and utilize ZFS with a management GUI that way.
 


I'd try disabling throttling of low-priority i/o:
Code:
sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0
This lasts until you reboot or reenable with =1.
I was thinking the same thing. For those who aren't familiar with this throttling trick, it's been around for a while in the context of Time Machine backups, where it sometimes can make a huge difference in backup speed.
 


This week I had the 'pleasure' of arranging the replacement of my wife's MacBook Air with a refurbished MacBook Air from the Canadian Apple Store (retina screen, fingerprint power button, large trackpad and rose gold anodising. Don't blame me; she's her own boss.)

After a day of transferring from a disk with a current Carbon Copy Cloner clone, and a few tweaks like cancelling Microsoft Office on one machine and activating on the other, activating all sorts of family-sharing purchases from the Apple Store and so on, I came to the real problem: blasted Time Machine.

I merrily clicked on the blue button to inherit the backups from the last MacBook Air (upon which I had first switched off Time Machine, and then changed its name in the System Preferences/Sharing pane), but the new MacBook Air could not manage to begin to do a Time Machine backup. The disk was unavailable. I could mount it in the Finder, and supplied the proper password, but no backup.

OK, seen this before - let's get rid of the existing backup file and start anew. My Time Capsule has a 3TB disk, and half of it was taken up with backups from her old MacBook Air, so they had to go. I used the previously successful Terminal commands to compact the backup, but it was 'temporarily unavailable', and the script to remove the bands in a Time Machine backup also would not work.

I waited for her new MacBook Air to finish slowly downloading the macOS 10.14.4 update and then restarted the Time Capsule, at which point the
Bash:
sudo hdutil compact sparsebundleaddress
command worked, but the script I use to delete the bands in it still would not. That script, by the way, looks like this:
Code:
for i in {0..1000000}; do rm -rv /Volumes/timecapsulediskname\ Time\ Capsule/computername.sparsebundle/bands/$(printf "%x" $i); done
Terminal just reported that no such file or directory existed for every hexadecimal band in the sparsebundle, even after running for a few hours.

So, eventually, I used Airport Utility to erase the disk and started anew for both her new machine and my old one. With a combination of ethernet to Thunderbolt and then Thunderbolt to USB-C dongles, her first backup took about sixteen hours, but since I don't have multiple dongles of the same type, my first backup had to take place over wi-fi and took 24 hours. This sucks, but happens a couple of times a year when the Time Machine backups get corrupted and we all have to start again anyway.

Now I had I thought to avoid the risk of losing all Time Machine backups for my MacBook Pro by exploiting the ability to use more than one Time Machine disk and set up a second Time Machine disk for it - one that is attached to a network server in the house. But it isn't large enough for worthwhile backups for both machines.

Out came an old OWC QX2 four-disk array, which was retired, as it cannot be set to work in JBOD mode. I set it to span across the four disks and connected it to the server and shared it with the option to act as a Time Machine disk. Easy to make it work for her new MacBook Air as the second Time Machine target.

Then I got curious, since it is large, and since the 'Add or delete a disk' option still shows in my System Preferences > Time Machine pane - so I tried adding it to my Mac as a third Time Machine target, and it worked!

My MacBook Air now has a series of three Time Machine backups assigned to it when I understood only two were allowed. I'm not unhappy, as having Time Machine backups accessible in the normal way allows them to be copied and deleted easily instead of using the wretched voodoo required by a disk in a Time Capsule.

Is there a limit to how many Time Machine disks may be specified?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My MacBook Air now has a series of three Time Machine backups assigned to it when I understood only two were allowed. I'm not unhappy, as having Time Machine backups accessible in the normal way allows them to be copied and deleted easily instead of using the wretched voodoo required by a disk in a Time Capsule. Is there a limit to how many Time Machine disks may be specified?
I don't know of a limit, and it looks like I have more than a dozen Time Machine backup volumes listed in Time Machine Preferences. Mine are rotated with only one or two online at a time. Time Machine/Notifications complain sometimes about not having access to offline volumes, but I just dismiss those notifications and proceed about my business.

I avoid Time Capsules and just use compact, bus-powered 2.5" drives or small SSDs (e.g. Samsung T5 or SanDIsk Extreme Portable SSD), connected via USB 3.

These backup drives each have separate Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner volumes that are each the size of my primary drive (SSD), which I keep about 30-40% empty.

I enable the Time Machine menubar item and use that to keep track of backups and manually initiate one whenever I've done a chunk of work. I also do frequent Carbon Copy Cloner backups (with SafetyNet enabled).

This all has been working pretty well. In addition, I do periodic Carbon Copy Cloner backups with Advanced Options > Find and Replace Corrupted Files to check for backup system integrity, and I certify any new drive using SoftRAID > Certify prior to putting it into backup rotation. (I recently discovered that SoftRAID can actually certify multiple drives at the same time.)
 


