Lizziejh

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2016
110
17
UK
Hi
I have a Macbook Pro MAC OS High Sierra vs 10.13.6

I need a 1 TB external hard drive to back up all my photos and documents. One that I can password rote the. I'm looking for recommendations please. Thanks

At the same time, I have a Toshiba external drive, one that I have used since I got the Mac 4 yers ago, and when I plugged it in, it won't show in finder or disk utility, I can hear it spinning. I have rebooted the laptop but it still doesn't show. Does this mean I've lost everything or is there a way to extract whats on the drive. Thanks
 
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clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
136
65
Have you tried a different usb cable? Your power adapter could also be a possible problem by not providing sufficient energy to the external hard drive. I think Toshiba drives are pretty reliable.
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
807
766
Any brand works (there are only 3 left with HDDs.) Alternatively, you can now get inexpensive 1 TB SSDs from a variety of brands like Crucial, Samsung, ADATA, and many others. The key is to make sure important files are never kept on a single drive, as any brand drive can fail, and sometimes they fail without warning. There are a few ways to do this ranging from where you manually save the files on two or more externals, to where you use software to do this (e.g., Carbon Copy Cloner, soft raid, etc.), or you use hardware to do this (e.g., hardware RAID 1). Knowing a bit more about your specific MacBook and your usage scenario would help make recommendations.

As for the Toshiba, what model is it? What file format is it in? (HFS+, APFS, exFAT, etc.) Have you ruled out a bad power cable and/or data cable and have you tried it on a different computer?
 
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Lizziejh

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2016
110
17
UK
I tried a different cable and both cables I have work ok on my other Toshiba drive.



What is SSD please?



I have two drives, the other still works ok. I’m saving photos, videos (home movie) and personal documents. I also use the drives for backups. I just cut and paste photos/docs from the Mac to the drives.



I’m not techie, just a 70 year old trying to back up personal stuff.



I appreciate you took time to help.



Can I just but a drive that’s compatible with Mac that I can password protect?
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I use Samsung T5s and T7s for backups and for supplemental drives. These are external SSDs (solid state drives) which are significantly faster than the old HDDs (hard disk drives), and since my 2018 MacBook Pro also has an internal SSD it just makes sense to use faster external drives. I do use a couple of older external HDDs for archival purposes, as I do a lot of photography and need to store my images somewhere other than on my computer's internal drive.

Prices on external SSDs have come down significantly since the early days, and they can be found at stores such as MicroCenter, Best Buy, the Apple store and also online at Amazon and other sites.
 

ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
807
766
I tried a different cable and both cables I have work ok on my other Toshiba drive.



What is SSD please?



I have two drives, the other still works ok. I’m saving photos, videos (home movie) and personal documents. I also use the drives for backups. I just cut and paste photos/docs from the Mac to the drives.



I’m not techie, just a 70 year old trying to back up personal stuff.



I appreciate you took time to help.



Can I just but a drive that’s compatible with Mac that I can password protect?


When you first got the drive that is not working, did you immediately begin using it or did you go to Disk Utility for format (i.e., erase & reconfigure) it? If it was 4 years ago, if you did originally perform this format, the options should have looked like this:
Screen Shot 2020-10-04 at 1.20.22 PM.jpg


Effectively, it's important to know if the drive is in exFAT or HFS+ (AKA OS X Extended) format, as if the drive is functional and this is software corruption, the implications are very different as is the course of action. If you are not sure if this, that is okay too. (The next step will be trying to pull SMART metrics on the drive, which can tell us if a drive has likely had a mechanical failure. This requires a third party App, which I'll show you where to get it/how to use it.)






With future drives, you can buy any hard drive and use it with Mac. If it is not in a proper Mac format when brand new, you will use this feature in the Disk Utility to format it into a Mac format.

We've recently been using these guys here:

When the drive is brand new, you will want to go to Disk Utility and perform this format, so you can put it into either HFS+ or APFS format (Mac format) and then encrypt the drive to add password protection. You will generally want to do this with ANY drive you purchase if you are using a Mac, as very few drives ship in Mac formats out of the box. Some drives ship in exFAT format to enable Windows and Mac access. You do NOT want to use exFAT unless it is absolutely essential. exFAT is a terrible file system and should be avoided if at all possible.
 
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jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
6,869
3,789
SF Bay Area
If you have a decent internet connection, a cloud system can be a reasonable alternative. It can store your photos, make them available remotely, and ensure that event of a fire, flood, or theft at home, the photos and data are available.

I use both a local NAS and also backup the NAS to the cloud. The basic backup rule is that something is not backup-ed until it is in 3 locations, with one being off-site.
 

glenthompson

Contributor
Apr 27, 2011
2,658
614
Virginia
One possible fix for the external is to put it in the freezer for a few hours. Take it out, hook it up and see if you read it. If so have another drive ready to copy the data to.
 

