Finder Error 36

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jw3571, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. jw3571 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2010
    When trying to move my photos library over to an external I got an error message that said finder can't complete he operation because some date "photos" library can't read or written. Error code 36. When i back up using time machine i don't get an error messages. I've been trying to clear some space so that's why i trying to move it to a new external.

    Two questions, is there anything i can do fix this? If i decided to buy a iMac, would I run into this same error when i move everything from my old machine to my new machine?
  2. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    IMO, it's best to make a complete backup first to a proper functioning drive with something else than Time Machine, e.g. Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper as fast as possible, as it could be a dying drive in your case.

    If you do have a backup ready you can start to find the reason or solution for your Error -36.

    I ran into that error once while trying to retrieve files back from a Time Machine backup right after an OS upgrade many years ago.
    Your situation can be completely different, but I managed to get files back with following commands, but not by Finder drag'n drop or Time Machine itself.
    cp -Ri /source/folder /destination/folder
    rsync -av /source/folder /destination/folder
    It turned out that the internal drive really died completely without any unusual SMART status message around one year later. What I've been observing quite a few times, is that usual HDD drives tend to work approximately 5 years (+/-5 years).

    Maybe, after backing up your system you should also read this thread up to the final post:

    Concerning your second question: Worst case is that a new iMac won't prevent your old Mac's drive from dying...yes it's possible to get the same error.

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