Code42 just "resent" a notification (which was never previously sent) saying that, with no prior warning, sometime this month they changed CrashPlan from Unlimited backup to "we're only backing up limited documents", just like the other backup services:
Code42 said:
The CrashPlan for Small Business Code42 app is intended to back up your business files (pictures, music, documents, etc.), not your operating system or applications. For this reason, we have always recommended you not include applications or other large files in your selection as they may not backup or restore correctly. In the past, we have allowed these files to be backed up despite this recommendation, however, in May 2019 we made some changes to our file exclusions and are now disallowing the backup of application directories, VM image files, and some backup file types.

You will likely see your file selection and backup archive size go down and benefit from faster restores, syncs, and backups.
Specifically, they are now excluding:
  • all files in both /Applications and ~/Applications
  • any .tib files, which means that it can corrupt backups of applications (e.g. Microsoft Office apps) even if they're located somewhere else.
  • all files used in virtual machines -- not just the virtual disks, but also the control files that define how the virtual machine is configured
  • any disk image that is in the form of a sparse image.
Note that they are not doing any kind of price reduction.

The disk image restriction is especially an issue. Let's say you create an encrypted disk image to store critical user documents with extra security, and you use a sparse image format. That's no longer backed up.

I'm in the one year period where CrashPlan for Small Business is discounted, due to the end of CrashPlan for Home. This policy change makes it certain that I won't be continuing with CrashPlan after the discount ends.

(FWIW, I'm switching to Arq, storing in Wasabi, even though Wasabi is less than honest about their pricing.)
 


This latest policy aside - and I don't like anything about it - I have been getting increasingly disgruntled with CrashPlan. I had the original plan and had 9 terabytes of data backed up. It took many months - lots of uptime on my Mac Pro and lots of electricity - much more time, I discovered, than it would take Backblaze to upload all of my stuff.

Okay, fine. It was finally uploaded - despite all kinds of strange issues where my files would seemingly disappear, then reappear, having to reinstall their app, etc. Then, they changed their business model and I had to go to a new plan. But, since I had over 5 TB of data, I had to upload everything from scratch. There was no way around this, and you can be sure I ascertained that. I decided to go for it, possibly because I can be a masochist.

Recently, it started showing that I had all those terabytes almost backed up but listed it at "zero" files. After much back and forth, after initially getting my support request classified as "moderate" and after the support person seemingly unsure of what I was really talking about, he finally asked me to deauthorize my machine for the weekend to "let it do its housekeeping." This is the last time. If I have to deal with any more BS from them after Monday, I"m canceling for good.
 


Re Crashplan... I left their service long ago, when my subscription ran out, and went to Backblaze and Arq. Backblaze is pretty reasonable. However, I still get weekly CrashPlan alarmist emails, telling me there are problems with my backup... and I can't stop them, because you have to be a current customer to stop the emails. I haven't trusted them since they "went enterprise", which invariably means smaller-than-1,000-employees customers don't matter at all.
 


Arq can back up to pretty much any storage service. I personally use Wasabi. Arq is a one-time $50 cost, and Wasabi costs me $4/month for 1 TB of backup space and "$0.04 per GB for egress charges". So far, it's worked out to $4.25/month. It's not too complicated to set up but it will take a little fiddling to get right. (If I ever have a problem w/Wasabi I can switch to one of the other storage solutions Arq supports.)
 


I use Arq and Backblaze B2. It costs me about $10/month for 1.6 TB of backup space, enforced by Arq's "Budget" feature that limits the total size of backup data. Arq allows you to choose how often it enforces the budget and recommends every 30 days, which is what I do. What I've discovered is that when it enforces the budget, it reads through the whole backup determining what to delete. In my case, this takes over a day (as evidenced in the log file), and during that time it does not do any incremental backups. So there's a risk of having unbackedup data during this time period.

I also have a daily local backup, and for me this once-a-month situation is acceptable. However, users of Arq should be aware of this if they use the budget enforcement feature.
 


I updated my 2011 Mac Mini over the weekend with a new 1TB SSD. To my surprise, I got hit by Dropbox's new 3-device limit for basic accounts. Apparently, any changes to the drive, OS, or even their app will negate the previous device link.

I currently have 9 linked devices, 7 of which I'll have to delete before I can re-link this Mac. The only other option is to upgrade to their Plus account for $99/yr. (1TB). However I need this primarily for file syncing (not backups), so this price is prohibitive.

I've been a Dropbox user since their inception and have amassed the maximum free storage in return for helping them acquire new customers. So much for loyalty. I just created a Sync account. Buh-bye, Dropbox.
 


I updated my 2011 Mac Mini over the weekend with a new 1TB SSD. To my surprise, I got hit by Dropbox's new 3-device limit for basic accounts. Apparently, any changes to the drive, OS, or even their app will negate the previous device link. I currently have 9 linked devices, 7 of which I'll have to delete before I can re-link this Mac. The only other option is to upgrade to their Plus account for $99/yr. (1TB). However I need this primarily for file syncing (not backups), so this price is prohibitive.
I've been a Dropbox user since their inception and have amassed the maximum free storage in return for helping them acquire new customers. So much for loyalty. I just created a Sync account. Buh-bye, Dropbox.
I had a the same experience when I replaced my iMac last month. I had 9 devices with Dropbox. I moved over to Google Drive and have been happy so far.
 


