Hard Drive Transfer Software?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by phnord, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. phnord macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    Hello Everyone,

    I am looking for an application to help me backup the contents of one smaller external HDD into a folder on another external HDD (both are formatted FAT32, FYI).

    Why not just drag the contents from one to the other, you ask?

    Well I tried that. It's a 300 GB transfer, and after about 50 GB's worth it came across a file Finder was having trouble copying for whatever reason. Who knows why - permissions issues is the most likely bet IMO.

    In any case, hitting that snag caused the entire transfer to abort. In fact, I believe Finder is in the process of deleting the files it transfered already, as the transfer window is hanging and refuses to respond to me clicking the "x" button to cancel it...


    So I am basically looking for some software that is more apt at handling large data transfers across drives than Finder. Something that won't abort and freak-out if it hits a snag, but report an error and calmly continue forwards.

    Freeware preferably, but I'm willing to pay if I have to.

    I don't think Time Machine is what I'm looking for - I'm not looking to backup my Hard Drive, or even mirror one Hard Drive onto another. I'm just looking to transfer the contents of one Hard Drive to a folder in another.

    SuperDuper! similar to Time Machine is focused on mirroring the contents of my main Hard Drive over to an external Hard Drive / Disk Image.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for software that would meet what I'm looking for here? It has to exist...
  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Your problem is likely the FAT32 format

    Check out the various file systems here: MR Guide: File Systems

  3. phnord thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    I don't think you understood my question. I am asking for a simple application that will be able to complete a file transfer from A to B, bypassing hiccups that occur along the way.

    This is a problem that I have had occur when copying files from one place to another in Finder many times - regardless of the format of the source and destination drives. The problem is that if Finder hits a file that it doesn't like for *any* reason, it will kill the whole transfer.

    For instance, I had an issue a couple of weeks ago where I was trying to transfer some files within Finder from my OSX partition to my Boot Camp partition on my internal HDD. I was dragging a big directory of files, and one file within them had the wrong owner set, along with no read permissions set for all.

    As a result, when Finder hit that file it threw a "The file xyz.txt could not be copied" style error, and aborted the whole transfer - which was annoying as all hell, since it had already been transferring for some thirty minutes.

    What I am asking for here is if anyone knows of a program that will copy files from A to B, skipping over any hiccups that occur along the way that it can't deal with. One that won't get halfway done, hit a snag, and then delete all of the progress it made.

  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    The Finder is only trying to protect you from losing any files.

    What about doing drive maintenance before the transfer such as with Disk Utilities or one of the other Mac Disk Utility programs.

    Bottom line, is that it sounds like you have some corrupted files that either need fixing (if possible), recovery (if possible) or deleting.
  5. phnord thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    Disk Utility is not going to do anything useful when scanning a FAT32 partition.

    I do not in fact believe that the disk contains any corrupted files. As I demonstrated, Finder exhibits the same kind of behavior when transferring large volumes of files when even a permission is incorrectly set on a single file in Mac OSX' native HFS+ filesystem on an internal drive. Given that we are talking now about an external drive formatted FAT32 - a filesystem that is not native to Finder and one that Finder is known to occasionally hiccup on - it is much more likely that the filesystem metadata regarding one of those files is slightly imperfect in such a way that Finder is having an issue with it.

    And even if that was the case, a good backup / transfer program would have options to deal with these issues as they come up. That is all I am asking for here - not advice on disk recovery and maintenance. Just the name of some good fully-featured file backup / transfer applications for the Mac, which could transfer data from one external HDD to folder in another external HDD.
  6. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Two times (on two MBPs), I have used carbon copy cloner to move all of my data from my HDD to an SSD. Both have been flawless, and I have been able to boot off of the new drive when completed. Google it and you will find the download link.

    I have never tried it with a Fat32 drive, but I think it would work. Check the documentation.

  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    You missed my point completely.

    My suggestion is to fix or remove the files with issues before attempting to copy your files. Make sense?

    And yes, Disk Utility can fix some issues. So can programs like SpinRite. As for cloning and backup software, there are options such as Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and SuperDuper (SD). Google is your friend.
  8. davidlv macrumors 65816

    Apr 5, 2009
    Kyoto, Japan
    LaCie has free software called SilverKeeper that should do what you want to do, but I do not know if it will work with the FAT32 file system. I do know it has problems working correctly on an AFP connection to a local network drive, due to file permission issues, but on a firewire or USB connection, it works flawlessly. SilverKeeper is actually synchronization software that can be set up to copy only files that have changed, use the "copy set to folder" option. I find it saves a lot of time to backup folders with constantly changing contents, data and music files, once you have it set up correctly. You might like to give it a try, and it's free.
  9. phnord thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    Thanks for the advice on Carbon Copy flynz4. It looks like it would be perfect - however, it unfortunately requires both drives to be HFS+.

    Sushi - as I mentioned in my OP, SuperDuper does not work for the purposes I've requested.

    I'll track down SilverKeeper and see if it can handle FAT32. If not, I think perhaps I should just reboot into Bootcamp and find a Windows utility that would function in the same manner...

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