Cannot install trial version

I recently cleaned up my old Macbook so I can try out the trial version of Scrivener. When I attempt to drag the file into my applications folder I get the following: “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “” can’t be read or written.
(Error code -36)” I am running Snow Leopard (10.6.4). Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Error code 36 has a few benign underlying problems, but most often it’s indicative of hardware or file system corruption—or in other words: it’s rarely good news to see that error. It means Input/Output error, which means that at a very deep level of your system, stuff can’t be written or read—way deeper than permissions or anything else that can be easily fixed on the surface. It means the drive head as a mechanical device isn’t seeking correctly, bad sectors (the computer might have been jolted or dropped at some point in the past) or that the elaborate indexing system that describes how stuff should be magnetically stored on the drive is failing. That sort of problem.

Like I say there are some more benign potential reasons for seeing this error. Copying files to/from Windows FAT16 formatting drives, for instance, can sometimes trigger this error—but I’m guessing your Applications folder is not on a Windows drive. Another relatively benign possibility is connector quality. If the drive is external, perhaps the cable itself, the plugs, or the sockets on either end are damaged. Swapping cables is the number 1 thing to do when seeing this error on an external drive. I’ve also seen it over file sharing networks—but again that’s probably not where your Applications folder is.

So I’d recommend doing a full drive backup as soon as possible. If you start seeing those things could fail at at time. Could be a week or a year, there is no way to know. But when/if it does crash, do a complete reformat when you reinstall the OS, and if the drive is recent enough, make a point to check the S.M.A.R.T. status on it (you can do that right now, it’s a harmless check).

While I agree with AmberV’s answer I was also looking for a solution. This worried me also. As a ‘shot in the dark’ on my macbook pro (osx 10.6.3) and having the same problems you had I did an apple software update to 10.6.8 and that solved my problem. Scrivener installed by dragging the icon to the applications folder with no problems.

Hope this helps. And to AmberV, thanks for the heads up…back up in process as we speak :slight_smile: Always good to have a back up. Imagine…I have just finished the Stephen King topping, number 1 best seller for 5 years running (i wish lol) and I didnt back up cos me hard drive crashed…“damn you laziness, damn you all to hell!” - that was planet of the apes that was :slight_smile:

The update could have in part obscured the underlying problem. If it was a bad sector, then running a widespread upgrade like an OS update would essentially make it so that the physical drive space that had been allocated for the next file in Applications to be aligned to another area of the drive. So in other words, you had a target painted on one spot of the drive with some mechanical or magnetic flaw, and copying new data into that target area wasn’t possible. After the update, so much stuff shifted around on the drive—physically speaking here—that the target is now pointing at another spot. You drop in Scrivener, and it works because the flaw is over in another area of the drive.

Thus, it probably didn’t fix the root problem, somewhere on the platter there is still an issue that may rear its head again (or if you’re lucky it might not), but it at least fixed the conditions that were revealing the root problem. :slight_smile:

What bothers me is that modern drives are much better about bad sectors than they used to be. In the day once you got a ding on the platter surface or something, there was nothing to do for it but reformat a “low level format” of the drive and full re-install. Nowadays the drive’s circuitry is capable of detecting issues like this and routing the allocation tables around the problem. Basically as time goes by, you just gradually lose usable disk space.

But yes, do back up, if it was just a bad sector you should be okay—it could cause system instability if the bad sector is now in the area of the drive that frequently gets used for virtual memory, or it might just set there unused for two years as well.

Yes, back up! Get thee an external drive, format it for the Mac OS file system, and then set Time Machine to do thy backups… and sin* no more!

  • Really, once the initial backup is done, Time Machine hardly impacts your machine at all. It’s almost a sin** to not take advantage of it.

** In good conscience, I cannot advise you to abstain from any other non-computer-specific vices, being a member of these forums in ‘good?’ standing. :smiling_imp: