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Can't locate WD external HD on my iMac desktop

by spirithawkvideo / April 29, 2009 1:53 AM PDT

My iMac froze up so I restarted it but have been unable to find my WD external HD. I'm using the firewire connection, I've tried turning the ExHD off but it won't turn off (the light stays on anyway). I haven't resorted to unplugging it yet. All connections are secure. I've looked in Systems Preference folder and the box is checked to show external devices on my desktop. Is it safe to try unplugging/re-plugging the ExHD?....or what else can I try?

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Are you willing to try?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 29, 2009 3:01 AM PDT

Shutdown, unplug and try the USB connection too. It was a darn shame to charge someone to do that for them last month. I can't explain why they insisted on firewire only. At least try the other connections if they exist.

Those drives may arrive in FAT32 format and you should find the content to vanish until you use a native format for your machine.

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Got it working!
by spirithawkvideo / April 29, 2009 10:16 AM PDT

Well, simply shutting down and unplugging did the trick...and keeping the firewire hookup...thanks Bob!!

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Good to hear.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 29, 2009 10:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Got it working!

But please avoid, don't use FAT32 volumes or at least don't count on them to stick around long.

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Firewire and USB
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 29, 2009 11:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Got it working!

When a Firewire or USB device has been removed by dragging the icon to the trash, the FW or USB cable has to be physically unplugged and plugged back in again.
Both connections are hot swappable but both need to be ejected from the desktop correctly.
It's possible that when your Mac froze, the system saw the external drive as being ejected.
Unplugging and re-plugging did the trick.

As Bob advised, get that drive formatted as OS X HFS+(Journaled) as soon as possible.

If you are running 10.5, you can then use the drive as the Time Machine backup drive


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by spirithawkvideo / April 29, 2009 12:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Firewire and USB

Thanks for the advice but I have to admit it's all Greek to me..I haven't a clue how to "format the exHD as OS X HFS+(Journaled)"
How do you do that? And what will happen if I don't?

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Format, here's how:
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 29, 2009 11:36 PM PDT
In reply to: ???

1. Copy ALL data that you want to save, back on to the internal HD (ALL data currently on the external will be deleted during the next 9 steps!)
2. Open Disk Utility. (Found in the Applications > Utilities folder
3. Find your drive in the left hand column of Disk Utility.
4. Select it by SINGLE clicking on it.
5. Choose Partition from the Tabs in the Right Hand window. (RH window now changes)
6. In the dropdown menu, above the visual representation of the drive, choose 1 partition. (The dropdown probably says something like "Current" to begin with)
7. On the right of the RH window, you should see the word "Untitled" as the name of the drive. Change it to whatever your heart desires.
8. In the same area, you will see the format type choices. It probably defaulted to OS X Extended(journaled) or HFS+(Journaled) or similar. If it didn't, use the dropdown menu to choose that format.
9. Click the Apply button at the bottom left of the window. (It may say Partition or OK or something similar)
10. Let the Disk Utility do its thing. The drive will unmount from the desktop and then reappear using the name you gave it in step 7

That's it, you are done. The whole process, 1 through 10 should not take more than 10 minutes to complete.

Drives formatted as FAT are notoriously unstable and there is a distinct possiblity that you will wake up to an empty drive one day.
It is always best to format the drive for the Operating system you are using. NTFS for Windows and HFS+(Journaled) for Mac.

You may even find that all these instructions were in the box that this drive was shipped in. They are in the Seagate external drives.

Remember, ALL data, currently on the external drive, will be DELETED during this process.

Holler if you get stuck


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Thanks P ; )
by spirithawkvideo / April 29, 2009 11:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Format, here's how:

Thanks so much for the detailed instructions! (My Western Digital box contained virtually nothing for instructions other than a sheet of paper visually showing how to hook it up and that was it...I couldn't believe it...!) I will follow your instructions this afternoon after i get back home...thanks again!

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by spirithawkvideo / May 3, 2009 12:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Format, here's how:

Thanks for the wonderfully detailed instructions!!! It worked beautifully.

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Ext HD missing again...nothing seems to bring it back!
by spirithawkvideo / May 16, 2009 1:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Format, here's how:

Help again!!
A storm came through so i had to shut down fast and later when I turned it back on my Ext. HDrive it missing again! I shut down and unplugged like last time but it didn't work this time...tried it again using the usb wire this time but still no luck...NOW what do I do??? !!!

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Must ask the obvious
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 16, 2009 11:02 PM PDT

After the storm, does the hard drive actually turn on and make the "normal" noises or does it "click", rhythmically.

Is the power supply on that drive an external power brick or internal?

Does the drive appear in the Disk Utility?

Have you contacted WD about this problem? The drive is probably under warranty.

Shut down everything, including the computer. Connect everything as it should be. (use the firewire connection). Power up the drive. Once up and running, fire up the computer.
What happened?


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on again!
by spirithawkvideo / May 17, 2009 2:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Must ask the obvious

you must have the magic touch ; )
I tried shutting down again and it worked this time...the only different thing i did was to power up the Ex HD first, then the computer...but i do have another question...when shutting down, am I suppose to drag the exHD to the trash first like I do the printer? Also, I can't seem to get the exHD to shut off completely by using the power button...unplugging is the only way the light goes out on it...i've tried holding the power button in for 10-15 seconds like i have to with my mac but it still didn't there a trick or is just unplugging it ok to do....
But anyway, thank you so much once again!!!
Jamie ; )

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Shutting down
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 17, 2009 9:59 AM PDT
In reply to: on again!

When you shut down your Mac, it is NOT necessary to disconnect ANY of the devices first.
This includes the printer.

Just shut down your Mac and it will take care of the housekeeping for you.

Just leave the external HD running, you may find that it shuts itself down after a while.
Leave the printer running, it will go to standby after a while.

You can actually leave you Mac running 24/7, it won't harm it. It will go to sleep and shut down the Hard Drives when it is necessary.

To restart after you have shut down your computer. Just power it up as normal, ignore the external drive (assuming that you did not unplug it!!!), ditto the printer, and all will come back up again without a problem.


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Don't understand how??
by spirithawkvideo / April 29, 2009 12:33 PM PDT

I don't understand how to do this...where do I go and what would some examples be of a "native format" be?

"Those drives may arrive in FAT32 format and you should find the content to vanish until you use a native format for your machine"

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