Mac Desktops forum


Can't find My External Hard Drive

by johnbattaglia / June 5, 2011 8:33 AM PDT
I am a new Mac user converting from the PC world. I have a new 27" iMac. I am trying to hook up a WD 2TB external hard drive to connect for backups. The external hard drive is connected via USB and is powered up, but I can not see it through Finder. Why can't i see it and how do i connect it to Time Machine for backups? Please help!
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Clarification Request
Similar Problem
by Inverted_One / February 14, 2012 6:57 AM PST

I have a similar problem.
I run a MacBook Pro Mac OS X 10.6.8 v1.1
Seagate 500Gb External HD partitioned 1/2 Time Machine, 1/2 important data.
I plugged it into my new TV and now I can't see the data part on my laptop anymore...only the time machine part shows up on the desktop.
Tried the reboot option as per suggestions here...
I have run Disk Utility and it says the disk needs repairing (only the data part - time machine tests ok)
What options do I have left and have I lost this data forever?


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Explain what 1/2 Time Machine, 1/2 important data means.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 14, 2012 9:05 AM PST
In reply to: Similar Problem

Are both partitions formatted as OS X Extended (Journaled)?

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500Gb HD: 200Gb for Time Machine/300Gb for general use
by Inverted_One / February 14, 2012 9:39 AM PST

Thanks for the quick feedback...much appreciated.

In answer to your questions:

Are both partitions formatted as OS X Extended (Journaled)? Yes.

Hopefully you are not going to tell us that even though you use Time
Machine to backup your MacBook Pro, the data on the important data
partition was never included in the Time Machine backup. *cough*'s like this...I just got into the habit of storing stuff on the HD...without backup. My bad.

Oh yes, what was the purpose of connecting the HD to the TV? I've become addicted to "The Walking Dead". Season 2 was stored on my HD. Seemed like a good idea at the time...

Thanks very much and I'll get back to you after I've tried to repair it.



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The plot thickens...
by Inverted_One / February 14, 2012 9:48 AM PST

Interestingly, the data part of the partitioned drive is now MS-DOS (FAT) instead of OS X Extended.

Does this make a difference to my options?

Utilities > Disk Utility can't fix it. Says to back up (sigh) and restore.

I don't care about the cost of Disk Warrior, but would it help in this situation?

Thanks again.

(I should point out that the data part has lots of work stuff that I need...not just B-grade American horror series Blush )

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(NT) Disk Warrior is certainly worth a try.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 10:03 PM PST
In reply to: The plot thickens...
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Clarification Request
similar problem
by mstenbo / March 9, 2012 2:26 PM PST

Hi all,
I have a similar problem.
I am a new Mac user.
I have an Imation Apollo external hard drive that I have been using as a backup and I would like to transfer files from it onto my new MacBook Pro.
The external HD works fine in my Toshiba laptop but won't show up on my Mac at all.
I can't find it in the finder or the disk utility.
Any ideas why not?
Do I need to format the disk for Mac?
Thanks for your help in advance.

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Formatting that drive will destroy ALL the data it contains.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 10:11 PM PST
In reply to: similar problem

Here is a suggestion.
COPY all the files that are on that drive into a new folder on the Toshiba laptop. (Using Copy here to avoid any possible problems)
Once all have been transferred, use the Toshiba to format the drive as FAT32. This will remove all data from the drive. This includes any proprietary software that may have come with it.
Once formatted, connect it to the Mac and see if it appears on the Desktop. If it does, disconnect and go back to the Toshiba.
Copy all the files that you want to transfer to the Mac, back onto the drive.
Connect the drive to the Mac and copy the files off the drive onto the Mac.

If you intend on using that drive exclusively on the Mac, then have Disk Utility format the drive as Mac OS X Extended(journaled).


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I will try and keep you posted
by mstenbo / March 10, 2012 6:27 AM PST

Thanks for your help.
I will try this and get back to you.

re. my double post - I was not looking for a faster answer. I am new to this forum and posted in this thread. Later I was not sure if this was the right place for my question as I realized this was the desktop forum.
I also had trouble finding my original post as I hadn't subscribed to this thread. I have done so now.
It was an honest mistake. I am not a regular forum user and apologize if I have offended anyone.

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Don't worry about it.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 10, 2012 7:24 AM PST

Something else you might want to check before you go formatting.

Click on an empty space on your desktop so that the word next to the Apple, at the top left of the screen, says Finder.
Click on the word Finder and select Preferences.
Under General, make sure that there is a check mark next to External Disks.
Under Sidebar, repeat the above.


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Problem solved
by mstenbo / March 18, 2012 8:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't worry about it.

Problem solved,
I threw away the Imation and bought a Western Digital.
All good now.
Thanks for your help.

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(NT) You're welcome
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 18, 2012 12:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Problem solved
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Similar problem
by Debralette / July 28, 2013 1:00 PM PDT

Hi I have a similar problem and it's driving me insane!

I have a hitachi hard disk that cannot be detected by my new Mac book air.

I copied out everything on my old PC and reformatted it to exFAT, plugged it into the Mac but it's still not detected on disk utility or anything. The external disks box is checked on finder preferences.

