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External Hard Drive not recognized

by mattwolfmatt / September 14, 2007 1:04 AM PDT

Hi - I just got a Seagate FreeAgent Go 120 GB External Hard Drive. Even after plugging in both (yes both) USB cables into my Mac Mini, the disk will spin and the light turn on, but it does not appear on my desktop.

I have found out that I need to format the hard drive using disk utility, but the drive does not appear on the desktop or on disk utility.

Here are my specs (as many as I can think of - I've only had a Mac a week now):

Mac Mini
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83 GHz
80 GB Internal HD
120 GB Seagate External Free Agent Go HD

Any ideas?

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still didn't work
by mattwolfmatt / September 14, 2007 4:12 AM PDT
In reply to: try this

I go through all the diagnostics, but they all assume the drive shows up in the disk utility (it doesn't). There is one trouble shooting section on what to do if it doesn't show up in the disk utility: go to system profiler and check to see if the machine sees it plugged in.

I go to the system profiler in the USB section and the drive doesn't show up there, either. The lights are on and blinking (at least for a while). Just plugging in one of the USB's results in beeping, which is normal, I've been told.

I'm taking it back and trying another brand. This is ridiculous.

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Seagate External on mac
by robwes79 / October 8, 2009 11:33 AM PDT
In reply to: still didn't work

Hey I dont if this will work or not, but I have a power book g4. I bought a Seagate 320gb hard drive a week ago and just hooked it up to my mac. Now at first it seemed like it wasnt recognized through disk utility and all, BUT if you plug in your hard drive using the dock, a mesesage will appear on screen saying " you have inserted a disk containing no volumes that mac os x can read. To use the unreadable volumes, click initialize. To continue with the disk inserted, click ignore". Now at this point you need to click on initialize. It will pull up the disk utility box and you will now see your external drive. Just click on it and click the erase tab choose what you want and erase.
Your done, I hope this helped and it works.


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having the same problem
by oogly_boogly_ / November 7, 2010 3:32 AM PST

hey... i am having this same problem. i see you say 'but if you plug in your hard drive using the dock...' How do you plug in your hard drive using the dock?

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Strange arrangement
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 14, 2007 4:24 AM PDT

I have been looking at all the pictures that I can find of this device and I can only see one USB port on the thing. This is on the RH side as you look at the curved front.

Is this the device that you have?

I guess my point is that I have never seen a USB HD that requires the use of two USB cables.

I would start over by removing all the cables from the device and just connecting one USB cable to the Mini.

Unless the drive is faulty, you should see one of two things:

1. An error dialog saying that the disk is unreadable and needs to be initialized
2. The disk mounts on the desktop


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2 usbs
by mattwolfmatt / September 14, 2007 6:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Strange arrangement
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Some of the new self powered USB external drives...
by grimgraphix / September 14, 2007 6:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Strange arrangement

... come with a single USB plug that attaches to your drive, and 2 USB plugs that attach to your computer. This is to allow for the fact that some computers don't pump enough volts out of a single USB port to power up your "USB powered" drive.

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2 usbs - I got it
by mattwolfmatt / September 14, 2007 6:50 AM PDT

I understand why there are two cables, but I included that so you could understand it. You said you'd never seen 2 USB cables on one device, so I thought I'd educate you.

Incidentally, I figured out the problem . . .

My Mac Mini has 4 USB ports. Usually they are setup this way:

1. wireless keyboard/mouse receiver
2. printer
3. speaker power (my cheap speakers get their power from the USB drive and their data from the normal speaker wire)
4. USB extension (for camera cards, Palm Pilots, flash drives, etc)

When I was trying to set this up, I had unplugged the extension cord and the speaker usb cable, leaving the speaker cable plugged in. I plugged both the USBs into the back of the mac mini. Nothing appeared on screen.

When I unplugged the speaker cable, everything worked fine. Weird!

Thanks for your help,

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That was me that had not seen
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 14, 2007 6:56 AM PDT
In reply to: 2 usbs - I got it

a two USB cable driven HD.

I guess if you have enough ports then there is no problem. How difficult would it have been to give it an option brick for regular home use.
Not all computers have the necessary power to run everything that can be plugged into them. There is only a finite amount of power on each USB bus.

Anyway, glad you back in business.


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