Solution To Time-Machine Failures After Having Replaced a Symbolic Link with an Actual Directory

( This article is of little interest to normal readers of my blog; I put it here for the benefit of folks searching for a solution. )

Time Machine backups fail if you replace a symbolic link to a directory with an actual directory. (In my case, the symbolic link was to a directory on another disk.)

The solution is to perform a Time Machine backup after deleting the symlink, then create the actual directory. Time Machine backups will then work.

Prior to finding this solution, I had tried visiting the mounted Time Machine backups in Terminal to delete the old symlinks, but the deletions always silently failed. Trying to remove the ACLs (“chmod -N”) also silently failed. It was very frustrating.

Comments so far....

Hi, I’m wondering if you’ve ever noticed that Time Machine misses certain file changes? I.e., a file creation or modification is not reflected in the latest backup. It’s happened to me several times now, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to get TM to recognize a missed file change except touching the containing directory. I can only imagine it’s a bug in the FSEvents system. After noticing it happen twice, I wrote a backup verification script (basically ‘diff -qr’ but compares symlinks as symlinks and has better output) and I’ve seen missed updates happen with some regularity (meaning once every couple months). I’m only running Snow Leopard, so maybe that’s the problem. Still, the whole thing is distressing.

— comment by Greg Janée on December 3rd, 2012 at 2:16am JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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