Skip navigation

Error -36 when copying data to new drive

718 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2013 11:23 AM by Matthew Knight RSS
Matthew Knight Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 4, 2013 2:00 AM

I have just bought a 2TB external hard drive to replace my Time Machine 1TB external drive. Over the weekend, I have tried twice to copy the Time Machine data from my old drive to the new and on both occasions I have got this message:

 

"The finder cannot complete the operation because some of the data in “” can't be read or written. (Error code -36)"

 

Only about 25% of the data has been copied so far.

 

Any help would be much appreciated.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 2.7GHz, Core i5, 4GB RAM
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 1:38 PM (in response to Matthew Knight)
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 2:29 PM (in response to Matthew Knight)

    I've called in the Time Machine cavalry to help.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 4, 2013 3:29 PM (in response to Matthew Knight)

    Matthew Knight wrote:

    . . .

    "The finder cannot complete the operation because some of the data in “” can't be read or written. (Error code -36)

    As indicated in the link WZZZ provided, error -36 is an I/O error, usually indicating a hardware problem.  If the data can't be read, you can't copy the backups.

     

    The main reason is, Time Machine backups are all linked together, sort of like a database, so if there's a problem in one spot, the whole thing is suspect (see the tan box in How Time Machine works its Magic for an explanation).

     

    Plus, the copy fails on the first error -- there may be more, perhaps many more, in the backup set. 

     

    There's a (smalll) chance the problem is a port or the cable; but if it failed at the same point both times, that's highly unlikely.  If not, you could try a different port and a new cable, but if these are your only backups, I'd recommend that only after you've got a backup on the new drive.

     

    The folder is a user/library folder. I had tried deleting it but am told that I cannot modify back up data.

    You can delete all backups of a particular folder, via the Time Machine interface, but because of the structure, that's probably going to fail, too. If you want to try it anyway, see Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #12 (but see below first).

     

     

    I've just seen a couple of suggestions of using Disc Utility to restore the data to the new drive, or using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner.

    Also won't help in this case.  If the data can't be read, it can't be read.  This isn't a problem with the Finder (or Disk Utility or any other app) -- it's a problem either with the data on the disk, or the disk itself.

     

    You might be able to restore selected items, or even an entire backup, as long as you don't happen to hit the problem area, but it's entirely unpredictable.

     

     

    Worse, if the disk itself is failing, any attempts to read it may make it worse -- it might fail completely at any moment.

     

    So, your best bet is to keep the drive "on the shelf" and let Time Machine start fresh on the new drive ASAP, so you have a good backup of your current data.  If you need anything from the old backups, you may be able to see and restore from them, via the Browse... option, per Time Machine - Frequently Asked Question #17.  Again, it will depend on whether the disk is failing and whether you happen to encounter the problem area(s).

Actions

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Legend

  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.