HDFan

Contributor
Jun 30, 2007
3,189
1,063
I use Samsung T5s and T7s for backups and for supplemental drives.

SSDs for backup are a waste of money. There are times when SSD's are indicated (boot drives, rapid access to data, poor environmental conditions) but in most instances the extra cost is not worth it. Once you have done your first backup to a hard disk incremental backups are fast, so you don't seed that speed. With the $ saved you can purchase a larger drive which will allow you to keep a longer backup history, assuming you use a versioned backup program such as Time Machine. But don't rely on TM as your only backup, follow at least a 3-2-1 strategy with one backup created with a more reliable program, such as Carbon Copy Cloner.

Anything but Seagate. Seagate is hot garbage.

No longer true, except for some models.

 

clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
136
65
What is a 3 2 1 strategy?

Also I wonder if is the physical hard drive that is acting up or a problem like a worn usb connector in the enclosure or a bad capacitor in the power supply or enclosure. If you have any other ac adapters that have the same voltage output and have the same or greater amp output rating and same polarity you can try them in place of the present one.
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
3,711
5,141
Anything but Seagate. Seagate is hot garbage.
I've had a few Seagate drives over the years and I don't think they've been any more or less reliable than any others. Open literally any forum thread about drives and you'll find someone saying that "[known brand] is crap" because they happened to have one die on them.

I just buy whatever's on sale from a known brand (Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate, etc) and never, ever trust any one drive with the only copy of anything. Any drive can fail at any time -- but in practice I've only seen a few failures in the past 20 years of using external hard drives. Generally I just find that the drive from 5 years ago that seemed spacious and fast has been superceded in speed and capacity.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
SSDs for backup are a waste of money. There are times when SSD's are indicated (boot drives, rapid access to data, poor environmental conditions) but in most instances the extra cost is not worth it. Once you have done your first backup to a hard disk incremental backups are fast, so you don't seed that speed. With the $ saved you can purchase a larger drive which will allow you to keep a longer backup history, assuming you use a versioned backup program such as Time Machine. But don't rely on TM as your only backup, follow at least a 3-2-1 strategy with one backup created with a more reliable program, such as Carbon Copy Cloner.



No longer true, except for some models.


My backup strategy is a little different, in that I do not use Time Machine. Carbon Copy Cloner is an excellent backup program. Yes, I have larger HDD that I use for archival storage of photo and other files, but overall for current/recent backups (the last 12 months) and supplemental drives (current files, still need to utilize them frequently) I prefer using external SSDs and this system works well for me. Absolutely it is very important to have one's important data on more than just one or two drives and also to have it stored in more than one place as well. My bank safe deposit box works very nicely for this purpose.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,217
8,263
OP:
You might want to PRINT this msg if you can.

You have TWO problems here:
1. You need an external drive
2. The external drive you have isn't working.

For a new external 1tb drive, I'd suggest a USB3 SSD.
A Samsung t5 would do:

When you get it, you need to erase it to Macintosh format:
- Connect the drive.
- Go to disk utility.
- Select the external drive from the list "on the left".
- Then click "erase".
- Choose "Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format".
That will erase it to HFS+ which is the best Mac format to use with an external data drive.

NOW, to address the problem with the Toshiba drive you have.
Is the Toshiba drive a small, "portable" drive?
Or... is it a larger "desktop" drive with its own power supply block?
We need to know these things.

Here's something to try first that won't hurt anything.
It only works sometimes, try it and see if it works for you.
Do this:
- Power off the MacBook, all the way off.
- DISCONNECT the Toshiba drive
- Power ON the MacBook and get to the finder.
- Now, RE-connect the Toshiba drive.
- If you don't see it appear on the desktop, just.... WAIT.
- KEEP WAITING for about 30-60 minutes.
Sometimes when you connect a drive that has "directory problems", the finder will try to "fix it", but it can take a little while.
Again, this may or MAY NOT work for you.
But try it anyway.
If you have the MBP with four USB ports, try the ports ON THE OTHER SIDE of the MBP, too.

If you connect the drive and open disk utility, can you "see it" in disk utility's list of drives on the left?
Or... nothing...?
 

Lizziejh

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2016
110
17
UK
When you first got the drive that is not working, did you immediately begin using it or did you go to Disk Utility for format (i.e., erase & reconfigure) it? If it was 4 years ago, if you did originally perform this format, the options should have looked like this:
View attachment 962909

Effectively, it's important to know if the drive is in exFAT or HFS+ (AKA OS X Extended) format, as if the drive is functional and this is software corruption, the implications are very different as is the course of action. If you are not sure if this, that is okay too. (The next step will be trying to pull SMART metrics on the drive, which can tell us if a drive has likely had a mechanical failure. This requires a third party App, which I'll show you where to get it/how to use it.)






