The other day I downloaded DriveDx and found out my Macbook’s internal SSD is failing. The reason is related to wear leveling that’s led to a rapidly growing number of retired blocks and I/O errors. It says the drive only has 3% of life left and to backup immediately. Today my plan was to do full backups (I know I should’ve done this before — but unfortunately didn’t. I’ve had a 3-2-1 plan in the works but not soon enough).

Earlier I was trying to move the most important files to an external drive beforehand just in case something goes wrong with backup. I was able to copy a few big files but then started getting the “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “FileName” can’t be read or written. (Error code -36)” error. After learning that the amount of times an SSD is written to wears it out, I’m wondering if the amount of file transfer involved with Time Machine or Disk Utility backup will actually make things worse. I also have an Mac Mini that I can connect it to for Migration Assistant or Target Disk Mode — but I was wondering if it would throw the same error. I'm concerned these options that use heavy read/write processes may exacerbate the issue.

I’m trying to figure out the best course of action before moving forward. I was wondering if I should attempt to do a backup through Time Machine or Disk Utility, try to transfer files over with Migration Assistant or Target Disk Mode, or if that could make the problem worse and if I should send it to a professional for data recovery.

  • I would just use Finder to copy the most important data to another disk. Copy again any files with errors. Repeat errors are bad news. And, the less you use the disk the better - booting from an external disk would help that (you can prepare one on your Mini). Prof data recovery is lots of money - you have to ask if the data is worth it?
    – Gilby
    Mar 8 at 6:48


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