How to repair or format Time Machine or Time Capsule (Apple)


A couple of weeks ago I bought a new MacBook Pro laptop, which was to be backed up on my Time Capsule using Apples software Time Machine. BUT, the backup did not finish as I was out of space. Since, I already had backups from my other to Mac’s the Time Capsule was out of space and could not delete any of the old version of the “other” Macs. Therefore, I thought that I just wanted to delete all previous backup, but that seemed hard, as there kept popping up a message stating that some kind of file was in use and couldn’t be erased. Then I wanted to format it but that seemed pretty hard to do as well…. but – I found an easy solution after looking through several post in the apple discussion forum and Macrumors etc.

If your problem is that backups are suddenly failing, it might be due to a disc error or previous backups that may have become faulty.


How to fix failing backups

option-key mac

If your backups all of a sudden have started to fail then it might be due to a disc or backup file error. The first thing to do is unplug the Time Capsule for 10 seconds and the power it on again. During boot up it will check for errors and fix them if possible. This might work.

The second way is to hold down the option key + clicking on the small Time Machine “watch” icon in top Mac bar – then 2 new options appears. One for checking other potential backup discs and one for checking backup files. Run a test and fix potential errors that way.

If the errors cannot be fixed then you will have to format the disc as explained below.


How to format Apple Time Capsule

In the beginning my first thought was to use disc utility to find the Time Machine disc and then just erase it there. But this is not possible as the Time Capsule did not show up in the “disc overview”. Dont know why but for some reason Apple didn’t want these Time Machine network drives to be found in their disc utility. I read lots of post online on “how to format time machine” or “erase time capsule” but was kind of lots. But in the end I found a solution, which is why I wanted to share it for others to find it easier.

The “secret” of formatting the time machine is to open the “Airport Utility”. Here, you can select your Time Machine. Click Edit and then go to the disc tab (see the pictures below for a step-by-step guide (with text). Choose you formatting option and then everything will work again.



Check out the pictures as a step-by-step guide.


Did it help you?

I really hope that the above explanation helped you solve your problem. If it did the please rate it with 5 stars 🙂 I you have questions the feel free to ask them in the comment-section further down on the page. I’ll reply to the best of my knowledge.



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