How to Resolve Error 36 on Mac While Copying Data to External Drive?

It is a frequently observed issue by Mac users that when attempted to copy data onto an external hard drive an error code 36 is thrown unexpectedly. With ongoing copy process, system displays - “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “DS_Store” can’t be read or written. (Error code -36)”.

DS_Store is the filename that is usually seen but this filename can vary depending on actual conflict within the system. Upon encountering such error your data transfer process will remain incomplete and copied items may not be in a proper format or stuck in between state. Your next action needs to be very careful as there are major chances of losing your vital data.

The actual reason behind this I/O error-36 is conflicts in your Mac file system. There involve file incompatibility issues, which arises when you tried to copy-paste files to or from Mac volumes that are compatible with Windows OS, during which the file gets corrupted an error message is popped up. This error status may come even when you are trying to copy data on USB drives.

Steps to Resolve Error 36 on Mac While Copying Data to External Drive: -

You may try to restart your Mac device and see if the problem repeats but probably that doesn’t fix anything. At this point, you can basically try to fix error-36 trouble with dot_clean:

Step 1. Open your Terminal on Mac by navigating through Application-> Utilities->Terminal (or instantly launch using Spotlight).

Step 2. On Terminal type dot_clean directory_path, replace directory_path with the path of your problematic folder by copying. You can also directly drag the folder into Terminal.

Step 3. Press Return/Enter button.

Now re-attempt to copy data on your external hard disk, hopefully you can succeed with this. In, some cases this error triggers constantly even after trailing with dot_clean.

Guide to Recover Data When Error 36 Occurs-

When you fail to fix Error 36, the hard disk will be in a condition that, it will not let you to directly access stored data on it. So, you need an application like Yodot Mac Data Recovery to restore data from Mac drive.

Step 1: Download Yodot Mac Data Recovery tool, install and launch it

Step 2: On running the program, the main screen appears with two distinct recovery options as: Volume Recovery and Formatted/Reformatted Recovery. Go with appropriate option

Step 3: Upcoming window prompts you to mark the drive from where data needs to be fetched

Step 4: Let the program to scan the specified drive. At the end of scan process, it displays all recoverable items, whereby you can pick desired files or even continue to get all retrievable contents

Step 5: View extracted drive data among File Types View or Data View styles

Step 6: Continue to store regained disk data on some safe storage location

Know More About Yodot Mac Data Recovery Tool-

An enriched set of algorithms implemented within this recovery program performs a thorough scan on your disk even though it shows an error or in a corrupted state, then extracts every part of saved information on your hard disk. Along with error on external drive, it can also helps to recover data from lost, deleted, inaccessible, corrupt, unrecognized external hard drives like Imation, Toshiba, Seagate, Transcend and many more. In other words, Yodot Mac Data Recovery tool serves to be a spectacular data retrieval solution supporting both internal and external hard drive types of various brand manufacturers. This utility also offers a convenient way for any individual users to carry out recovery process. In addition, it runs on all your Mac OS X versions including Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra.


  • Don’t use the drive that contains your vital data on multiple devices
  • Keep your system away from any logical or physical damage