If the data is important to you, make a couple of backups and keep at least one set off-site. The importance of said data dictates the number of copies you should make and how often you back up / rotate said copies. See the 3-2-1 guide at Backblaze for background, if interested.
  • For many people, automated backups to off-site backup storage (Carbonite, Backblaze, et al) are a great option to ensure the data is actually backed up regularly.
  • However, I'd still make local backups, as the transfer time to get off-site data back can take a while.... the local backup covers the usual suspects (drive failure); the off-site backup covers the catastrophic (house fire, theft, etc.).
Despite [criticism and issues], Time Machine has simplified and automated backups for millions of Mac users. Getting users to back up in the first place was not particularly sexy but a really good habit to establish. Too bad that iCloud Drive prices itself out of the market - $120/year for up to 2TB vs. $60 / year at Backblaze for unlimited data. (I'm not affiliated with Backblaze, FWIW).

While some folks seem to think that SSDs / AFPS will lead to life without bad blocks, etc. I'm still a firm believer in spinning media for bulk data, especially for long-term storage. I use a ZFS-based alternative to APFS, HFS+, etc. called FreeNAS for local server storage because:
  • Bit rot is detected, and may be fixed automatically or you'll get an alert to find a backup and replace it that way (not part of macOS either in HFS+ or APFS).
  • excellent performance even on low-power server boards
  • inexpensive hardware (server chassis pop up on eBay all the time for ludicrously little money and will last decades).
  • You can set up off-site backups, FreeNAS-FreeNAS backups, or even backups to local storage devices that you manually rotate. It's a very flexible system.
  • no data loss despite multiple disks and motherboards failing over the years
  • great support for SMB as well as AFP protocols
However, it's not all fluffy unicorns and rainbows:
  • There is a steep learning curve, setting up FreeNAS. Thankfully, FreeNAS has an amazing community that has been extremely helpful.
  • some implementation delays (i.e. FreeNAS only recently began official support for Time Machine via SMB, because Apple documents just about zilch for the developer community, just like with APFS)
  • Motherboards should be server-grade (i.e. Supermicro, etc.), use ECC RAM, be fed with quality power supplies, etc. This can get expensive if you want the latest and greatest.
The FreeNAS forums have extensive guides re: inexpensive hardware builds to get into the game, or you can buy a pre-built system from iXsystems, like the Mini or the Mini XL.
 


Code42 just "resent" a notification (which was never previously sent) saying that, with no prior warning, sometime this month they changed CrashPlan from unlimited backup to "we're only backing up limited documents", just like the other backup services...
I will have to look into why I never saw this notification or the resent one. My heart skipped a few beats when you said they changed from unlimited. Got screwed on that with Mozy some years ago.

Personally, not affected by anything other than possibly the disk image files. I wonder if they are deleting the backups of image files previously uploaded....
 


My heart skipped a few beats when you said they changed from unlimited.
... now they're like the other services that may advertise unlimited storage but then put forced restrictions in the fine print to limit the backup. They are eliminating what's left of CrashPlan's market differentiator.

The lesson is that the only backup service you can count on is one where you pay directly for your own storage, such as Arq backing up to Backblaze B2, Wasabi, Amazon AWS, or another cloud storage provider.

And, there's a bonus. If you're paying for your own storage, you're not limited to using that storage for Arq. There are recent comments about Dropbox's new 3-device limit for the free tier. To lift that limit you'd need to at least pay $8.25/month for the 1TB tier or $16.58 for 2 TB. But Wasabi also has sync clients, so you can use as much of the Wasabi storage as you want for synching, at $6 per TB*. (I haven't tested the sync client yet.)

* I'm waiting for someone to ask why I said Wasabi is being disingenuous with their advertised storage fee.
 


Local snapshots is a scenario where APFS shines. APFS's "clone" feature allows the file system to maintain multiple versions of the file by sharing their common blocks and storing their differences. This allows the system to store these snapshots in a space-efficient manner. (This isn't quite like ZFS's de-duplication, which actively seeks out duplicate blocks to eliminate them. It only kicks in when you make copies of a file – which is what incremental backups require.)

This illustration may help explain:

Of course, that doesn't help with true off-machine backups. Retrospect used to be the bee’s knees for storing and retrieving versions. Probably still good… anyone in the MacInTouch community a current Retrospect user?
I still use Retrospect. I like it as the second leg of my recovery strategy:

1) Time Machine
2) Retrospect backup of critical files
3) Volume duplication (formerly SuperDuper, [now] Carbon Copy Cloner)

Recent versions of Retrospect are much faster, and do support backing up only changed blocks for large (configurable size) files. I back up to 24GB disk images, then burn them to Blu-Ray disks (except Toast has stopped successfully burning Blu-Ray disks for me).
 


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