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Are you encountering “Error-36” on your Mac when trying to copy files? Here’s how to stop it without no worries.

Mac PCs have always been the best computers. Mac PCs aren’t used to be having many errors or issues, however when they do, they have a tendency to be very hard, confusing and frustrating to fix. The error messages it displays are usually unclear and vague. Furthermore, the rarity of the errors means you probably won’t find much help on the internet. If you don’t have a clear understanding of the errors, how do you even know how to fix it? 

Fortunately, some of these errors have been discovered by users in the past and have been solved by experts. The error you are having now is just one of the common and strange errors.

Like I said, Error -36 is a strange error and it usually happens when you’re trying to copy files from one location (source) to another location (destination). Luckily for us, the solution for this error is actually very simple. All you need is to just use the Terminal app and some command lines to fix it.

Here’s how to fix this error

Open the Terminal app. You can do that through spotlight.
Copy and paste the below command line in the Terminal:

dot_clean /Path/To/Source/Directory

For instance, if the file you are having issues with is located under your Downloads directory which is located under your Home directory, you would modify it to look like below:

dot_clean ~/Downloads


dot_clean Users/UserName/Desktop/Test_Folder

Once you’ve entered the correct command line, go ahead and try copying the file again. It should work now, once the command line is correct.

Basically, on newer versions of Mac that use the HFS+ filesystem, files are usually stored as two parts: one part is called the data fork, which contains the real data of the file, and the other part is referred to as the resource fork, which holds metadata such as icon images and file versions.

However, not all file systems support this two-forked structure, so at times Mac separates the file into a data file and a resource file. The resource file will of course have the same name as the data file except prefixed by “._”. It works fine and accurately most of the time and can cause errors when moved between file systems. For instance, when you move a Mac file to a FAT32 drive then later you moved it back to your Mac could give the Error-36 error. 

What the dot_clean command does is it looks at a directory, browse through all the files in that directory and then tries to join all data files with their corresponding resource files. So if the first command line doesn’t work on a given directory, then you may need to use the dot_clean command on your entire file system, which should be carried out only after you’ve backed up your entire drive with Time Machine:

sudo dot_clean -n /

That’s all. This should work fine on your Mac and fix the Error-36. Did this fix the Error -36 on your Mac? Are there any other ways you know about to fix this error? Let us know in the comments below!

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