Solution: Time Machine error "Image of the sparsbundle volume is already in use"

Icon ask Sir Apfelot

I'm naturally lazy and for that reason also an enthusiastic user of Time Machine and the Time Capsule from Apple as well as of Online backup service Backblaze. This trio takes care of the backup of my computer in the background and doesn't annoy me with any messages and problems that other backup solutions often have.

Til today. Suddenly this message came up:

Time Machine error! The image of the backup volume "/Volumes/Name-der-Time-Capsule/Name-des-Rechners.sparsebundle" is already in use.

Uff ... I didn't know what to do next. So once asked the omniscient garbage dump Google and actually: The problem has also been faced by others before me. The solution to the error is quite simple: You open the "AirPort utility", which is usually dormant in the folder "Applications-> Utilities". There you get a graphical view of your configuration with computer and time capsule. Then click on the Time Capsule once (1x!) And then select the "Restart" item in the "Base station" menu at the top.

After restarting the Time Capsule, everything should work again.

Root cause research - Time Machine errors

I was also able to look up the cause of this error. Various users explained that the error occurred after an unplanned restart. The Time Machine was probably still mounted and the user was connected to the Time Machine. After the restart, the user wants to connect again, but there is still one connection open, so the new one is rejected. When the Time Capsule restarts, all connections are closed and the computer can then reconnect without any problems.



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  1. jaype says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot,

    Unfortunately, I have not come to terms with your approach again. I had to first open the old AirPort Utility 5.6 and disconnect all users from there.
    Then the message stopped coming. Various restarts using the current AirPort utility have had no effect.

    • sir appleot says:

      Ok, I've heard that several times. I worked without it, but for people who still get the error, the tip with the Aiport utility 5.6 is certainly helpful. Can you still download that?

  2. Uwe says:

    Thanks! Helped me a lot.


  3. phil says:


    I have the same problem. TC has already been restarted, unfortunately without success. Unfortunately, I cannot use the airport utility as I am connected to an Edimax WiFi stick. Can someone help me here?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Phil! I think you could use the airport utility by now. How the TimeCapsule hangs in the WLAN is usually irrelevant. Or did I misunderstand something about the question?

      • phil says:

        Hi Sir Apfelot,

        thanks for the reply, unfortunately i cannot use the airport utility. Airport utility as well as the WLAN status in the menu bar can only access the standard WLAN module. WLAN sticks are not recognized at all. In the Airport-D. I get the error that no configured airport base station can be found.
        I restarted the TC now, then it suddenly went - weird.

        If someone has a tip to use the Apple utilities with USB sticks, I have two very open ears. The wireless network utility on my stick isn't exactly the right thing to do.

        • sir appleot says:

          Hi Phil! Interesting. I got a little smarter again. :) Unfortunately, I can't help you with the Apple utilities. I have no experience with that ...
          happy Easter!

  4. Kidney says:

    This procedure with the restart worked fine for me. Thank you very much and a stable 2015 with Yosemite. Applause.

  5. Kruse says:

    Thanks for the tip.

    Very well and simply described.

    Best Regards

  6. skeeve says:

    If you are using a NAS (e.g. QNAP), you can also end the user's session there without having to boot the NAS.

    For QNAP: Control Panel -> System Logs -> Online Users
    Right-click on the Timemachine user "discconect this Connection"

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