Time Machine is a pretty handy backup system for the Mac. I like it primarily because it's a set-and-forget system. Once you set it up, you rarely have any reason, other than curiosity or a disaster, to make use of a Time Machine backup.
But how do you know those Time Machine backups are actually good, that you can rely on them if your Mac's drives come crashing down around you?
Well, if you happen to use a Time Capsule as the backup destination for your Time Machine backups, you can have Time Machine verify that the most recent backup was completed successfully, without any errors that would cause you grief down the road.
Verify Time Machine Backups
WARNING: This tip only works for Time Capsules used as Time Machine backup destinations. If you're using a local drive on your Mac, the steps below won't actually perform the verification process.
To access the Verify Time Machine option, you must have a Time Machine status icon in your Mac's menu bar. If the Time Machine status icon is present in your menu bar, you can skip to Step 4.
- Launch System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting 'System Preferences' from the Apple menu.
- Select the Time Machine preference pane, located in the System area of the System Preferences window.
- Place a checkmark in the 'Show Time Machine status in the menu bar' box.
- Option-click the Time Machine status icon in the menu bar.
- From the dropdown menu, select 'Verify Backups.'
- The backup verification process will begin.
If a message displays telling you that you must create a new backup, then a problem has prevented your current Time Machine backup from being usable. Click the Start New Backup button to create a new backup and remove the existing backup. This will remove all of your present backup history.
If you click the Backup Later button, then Time Machine will stop performing backups; in 24 hours, it will display a reminder to start a new backup. Time Machine will remain turned off until you start a new backup.
To view the Verify Backup status message again, select 'Backup Now' from the Time Machine status icon in the menu bar.