Error Code -36 Mac [Solved]

Mac OS error codes are usually few and far between. The average Mac user typically has a very reliable experience with their device; however, when things do go wrong with a Mac (and they sometimes do), they can break quite spectacularly. The Mac Error Code -36 is one particular error that usually implies bad news. This unexpected error message occurs during a copy process.

Gillware, a Madison, Wisconsin-based data recovery company, has been helping Mac users get their critical data back for close to 20 years. We see numerous Apple products with an error code arrive at our lab, including iPhones, Mac Minis, MacBook Pro laptops, and more.

Have You Experienced Error Code -36 on Your Mac?

Talk to an expert about Error Code -36 and getting your data back. Get a no-hassle consultation today!

What Is Mac Error Code -36?

The Mac Error Code -36 is a Mac error that affects the program Finder, a file system tool that is used to browse, search, and delete files, sort of the Mac OS X version of Windows Explorer. The Mac error code -36 happens when using this program to copy files from a source to a destination. The source doesn’t matter; this error code happens on all sorts of devices such as network drives, pen drives, flash drives, USB drives, an external drive, or even when copying system files between a local Mac hard drive.

The full error message is “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “FileName” can’t be read or written. (Error code -36).” The most common cause of this disk operation issue is to do with the hidden “.DS_Store “files. These files are a proprietary Mac OS X system file that holds attributes and metadata about the folder it resides in.

How Error Code -36 Works

When data is copied from the Mac filesystem to a non-Mac filesystem such as Fat32 or FatEX, one starts to notice these files. The purpose of the DS_Store is to hold information about a folder, such as the size of folder windows, thumbnails for files, etc. When you open a folder in Finder, it is the DS_Store file that tells Mac OS X how everything should look on-screen.

In normal circumstances, the DS_Store file can be safely deleted without error, and all that will happen when deleting files like these is the folder attributes will reset to default. But serious issues occur when these files become damaged or if the operating system expects a different DS_Store attribute. When this happens, it’s like having corrupted files.

There are several concerns raised by Mac OS X users about how the DS_Store file operates. While stored in every folder, because it is hidden, most Mac users don’t know it exists. An error can occur when files and folders are shared between Windows, Linux, and Mac OS computers. Unlike on Mac OS X, on Windows and Linux, DS_Store files are not hidden.

These errors have been the subject of many complaints from Mac customers, even prompted Apple, Inc. to publish a means to disable the creation of these files on remotely mounted network file systems. However, local disks are still littered with them. DS_Store files have been known to adversely affect copy operations. If multiple files are selected for file transfer, the copy operation will retroactively cancel all progress upon reaching a (duplicate) DS_Store file, forcing the user to restart the copy operation from the beginning.

How to Fix Mac Error Code -36 – What to Do When an Unexpected Error Occurred

If you search the Internet, you will see that there are many potential home fixes for this error code available; however, please be aware that the success rate for many of these error fixes and third party software solutions is very low and depends on several factors that can present as the same problem, a -36 Error Code. If the metadata in the DS_Store file on one of your Flash Memory Cards has become corrupt, you may never be able to get your data back with a home fix.

What you need to do is to get in touch with a Data Recovery Expert like Gillware. Our team has been fixing the Error Code -36 issue for many years. Our teams have tens of thousands of hours clocked in our data recovery lab, and we have specialists in a variety of technology sectors (Mac OS is one of them).

First, decide if you are prepared to lose your data. If you can risk it, then here are some potential fixes. There is no guarantee that a home fix will work, so if you need to get back your treasured photographs or critical work files, it might be best to avoid this section.

Fix 1 – Run disk utility to check the health of the drive

The First Aid application comes built-in with all versions of Mac OS X and is used to validate the health of your disks; it will work for an internal drive or an external hard drive. First Aid is a great tool to establish whether you are having issues with your source media.

  1. From the Apple menu, Launch Finder > Go > Utilities and open Disk Utility
  2. Select the drive that is causing issues and click First Aid (located on the first aid tab)
  3. Run the Verify Disk utility to scan the drive.
  4. Wait for the task to complete and you will get a summary of the media. If any errors are encountered, you can opt to get First Aid to attempt a logical fix.

Fix 2 – Check the file permissions you are trying to copy

Mac and Linux filesystems are very particular on file permissions, and if you are copying from a foreign device, the file permissions may be mismatched.

  1. Use Finder to locate the file(s) you are trying to copy from (the source)
  2. Click on Get Info
  3. Look for the Locked Files option, and make sure it is unchecked
  4. Locate the Sharing and Permissions tab and select Everyone (making sure read/write permissions are enabled)

This fix will give the entire system access to your file(s), so use caution if you are a business and you don’t want to share files with other users.

Fix 3 – Copy the files via the command line

If all else fails and you are confident enough with the command line, you can attempt to copy the files/folders from Terminal or iTerm.

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Navigate to the source folder (e.g cd /media/usb)
  3. Copy the file(s) to your local disk (e.g cp myfile.txt /tmp)

That Didn’t Fix Mac Error Code -36; What Should I Do Next?

Unfortunately, there is a good chance that none of the above fixes will have worked. This is because metadata is critical to Mac OS X, so having a damaged DS_Store file can be a significant unexpected error.

Do you want your files back? Then rest easy, because Gillware is here to recover data from your computer.

Contact Gillware

Contact the Gillware Client Support Team on 1-877-624-7206 or via our website. Our team will provide a shipping label to send your source device or hard drive and ship it to our Data Recovery Lab. Alternatively, if you are in the Detroit Metro area, you can drop off your computer, media, or hard drive at our Detroit Office.

Upon arrival at the Gillware Lab, your media will be cataloged by our team. This will automatically create an online account for each customer that can be checked to see the immediate status of their case. Next, our data recovery expert will complete an initial assessment of the error, work out what the fault is, and estimate what percentage of files can be recovered.

Getting Your Data Back

These first steps are completely free for the customer. Gillware offers a free evaluation service and free inbound shipping. That way, the customer has the final say on whether to proceed, making this process completely risk-free.

Only after confirmation from the customer will our data recovery experts proceed with recovering files. Mac Error Code -36 is typically a logical error; however, hardware-related problems may be responsible for the error. Gillware experts will attempt to image your media, be it an external drive, USB drive, etc. Our proprietary software called Hombre will attempt a 1:1 copy. Hombre is operating system agnostic, meaning that the DS_Store error code will not impact its ability to read your media.

If Hombre cannot image the media, our engineers will get the media into a state so that it can be read. Hombre can reconstruct data using complex data science algorithms. After data reconstruction, we copy and extract critical data. This data can be copied to new media and shipped directly to the customer or uploaded to our secure cloud for the client.

If the source data is damaged (perhaps a hard disk is clicking or beeping) our engineers will need to strip the drive in an ISO cleanroom environment. We may need to use our proprietary burnishing machine to clean the disk platters, rebuild the head stack, or locate spare parts from our extensive donor part library.

Have You Experienced Error Code -36 on Your Mac?

Talk to an expert about Error Code -36 and getting your data back. Get a no-hassle consultation today!

Gillware Data Recovery
Gillware Data Recovery
Articles: 21