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imac- can't copy some files "error 36" message

Posted on 2013-11-04
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Last Modified: 2016-06-07
I'm having a hard time copying some of my files from my external hard drive to any other folder. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to which files I have a problem doing this with and which ones are ok. It's not specific folders or specific types of files or newer files vs older files, it's just completely random. When I try and copy and move them (and it doesn't matter where I move them to), it gives me an error message that reads "the finder can't complete the operation because some data in (file name) can't be read or written (error code -36)
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Question by:fusedragon
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 39623250
Run Repair Disk on the external drive using Disk Utility. Run Verify Disk on the internal drive using Disk Utliity.
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by:fusedragon
ID: 39623265
I've done that, everything comes back ok, but I still get this error message.
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by:strung
strung earned 250 total points
ID: 39623284
Here is one possible solution:  http://www.macyourself.com/2010/01/07/solution-to-finder-error-code-36-in-10-6-when-copying-folders/

involving using terminal to invisible remove dot-underscore files.
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by:strung
strung earned 250 total points
ID: 39623290
If you are running OS 10.6.2, updating to 10.6.3 or newer should also fix the problem.
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by:fusedragon
ID: 39623326
The Terminal option doesn't work either, maybe because the problem is with individual files, not folders?
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by:fusedragon
ID: 39623341
I happen to have another external hard drive that I use as an extra backup, and I'm able to transfer the same files from it without any problems. So it seems the problem is with the original hard drive, but I still don't know what could happen or what to do about it..?
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by:strung
ID: 39623342
Have you tried a different USB cable?
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 39623344
You could also check the console logs to see if there is any more specific information in them.
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by:strung
ID: 39623346
Which version of the OS are  you using?
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 39623347
Also is the external drive formatted as Mac Extended Format, FAT32 or NTFS?
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by:fusedragon
ID: 39623383
Different USB cable doesn't make a difference
I'm using version 10.8.5
I don't know how to check console logs or how the ex hard drive is formatted..
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39623651
Look for a programme called CONSOLE located in the Applications/Utilities folder to view detailed information on the Finder which might shine some light on the problem

To work out the format of the external drive .. open Dish Utility (located Applications/Utilities folder) highlight the drive on the left menu and then look at the bottom of the window and it should give you the "Mount Point", "Format", "Capacity" etc.

Please let us know the FORMAT as it will determine what repair/diagnostics can be performed for example if it is NTFS you'll have to use a Windows computer to effect any reasonable repairs/diagnostics.
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by:fusedragon
ID: 39623918
Format :      Windows NT Filesystem
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Eoin OSullivan earned 250 total points
ID: 39623922
OK .. that is also known as NTFS and cannot be repaired or diagnosed properly on OSX.

You'll need to plug the drive into a Windows PC and run diagnostic software (depending on the manufacturer of the external hard drive - there are a range of tools you can usually get online from the manufacturers website - Western Digital, Seagate, etc. etc.)
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