Mac cant see external hard drive

Both of them will be referenced a lot. First we will check the basics, and from there we make sure that MacOS is set up to display external drives, can mount the drive, and that the drive has no errors on either the disk itself or its file structure.


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As William Ockham once said, the simplest solution tends to be the best one. Considering that, let us check all the basics first. Get into the habit of doing this with any computer issues, as it can save time, money, and hassle in the long run. First, make sure Finder will display drive icons. Formatting a hard drive for use with your Mac?

Helpful answers

Here are your macOS file system options and how to pick the best one for you. Read More that your computer cannot write to.

Here's how to fix a locked Mac drive and get it working again. If you find your drive here, try accessing it. Check the boxes to determine which drives show up on your desktop.

Fixing an external hard drive that’s not showing up on Mac

This system utility lists all connected drives, with mounted or unmounted partitions listed below. If your drive appears in Disk Utility but you are unable to mount any partitions, you may still be able to recover data from that drive. Digital camera SD card corrupted itself?


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  • Mount the Drive in Finder?

Don't despair — here's what you can do to recover your files on your own. Some users have reported success in getting their previously missing drives to show up by rebuilding the macOS launch services database. You can rebuild the database by downloading and installing free maintenance app OnyX. Launch it and input your administrator password so that OnyX can make changes.

Method 1: Do some basic checks

The app may ask to verify the structure of your desk; click Continue and wait if so. OnyX will appear unresponsive while the process completes. Once OnyX comes back to life, click on the Maintenance tab followed by Rebuilding.

1. Change the Finder settings

Make sure that LaunchServices is checked you can uncheck the rest then click Run Tasks at the bottom of the window. While this happens, Finder may become unresponsive. Once the process is complete, restart your Mac. Try reconnecting your missing drive once it reboots. Some older drives require USB leads with separate power connectors. If the drive shows up here, but not in Windows Explorer, you might have to assign a drive letter to the disk.

Normally, Windows does this automatically, but sometimes because of other connected devices, your external hard drive will be recognized, but not have any drive letter assigned to it. Pick a letter for your drive and you should be good to go. On Macs, the drive should automatically appear on the desktop. If not, go to Disk Utility and check to see if it appears under the heading External.

External Drive Troubleshooting – Mac | WD Support

If the drive is showing here, but not on the OS X desktop, then click First Aid to try and repair the drive. If the drive is not showing up in Disk Management or Disk Utility at all, you have some other type of problem. Scroll down to the Not Showing Up section below. You can get Windows to do it, but you have to purchase third-party software. The only other option is to format the hard drive and use the FAT32 format for the best compatibility. If you see this message, it just means that Windows does not recognize the file system on the drive. Make sure you connect the drive to the appropriate operating system and backup any data that you might need before performing a format.

The legacy format that is most compatible is FAT32, but it limits you to only 4 GB for max file size. You can read my previous post on how to format an external hard drive using FAT If you need support for bigger files, then you should use the exFAT format.