With future drives, you can buy any hard drive and use it with Mac. If it is not in a proper Mac format when brand new, you will use this feature in the Disk Utility to format it into a Mac format.

We've recently been using these guys here:

When the drive is brand new, you will want to go to Disk Utility and perform this format, so you can put it into either HFS+ or APFS format (Mac format) and then encrypt the drive to add password protection. You will generally want to do this with ANY drive you purchase if you are using a Mac, as very few drives ship in Mac formats out of the box. Some drives ship in exFAT format to enable Windows and Mac access. You do NOT want to use exFAT unless it is absolutely essential. exFAT is a terrible file system and should be avoided if at all possible.

i honestly can’t remember what I did when I first got the drive. How can I find out what format it is ?
 

Lizziejh

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 12, 2016
110
17
UK
OP:
You might want to PRINT this msg if you can.

You have TWO problems here:
1. You need an external drive
2. The external drive you have isn't working.

For a new external 1tb drive, I'd suggest a USB3 SSD.
A Samsung t5 would do:

When you get it, you need to erase it to Macintosh format:
- Connect the drive.
- Go to disk utility.
- Select the external drive from the list "on the left".
- Then click "erase".
- Choose "Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format".
That will erase it to HFS+ which is the best Mac format to use with an external data drive.

NOW, to address the problem with the Toshiba drive you have.
Is the Toshiba drive a small, "portable" drive?
Or... is it a larger "desktop" drive with its own power supply block?
We need to know these things.

Here's something to try first that won't hurt anything.
It only works sometimes, try it and see if it works for you.
Do this:
- Power off the MacBook, all the way off.
- DISCONNECT the Toshiba drive
- Power ON the MacBook and get to the finder.
- Now, RE-connect the Toshiba drive.
- If you don't see it appear on the desktop, just.... WAIT.
- KEEP WAITING for about 30-60 minutes.
Sometimes when you connect a drive that has "directory problems", the finder will try to "fix it", but it can take a little while.
Again, this may or MAY NOT work for you.
But try it anyway.
If you have the MBP with four USB ports, try the ports ON THE OTHER SIDE of the MBP, too.

If you connect the drive and open disk utility, can you "see it" in disk utility's list of drives on the left?
Or... nothing...?

I
OP:
You might want to PRINT this msg if you can.

You have TWO problems here:
1. You need an external drive
2. The external drive you have isn't working.

For a new external 1tb drive, I'd suggest a USB3 SSD.
A Samsung t5 would do:

When you get it, you need to erase it to Macintosh format:
- Connect the drive.
- Go to disk utility.
- Select the external drive from the list "on the left".
- Then click "erase".
- Choose "Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format".
That will erase it to HFS+ which is the best Mac format to use with an external data drive.

NOW, to address the problem with the Toshiba drive you have.
Is the Toshiba drive a small, "portable" drive?
Or... is it a larger "desktop" drive with its own power supply block?
We need to know these things.

Here's something to try first that won't hurt anything.
It only works sometimes, try it and see if it works for you.
Do this:
- Power off the MacBook, all the way off.
- DISCONNECT the Toshiba drive
- Power ON the MacBook and get to the finder.
- Now, RE-connect the Toshiba drive.
- If you don't see it appear on the desktop, just.... WAIT.
- KEEP WAITING for about 30-60 minutes.
Sometimes when you connect a drive that has "directory problems", the finder will try to "fix it", but it can take a little while.
Again, this may or MAY NOT work for you.
But try it anyway.
If you have the MBP with four USB ports, try the ports ON THE OTHER SIDE of the MBP, too.

If you connect the drive and open disk utility, can you "see it" in disk utility's list of drives on the left?
Or... nothing...?

I can hear the drive spinning but it doesn’t show in finder, or disk utility. It’s a small external drive, I’ve tried not usb sockets. The blue light comes on, it then flashes, then goes off after 5 minutes.
 

Prorege1

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2020
168
134
If you don't want to mess with formatting a new external hard drive you can get this:

 
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ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
807
766
i honestly can’t remember what I did when I first got the drive. How can I find out what format it is ?

If it is not currently showing up in the Disk Utility, determining this now is a little more complex.

With the malfunctioning drive connected and no other external drives or external media connected, can you open Terminal and then type diskutil list

What do you get back? My first working theory is that you have a drive formatted in exFAT that is suffering from a corruption problem. This is extremely common.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,217
8,263
I recommend HFS+ for ALL external drives that will be used to store data (only).

If the drive is going to be a bootable backup, THEN it may need to be APFS.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
The OP is using High Sierra on 10.13.6, which is why I mentioned older machines and HFS+.

ETA: I wasn't sure with which OS Apple had introduced APFS and so I ran a Google and found that it was indeed High Sierra. In that case, then, yes, the OP should format external drives to APFS as well.
 
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