Copying files to/from external hard drive issues

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by xexets, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. xexets macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    I am having some problems copying files from an external hard drive and I thought I might ask for help.
    I have a macbook pro late 2008 with latest Mavericks installed.
    I have two external hard drives, usb. An old one (250gb) and a brand new one (1tb). Both formatted Macosx journaled.

    I used the old one as an external storage for my huge collection of raw photos (DNGs, Cr2, etc). After 6 years of great service, I thought I should migrate everything to a new one (and make a backup copy too), just in case. Well, turns out I decided to do it too late!

    Copying files from the old to the new one (directly by connecting them both at the same time and dragging the files from the old to the new one) I get after a while an error on a specific file: 'the file cannot be read or written'.
    Right, I can just skip the file and copy the others, but I get this error for many files and it becomes very impractical to copy large amounts of data.

    I run Disk Utility on the old one but it found no errors. I can delete the corrupt files with no problem from the old hard drive but I cannot copy them neither to the other external hard drive nor to my internal hard drive. I tried to access the files (for instance opening them with photoshop), but it returns an error.

    All I can do when I find a corrupt file is delete it and move to the next. This would not be too difficult, except that I don't know which files are corrupt and which are not. I could try copying them one by one, but I would need ages to do that. Also dragging a batch a waiting for the error to crop up, delete the corrupt file and redo the same thing is still very impractical.
    Any advices?

  2. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    Do you always get the error on the same file? IF so, are you able to copy everything except the file which throws the error?
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    These files, or some if them may have been locked, or have specific permissions set.

    To check, choose one you've had trouble with, right click and choose get info.

    Look at the bottom of the panel that opens and see what if any permissions are set.

    If they are locked, you should be sable to batch change those details and then copy as you were trying to do before.
  4. xexets thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    Macman45: I'll check permissions as soon as I get home. That would not explain though why I can delete them from the hard drive but not copy them, wouldn't it?

    Dewez: indeed, I can just delete the culprit and move on. The problem is that I have 20,000+ files on the hard drive and I have much more than one culprit (I think about 10% or more of the files might be corrupted/locked/cannot be copied anyway. That means that I would have to check them all, move them, wait for the error to crop up. Locate culprit, skip/delete it, and start all over again. If it comes to that I'll do it, but I was thinking there might be a more streamlined way of doing it!
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Try downloading CarbonCopyCloner:
    CCC is free to download and free to use for 30 days.

    Then use CCC to "clone" (i.e., backup) the contents of the old drive to the new drive.

    I believe (cannot confirm) that if CCC finds a "bad file" during the backup process, it will skip over it, and continue to the "next good file", etc., etc. Thus, the good files will get copied, and the bad files will be "left behind".

    Again, I haven't experienced this particular problem, but it may be worth a try on your part.

    If you try this, and if it -is- successful, please let us know about it...
  6. iMerik macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2011
    Upper Midwest
    I love Teracopy for Windows. I hear Ultracopier is very comparable and capable.
  7. xexets thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    Thanks Fishrrman for the tip! I'll certainly try, that's a very nice streamline possibility!
  8. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    You could use the cp command from Terminal to copy these files. Run it with the -R flag and it will skip over bad files.

    So your command would be something like, substituting the real drive names. This would copy the entire contents of d1 to d2. Add any folder names onto the end of each path.

    cp -R /Volumes/drive1 /Volumes/drive2
    Before you do that, select each drive in Finder then command-i and at the bottom of the get info window check the box to "ignore permissions on this drive."
  9. xexets, Apr 24, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014

    xexets thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    Hello and many thanks, I am trying now cp -R -v will post back the results!

    EDIT -- It's working!
  10. xexets thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009
    cp -R (and -v to see what was happening) worked wonderfully! Turns out I lost about 30% to data corruption.
    Lesson learned, now my external storage will have a backup of its own.
    Thanks a lot everybody for helping me on this!

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