How do I get an external HDD to work?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Micky Do, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #1
    I have an early 2009 Mini, with 5 USB2 ports.

    One is connected to a 1TB HDD for Time Machine back-ups. It works fine, as did the 320 GB one it replaced.

    The others are used for a mobile broadband dongle (neither a telephone line nor wifi available to my apartment), the Apple keyboard with the mouse connected to that, and a printer. The fifth is used occasionally, directly, or through a powered hub.

    Thumb-drives (USB sticks / call them what you like) work fine using the keyboard USB2 port.

    HDD USB2 drives are not even recognised. I have tried plugging into the spare port on the keyboard, using the spare port on the Mini through a powered hub and directly, and also using the port I use for the printer (though a hub)….. all to no avail.

    I have tried using my retired 320 GB HDD… I wanted to wipe it and put it to another use. I tried using an 80 GB HDD loaded with a couple of movies and some rugby games, given to me to watch by a friend.

    Can anyone help a none too tech smart old chappie, without a youthful Apple savvy geek to hand?
     
  2. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #2
    Are it bus powered drives? You could try m with a double cable, connecting to two ports at the same time. Or hook up and external power supply, or put a powered HUB in between.
     
  3. Micky Do thread starter macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #3
    Tried using a powered hub, and the external HDD lights up, but it doesn't register on the desktop or in finder.

    The 320 GB one worked fine with Time Machine, but not now.
     
  4. Micky Do thread starter macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #4
    Disappointing to get no help here; I guess I'm going to have to find some kid to show me how, but there are not many Mac owners in my neighbourhood.

    Oh well, folks, back to your speculation on the what the next generation of Mini will have, and when it will arrive.
     
  5. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #5
    Have you dismounted, then unplugged your 1TB time machine backup drive?
    Try the USB HDD in that port.
    If the drive is still not recognized, try restarting, with that drive attached.
    Reset the PRAM (Restart, while holding Option-Command-P and R. You will hear the boot chime sound, so keep holding the same 4 keys until you hear the chime 2 more times, then release the keys to let your Mac boot normally)
    Does that stubborn USB HDD mount? Check for any odd USB entries in your System Profiler (System Information with 10.7 or higher).
    If everything else works, but the that USB HDD won't show, even on a powered external hub - then maybe it's just a faulty drive. Find a working HDD to borrow. Even one that's formatted just for Windows should at least mount.
     
  6. Micky Do thread starter macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #6
    Thanks for these useful hints…..

    Busy chipping away at marking assignments and mid-term tests right now, but will try some of your suggestions in due course.
     
  7. scbond macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #7
    Best option would be to get a Firewire enclosure for the 320GB disk and use the Firewire port on the back. Pretty sure it's Firewire 400 on that Mac mini.
     
  8. Accord3 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    #8
    Just at thought but are the HDD formatted for Mac?
     
  9. Micky Do thread starter macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    #9
    Good idea, and probably easily done if I popped into Pantip Plaza, but that is over 900 km from where I am living. Here I'll look into it, but probably easier said than done.

    I bought a Xerox printer a few years ago, but had trouble getting hold of a driver. Staff at the shop where I bought it were had little knowledge and of no help. They put me on to the Xerox people, whose suggestion was to pop in to Panthip. Thailand is fairly Bangkok centred… the hinterland is just a quaint uncivilised and unimportant place to them. In the end to was the local Mac dealer who helped, finding a driver and e-mailing it to me.

    They should be. The 320 GB one has only ever been used on my computer for Time Machine. It was in use for nearly four years, and might be on its last legs now. The 80 GB drive is also quite old, but hasn't had much use. It was given to me any a friend, who has a Mac, which he used to down load the files.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #10
    [[ HDD USB2 drives are not even recognised. I have tried plugging into the spare port on the keyboard, using the spare port on the Mini through a powered hub and directly, and also using the port I use for the printer (though a hub)….. all to no avail. ]]

    Some questions:
    Are the USB drives in question small 2.5" drives, or are they 3.5" drives?
    Do the USB drives have "power ports" on them (for use with a "power block")?
    If they do, do you have the power blocks?
    Have you tried using the power blocks for the drives?
    Are the USB drive cases "openable" (that is, can you take the drives OUT of the cases)?
    Do you have access to mail order?

    I would suggest this:
    - that you buy a USB3/SATA docking station, and then
    - open all the drive cases and take the drives out
    - try the drives in the USB/SATA dock.

    If they won't mount even then, my guess is that the drives have either software or hardware problems.
     
  11. hudson1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #11
    Are other USB devices recognized when you plug them into the powered hub?
     

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