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I'm copying a lot of data between two hard drives. The first one (the source) was getting a lot of repetitive Finder Error -36 codes. Scanning the Console this is linked to an I/O Error coming from the kernel.

I felt the drives and both were very hot (one is an OWC Mercury Elite portable RAID and the source is a G-Technology G-Drive Mobile). They were hooked up in a FireWire 800 chain with the OWC drive in the middle.

Could these read errors be directly attributed to the source drive being hot? I have a fan pointed at them as well as the G-Drive on USB (to eliminate potential chaining issues) and it's working fine. It could be either, but I'm curious if there's a direct link between heat and read errors, not the least of which is to confirm that's what the issue is and not the drive itself as I've recently had a series of hard drive failures, fortunately with backups. However, if the G-Drive can't be trusted I need to make sure the data is on a third disk as well to maintain at least two reliable copies.

EDIT: The main reason I suspect temperature and not the drive itself is because the drive has seemed to be operating normally before, but in cooler environments and for shorter periods, so heat wouldn't have been an issue. On that thought, can read errors when hot indicate another problem that might manifest itself later?

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In Mac OS X, an overheated HDD can cause Finder Error -36. A symptom of this is an extremely long time to write a file or open a program. However, there is possibly an underlying issue with the drive. It sounds unusual, but shut down the computer and remove the source HDD. Wrap it in a paper towel and place it in a ziploc bag in your freezer for 30 minutes. Then install it into an external enclosure and connect it to a reliable Mac. Copy every file you can before it overheats again. What is the age of your computer? You should replace the HDD.

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