Over the last week, my backups have been failing. Granted, I didn’t really have the time to look at what the major issue was with my Super Duper backups to my backup drive. However I found some time a couple of days ago to fix it. Here’s how I went about it.

A little bit about my backup strategy first. I have 3 separate backup locations: A local hard drive for a cloned backup, .Mac syncing with iDisk and Amazon S3 with JungleDisk. On the even hours of the day, I sync to my iDisk, while on the odd days I do a ‘Smart Update’ to my cloned drive. JungleDisk runs every 6 hours to backup my important documents and purchased music.

The one aspect of my backup strategy was the cloned backup to my local hard drive. It would fail after verifying that 91404 files were up to date. The following snippet was what appeared when I did a ‘show log’ from SuperDuper!.

| 03:09:37 AM | Error | SDCopy: Error deleting /Volumes/FullBackup/Users/waynedixon/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Downloads/Podcasts/7. Navigation Controllers (April 22, 2009) _ iPhone Application Programming – Video.tmp/download.m4v\n: Operation not permitted

Now, to most this would seem like a bunch of gibberish, but let’s take a look at it piece by piece.

The first part, states the time, the type of message, the path of the message, and what the resulting error means. Therefore, This error occurred at 3:09:37 AM, and it could not delete the temporary m4v (podcast) file.

The fix for this type of error is quite simple and goes as follows.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Click on the volume from the left sidebar
  3. Drill down to the folder above the file. In my case it was /Volumes/FullBackup/Users/waynedixon/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Downloads/Podcasts
  4. Right mouse, or ctrl-click, on the item.
  5. Select Move to Trash
  6. You might get a dialog asking you to authenticate to delete the file
  7. Authenticate as an administrative user
  8. The file should disappear, and your backups should work again.

You can also navigate to the same place in Terminal and do a sudo rm /path/to/file to remove the file.

There are a couple of tips with this quick walkthrough. First, if you’re doing a backup, remove temporary directories, like /Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Downloads and other temporary directories.

The second is to use the log files that are provided with the application in order to determine what the error generated actually means. SuperDuper! has a button right on the front that says ‘Show Log’, for each scheduled task that will show you exactly what occurred during the backup. If there are any questions, either e-mail me, or leave a comment.

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