I've been having a lot of problems with my MBP 13" running 10.8.2. It often won't start up (flashing question mark/do not enter sign). It often will stop working altogether with a beachball for a few minutes and then come back to life. And sometimes it will just stop responding altogether and have to be turned off. Recently sometimes when it starts up white text on a black background cascades down the screen (not the you must turn off your computer message, but more random UNIX stuff). However, I *can* after some trying turn it on and log-in and some applications still work, while others like iPhoto or EvoCam won't open. All my files seem to be there. Right now my main goal is to back-up my data to an external USB 3 disk formatted in Mac OS Extended Journaled. I tried using SuperDuper, and every time it would fail listing a specific file that could not be copied (each time it would be a movie file in the iPhoto library). So, I then enabled the root user, logged into that, and tried dragging and dropping the Users folder to the external drive. It would take a really long time (estimated time "one day" to transfer 650 GB) and each time I tried it would stop with an Error -36 Input/Output error listing a specific file that could not be written or read (sometimes an iPhoto movie, sometimes a movie I had recorded with EvoCam located on the desktop). I would find that individual file and try dragging and dropping it to the external disk and it worked fine! I would then try dragging the Users folder again, and it would stop on a different file after copying for hours and again that individual file would transfer if I moved it by itself but not the entire folder. Each time it stopped copying, it didn't continue without that file; it would stop altogether, and not even leave what it had already started to copy. Everything I've researched about this says that Error -36 was more common with Snow Leopard and people transferring to FAT 32 disks, which I am not doing. I am on Mountain Lion transfering to a Mac-formatted disk. However, one recommendation with Error -36 was to try copying the Users folder using Terminal. I have tried researching how to do this, but I don't want to do it until I get feedback that I would be doing it right. From what I understand, I would use the copy command like this: cp -rv Users "External Drive" And from what I understand I would drag and drop the users folder into the Terminal to get the right directory listing (something like "Macintosh HD/Users" I'm guessing), and I would do the same for the External Disk, using quotation marks around it, since it contains spaces. I would use -r because I want it to copy everything inside Users. Would it also copy files inside the iPhoto Library, which I believe is a package? And I believe I would also use -v so that I can see it is copying files and have some update rather than waiting for several hours and not knowing what's happening. So, I'm really sorry for the long story, but if someone in the know would be so kind as to respond, do you think this is the right tactic? Are those the right commands to try? Should I run them from the root user so that I'm not actively using the Users folder as it copies? Would it copy my library files over even though they're invisible? I tried calling Apple, but as you can imagine, they told me I need to erase the hard drive and if I can't I could bring it into an Apple Store to have it erased--how helpful! I'm not sure why that's what they go to first when I obviously want to recover the data and I haven't exhausted my options. OK, thank you VERY much for your help! EDIT: Forgot to mention: I have run disk utility both from the computer live and from the Internet Recovery system (starting up with command-R), and it reports no problems on either the internal or external disk when verifying the disk. I have repaired disk permissions on the internal disk. I have run the hardware test twice, and it found no problems.