It works fine on my pc but not my Mac...


Could you help me please?
Thank you,

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Start a new thread instead of hijacking one that is
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 28, 2013 9:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Similar problem

years old.

It becomes less confusing then.

All Answers

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How to find that drive
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 5, 2011 9:00 AM PDT

With the Mac turned on, turn OFF the USB drive.
Wait for 5 seconds and turn it back on again.
The drive should appear on the desktop.
If it doesn't, try this:
Finder > Preferences. General Tab. Make sure there is a check mark in the "show these items on the desktop" External Drives.
Still nothing?
Launch Disk Utility.
Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
If the drive does not appear in the Disk Utility menu, then the drive is either defective or not connected.

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External Drive
by grytpipe / July 10, 2011 4:50 PM PDT
In reply to: How to find that drive

I have a similar problem. Finder can see and open my 4GB external disc, but Mail doesn't see it when I want to attach a file. I have to copy that file to eg desktop and then attach in to the email. Disc utility doesn't see the external disc although I can open its files with finder.

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I suspect that Mail can see that drive
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 10, 2011 9:51 PM PDT
In reply to: External Drive

quite well.
Could it be that you are not pointing Mail to the correct location when you try to attach a file to your email.

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similar problem
by peadair78 / February 12, 2012 5:20 AM PST
In reply to: How to find that drive

Hi there i have a issue with my hard drive.... It wont appear on the desktop but it is in disk utility If ido what you suggested above will i still keep my data just have all my photos on this drive

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NO! You will lose ALL your data
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 12, 2012 7:56 AM PST
In reply to: similar problem

do only the following.

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My Powerbook can't see portable HDD (NTFS)
by AlexakaRosco / March 21, 2012 11:57 PM PDT


My Powerbook G4 (Mac OS X 10.5.8) can't see portable USB HDD (formatted in NTFS) ADATA Superior SH93 (500 GB). Although it's visible on PC (Windows Vista) and another Mac (Intel iMac). What's the problem?

However, when the USB HDD is plugged to Mac, it's powered by the Mac, blue light (signal light) is switched on, and the HDD's constantly rhythmically clicking.

I tried different kinds of Paragons, but nothing helped.

Can anyone help me with this problem?

ps I can't format this disc now (to Fat32 for e.g.), cos there are a lot of needful data for me.

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Re: clicking
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 22, 2012 12:00 AM PDT

Clicking usually means that it doesn't have enough power.
Using an Y-data cable (two USB-ends) might help, And/or a powered hub between the Powerbook and the disk.


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Re: clicking - about two USB-ends cable
by AlexakaRosco / March 22, 2012 12:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: clicking


Thanks for your reply!

Sorry for some silly questions, but what does it mean - Y-data cable (2 USB-ends)?

Can you please clear up about powered hub?

Where can I find and what does it look like?

Thanks in advance!

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Links only
by Kees_B Forum moderator / March 22, 2012 12:47 AM PDT
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by ChrisMacuse / March 4, 2012 4:03 AM PST
In reply to: How to find that drive

Thnx you helped me a lot !

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(NT) you're welcome
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 4, 2012 8:41 AM PST
In reply to: !!
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HD does not appear in the disk utility
by whizkid_rrb / March 8, 2012 11:37 PM PST
In reply to: How to find that drive

Hey !

I have a 500gb freeagent go. i was setting up time machine on it for the first time and before it cud back up al the data it got ejected and now when i try to connect it , the HD keeps blinking and doesn't get detected on my macbook pro.
Please help me solve this problem . I have very important data on it. If its not possible anymore then can you tell me how to recover data from it ?

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Link, comment.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 12:39 AM PST
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blinking problem
by whizkid_rrb / March 9, 2012 1:17 AM PST
In reply to: Link, comment.

Hey !

Thanks for the reply. I have tried using Y cable but still keeps on blinking. Any idea what cud be the problem and what can i do to get my HD detected in disk utility?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 1:20 AM PST
In reply to: blinking problem

But all I know is what is presented here. At this point I'd have to try the drive in a new enclosure or in a desktop so I know there is no power issue.

Some owners will not try a new enclosure and end up sending such to places (this is a fine one)

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I have a problem too
by LinzLansky / August 20, 2012 5:29 AM PDT
In reply to: How to find that drive

Hi, I have a new MacBook Pro 13'

My Toshiba HD appears on Disk Utility, but not on Finder. I try doing what you suggested above, but nothing worked. The Drive is formated as OS X Extended (Journaled) and was used before on my boss's Mac. I'm working from home and I can't access my HD. BTW, I can't turn off my USB drive Sad
When I connect the drive, its light turns on and sounds like processing, like running, but I still can't see it on Finder.
Any idea?
Thank you

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Re: drive
by Kees_B Forum moderator / August 20, 2012 5:38 AM PDT
In reply to: I have a problem too

If it still is formatted, you should be able to see it. The most likely cause that you don't see it is that it isn't formatted any more. Such things to happen.

I'd first try it on your boss's Mac. That will probably show it needs reformatting (and possibly repartioning).


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