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TS1729: Resolving "The result of the numeric operation was too large" errors.
Problem

When trying to run a new plan created in HMM 1.0.3, a "The result of the numeric operation was too large" (AppleScript error -2702) error occurs.

The backup timeout threshold value (added in HMM 1.0.3) is not initialized properly when you create a new plan in 1.0.3. (Plans imported/updated from earlier versions of HMM are properly set.)

Solution

The easiest solution is to update to HMM 1.0.4. HMM 1.0.4 automatically resets all backupTimeout values to the intended default (300 seconds). But if you prefer to dig in and fix the problem in HMM 1.0.3, read on.

Because the backupTimeout value is not part of the standard Helix Maintenance Manager interface, plans affected by this bug have to be edited directly (after they are created and saved) to set a proper value for this setting.

HMM stores your created Plans in its own folder in the Application Support folder...
~/Library/Application Support/Helix/MaintenanceManager/
In that folder you will find a plist for every Plan you have created.

It is possible to open these filed directly in order to edit a plan's plist. How you do this depends on whether you have installed Apple's developer tools. With the developer tools installed, double clicking on a plist should open the Property List Editor application and present a window like this:

HMM plist in PLEditor An HMM plist in Property List Editor (The line to be edited is highlighted)

To fix the bug, just replace the random value for the backupTimeout (1853189228.000000 seconds — just under 59 years — in this sample) with the proper default of 300 (5 minutes). This value is the number of seconds HMM will wait for a Finder backup to complete before giving up and reporting an error. If you have an extremely large collection (or a slow backup medium) and your copies take longer than 5 minutes, increase this value accordingly.)

If you do not have Property List Editor, any text editor (even TextEdit) will do. We recommend Bare Bones Software's BBEdit or their free TextWrangler. This example shows TextEdit, since everybody with macOS has that. (The data will be identical in any text editor — if it doesn't look like this, don't try to edit the plist or it could become damaged. When in doubt, make a backup!)

HMM plist in TextEdit An HMM plist in TextEdit (The value to be edited is highlighted)

As with Property List Editor, replace the random value for the backupTimeout with the proper default of 300. Be careful not to change the <real></real> tags that surround the value.

Whichever way you choose, be sure to Save the changes when you are done.

Scope/Status

This problem exists only in HMM 1.0.3 and is addressed in HMM 1.0.4.

Technical Information

Helix Maintenance Manager stores plans as plist (property list) files, the standard method for storing application data in macOS. These files (one for each plan you create) can be examined and edited using any application capable of editing plist files. Apple's Property List Editor, installed with the Xcode (or developer) tools, is the easiest to use, but any text editor will work.

Apple maintains a list of all Apple event and AppleScript errors here and here.

Attribution

Thanks to Phillip Cook for working with us to isolate and resolve this bug.