Time Machine can’t access the backup disk – OSStatus error 2

It seems like an eternity since the last time I was able to correctly perform a time machine backup on my Western Digital MyBook World Edition (MBWE). On top of that, last year a bought a new mac mini with OS X Lion and my MBWE didn’t support it. So after upgrading to what seemed the buggiest firmware ever, the guys at WD released another firmware (to be precise Firmware Version 01.02.1) and in the release notes it stated: Resolved issue with Apple® Time Machine® incompatibility in Mac OS® X Lion™ update.

The incompatibility was resolved but the Time Machine issue is stil here. So after digging up the web, Apple support forums, WD support community, etc. I finally found something that solved my problem. Actually my problem was that Time Machine was unable to connect to the backup disk with an error message containing “OSStatus Error 2″. So what I had to do was to check the permissions on the MBWE. So the solution is the following (brief and step-by-step)

Brief solution:

  1. SSH as root into your MBWE and check the permissions for /var and /var/lib
  2. Use chmod 755 on /var and /var/lib to apply the correct permissions.
  3. Use the Time Machine System Preferences to set your backup disk to your MBWE.

via paulmc.org

Step-by-step solution:

Open terminal
In a new terminal window type: sudo -s
Then enter your password (you will need to do this in order to secure root access to your MBWE)
Then type: ssh (the IP address of your MBWE i.e.
Password: welc0me (the o is omitted and replaced with a zero ‘0’)
Once you are in, to ensure that you are starting at the root, type cd /
Then type:
chmod 755 /var
chmod 755 /var/lib
then logout.

You will then have access to the WD_Backup using the following credentials (however if you changed the password you will have to use the password you changed the user account WD_Backup to)

username: WD_Backup
Password: backup

There was a permissions issue with the /var and /var/lib folders, the timemachine folder resides within the /var/lib container and timemachine needs specific permissions in order to work.

If this worked for you please leave a comment. Cheers!


6 thoughts on “Time Machine can’t access the backup disk – OSStatus error 2

  1. It’s working now and backing up. FYI – I’m using WD MBWE for two MacBook Pros running 10.7 and 10.8 respectively.

  2. when i entered my password as per your instructions, bash 3.2 -# came out and i can not advance…am sure you can help me?

  3. When I entered my password as per your instructions, I received message of bash-3.2#. What password are you referring to? Thank you so much.

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