View Full Version : intermittent error -36

06-25-2009, 02:52 PM
Hey so Ive been getting the "error -36" "operation could not be completed because file "" could not be read or written when trying to backup one external firewire drive to another drive (either another external firewire, or my internal startup drive). After the error, the copy operation will hang and be impossible to cancel, forcing a find relaunch about 50% of the time.
-Disk Utility finds no problems with the disk
-The filenames do not contain illegal characters
-If I try enough times the problem file(s) will eventually copy, but then another file will become the problem, suggesting that the file itself is NOT actually corrupted. After successful copy, the file (an MP3) plays just fine. Subsequently, I will have trouble copying that same file again.

There are no strange noises from the HD and I can feel the vibrations from it spinning as normal.

My guess is that the HD is on its last legs and is acting flaky but that the data is still OK... what can I do to rescue the data before the damn thing dies completely??

Now before anyone jumps on me to UTFSE, I have searched extensively, but havent found anything that addresses my specific situation (except for a mention in a thread here that these errors are typically NOT transient)

06-25-2009, 04:50 PM
Please post some info about your computer... software version, a G4, G5 or other, tower or other, total RAM, any extra hardware drives or cards internal/external? and it's primary use. This will help us. ;)

06-25-2009, 08:04 PM
Don't worry, no jumping here. :)

Get your data off that drive any way you can first. Disk Warrior is the first tool to try if you have it. Info (as RWM suggested) helps when you have a minute. Gotta run, more later.

06-26-2009, 12:12 PM
It was a bad firewire cable it seems. Funny because I bought one just a year ago (due to the drive not showing up on my hard drive lol). Glad I didnt spend $ on disk warrior. I feel like quite the fool though.. I guess I thought it would be like getting struck by lightning twice but I guess firewire just isnt that reliable (I didnt do anything untoward to that cable, i mean obviously it had to bend to reach around my computer, but it was never bent on a sharp angle (and certainly never folded back on itself, forced to support weight or anything like that)

Now the question who makes sturdy firewire cables? Guess I panicked a bit posting but I wasnt anxious to spend $ on a new firewire cable if not necessary.
Has any testing organization ever done a study of the average lifespan of firewire cables?

Thanks for the help!

06-26-2009, 01:06 PM
There is no better Firewire cable made than the Granite Digital cables we carry! You cannot go wrong with them. They, and we, even answer our phones should you need any assistance with them, ever.

Firewire 400 cables here (http://www.macgurus.com/productpages/firewire/FWCables.php)

Firewire 800 cables here (http://www.macgurus.com/productpages/firewire/FW800Cables.php)


06-26-2009, 02:11 PM
they cost a pretty penny though... might get one but will avoid firewire devices in the future (seems like Apple was wise to abandon it!) Kindof silly of a cable costs half the price of a new drive!

06-26-2009, 07:35 PM
One bad cable does not condemn the entire protocol! If you get a bad USB cable, will you skip that too? :p

I use FW everyday, on lots of machines at work, and it is much more solid than USB. Get a new cable, even a cheap one (the vast majority work fine for me; maybe 1 out of 100 is bad) and go for it. Yes, the Granite cables are the best, but any "good" cable will work fine 98% of the time.