Time Machine wants 2 TB backup disk!

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I have a 250 Gb startup disk with 100 Gb in use. TM says I need a 2 Tb disk for backup. I realize that you want the backup disk to have extra space but 20 times as much! What am I missing?
I don't understand your question.
In all the years I've used TM, I have never once had it tell me how big the backup HDD had to be.
At what stage and where, is TM telling you this?
Unless this is the estimated size of a full backup info in TM-Preferences-Options, if that is the case then you need to cull out (exclude) everything except your start-up drive.
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You have a Mac Pro?
How many hard drives do you have internal to your Mac Pro, and what is the TOTAL of all that space?
Maybe you only need to tell Time Machine to exclude some of your drives, or exclude everything else except your boot drive?
Otherwise, the first backup would be everything that your Mac Pro system uses for space.

(jbarley beat me to much the same answer :) )
Yes TM was trying to back up all my 4 drives in the Mac Pro! I excluded all but my primary Startup disk and all is well.
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