Q&A: Changing Time Machine

Q The Time Machine backup volume connected to my MacBook has inexplicably renamed itself from ‘Time’ to ‘§bn’. Should I worry, leave it alone, or change it back?

A This is strange, but not unheard of. Before doing anything, check that your periodic backups are still being made properly, by inspecting those backups on that volume, and checking the settings in the Time Machine pane in System Preferences.

As the new volume name is hardly handy, you should probably change it back. When you have done that, check once more that it is still selected as the backup volume, and ensure that Time Machine makes backups to it properly.

If you have a rough idea of when the volume’s name changed, you may be able to look back through your logs, using Console, and work out how that occurred. The chances are that it was an old application that may even have quit unexpectedly shortly afterwards, something else that may leave evidence in the logs. You may also get clues as to what did this by listing the contents of your Utilities and Applications folders in date order: any utility that fiddles with disks, volumes or files and is more than a couple of years old should be treated with great suspicion.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 25 issue 23, 2008.