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Fix Time Machine Stuck Preparing Backup – Problem Solved

Having trouble with Time Machine getting stuck on “Preparing Backup”? Learn how to solve this common issue quickly and easily.

Understanding the Backup Stall

Time Machine progress bar frozen

To resolve the backup stall: First, try excluding certain folders from the backup to see if the issue is related to a specific file. You can do this by going to Time Machine preferences and adding the folders to the exclusion list. If this doesn’t work, you may need to manually locate and remove the corrupted file.

If you suspect a computer virus or malware is causing the backup stall, run a full scan of your system using antivirus software. Make sure your system is clean before attempting to back up your files again.

In some cases, the issue may be related to a problem with the Time Machine itself. Try restarting the Time Machine service or resetting it completely to see if that resolves the backup stall.

If all else fails, consider backing up your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage service as an alternative solution. This will ensure that your data is safe and secure, even if Time Machine continues to experience issues.

Steps to Cancel and Restart Backup

  • Cancel the Backup:

    • Open Time Machine by clicking on the Apple logo and selecting System Preferences.
    • Click on Time Machine and then click on the Stop Backup button.
  • Restart the Backup:

    • Open Time Machine by clicking on the Apple logo and selecting System Preferences.
    • Click on Time Machine and then click on the Back Up Now button to restart the backup process.

Troubleshooting Common Backup Issues

If your Time Machine is stuck preparing a backup, there are a few common issues you can troubleshoot to get it back on track.

First, check your internet connection and make sure it is stable. Ensure that your Wi-Fi connection is strong and reliable to prevent any interruptions during the backup process.

If your backup is still stuck, try restarting your Mac and then attempting the backup process again. Restart your computer and try initiating the backup once more to see if this resolves the issue.

Another common issue could be a problem with the external hard drive you are using for the backup. Check the connection of the external hard drive and ensure it is properly connected to your Mac.

If all else fails, you may need to check for any software updates that could be causing compatibility issues with Time Machine. Check for any available software updates on your Mac and install them to ensure smooth operation of Time Machine.

Preventing Future Backup Delays

To prevent future backup delays with Time Machine, it is essential to ensure that your computer is free from any malware or viruses that could be affecting the backup process. Regularly scan your system with antivirus software to keep it clean and running smoothly.

Additionally, check that your Time Machine settings are optimized for efficient backups. Make sure that the backup destination has enough space to accommodate all your files and that the connection is stable.

Consider utilizing cloud computing services as a secondary backup option to ensure that your data is always secure and accessible, even in the event of a hardware failure.

Regularly install software updates and patches to keep your system running smoothly and prevent any potential issues that could cause backup delays.

If you continue to experience backup delays, consider reaching out to technical support for further assistance and troubleshooting.


How do I fix a Time Machine stuck on preparing backup?

To fix a Time Machine stuck on preparing backup, you can try restarting your Mac and then running Time Machine manually. If the issue persists, check for any available software updates in System Settings and install them.

Why is my Time Machine backup taking so long?

Your Time Machine backup may be taking so long because it is backing up large, frequently updated files. Consider excluding these files from your backup to speed up the process.

Why won’t my Time Machine backup finish?

Your Time Machine backup may not finish if your backup disk is not plugged in, turned on, or securely connected to your Mac. Additionally, ensure that both the disk and your Mac are connected to the network if your backup disk is on a network. Issues with the network could also be causing the backup to not complete.

How long should a Time Machine backup take?

A Time Machine backup may take up to 18 hours for first-time, initial backups, especially when backing up large amounts of data.

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