Every hard disk (and even a solid state disk) is bound to fail sooner or later. The most frequent sign of trouble is when all applications show the spinning beach ball for multiple minutes and the rate at which this happens increases rapidly over the course of a few hours or days.
A common error with Time Machine is that it claims its image to be read-only.
This applies only if your Time Machine is stored on a remote system, such as a Time Capsule, another Mac or some SMB server.
If you restore a different computer from you Backup, during the restore, the Time Machine volume becomes read-only (luckily enough). However, turning write access back on may fail.
This issue is difficult to debug.
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