Mac can see external drive but won't open it

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mildredop, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2013
    #1
    I have an external drive which has always worked fine - until today.

    The drive won't show up in finder. It shows in Disk Utility but won't open (it's greyed out on the left hand side).

    I tried "First Aid" but after an hour of nothing happening, restarted my Mac.

    The external drive is vibrating and the light is on. I've tried different USB ports, a different cable and a different Mac (both Macs are up to date).

    Any advice?!
     

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  2. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #2
    Did you try the Mount option?

    Sounds like a dead drive. If it won't mount on either Mac or repair with First Aid. You can always try another enclosure or repairing it with Disk Warrior. But I wouldn't throw good money after bad. Especially for just a 1TB drive.

    As it's just a backup you can always try formatting it. Personally, I don't trust something as important as a backup on a drive that ever started acting dodgy. They are unreliable enough as is.
     
  3. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #3
    Have you tried pulling SMART data from the drive to see if it is throwing any error codes?
     
  4. Mildredop, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018

    Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #4
    Problem is I was having WiFi problems with my Mac so I did a clean install of OS X. That hard drive has ten years of my life on it.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 4, 2018 ---
    I left my Mac doing 'First Aid' all night but this morning it had got nowhere. Now the disk won't mount at all.

    It's whirring like a disk should, but is it dead? Is that it? Have I lost everything?

    If it makes any difference, the last thing I did with it was to reformat to the new Apple file system and then use it as Time Machine.
     
  5. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #5
    Just to clarify, does it have data on it that you do NOT have stored/backed up elsewhere? (If so, how important is recovering these files? -- the relative importance of recovery should IMO determine any actions taken from this point.)

    If you went to the new file system that was released less than a year ago (APFS), that unfortunately eliminates the DiskWarrior option and IIRC the Linux option as well...however, your screen shot seems to suggest that this is a HFS+ volume and NOT APFS????

    If you download a program like DriveDX (it's a paid program but there is a free trial), is it giving you any error codes? (some of these can be used to confirm physical drive failure, where as others can suggest problems with the enclosure itself, where as a lack of does not rule out failure but can at least provide more direction in regards to software vs. hardware issue. The SMART monitoring built into macOS is IMO not very useful due to a tendency to miss pre-fail/failing conditions.)
     
  6. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #6
    You're correct - this is data I don't have backed-up anywhere else. I backed up my Mac, double checked it was all on the external drive, did a clean install of my Mac and now, of all times, my external drive has died. Sod's law.

    It doesn't show up at all now, so I'm guessing any sort of software won't work.

    As this is the only place the data exists, I'm going to let the pros take care of it. I've been quoted £125-295 which isn't cheap but worth it if it works.
     
  7. elf69 macrumors 68020

    elf69

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    Location:
    Cornwall UK
    #7
    is it the drive or the caddy to which the drive sits?

    I have seen many caddy fail and the drive be ok

    pop drive out and test with another caddy.
    I had 2 failed caddies on me and drives where fine.

    I did however buy new drives as unknown if failed caddy could damaged the drive itself.
    These drives used rarely as 3rd or 4th backup just incase.
     
  8. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #8
    Definitely try another external enclosure then.

    You say you did a clean reinstall of OS X and used the new file system in that drive. When you reinstalled. Did you use High Sierra again or roll back to an older version?
     
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #9
    Just some thoughts...

    Is the drive in an external enclosure?
    Is it a bare drive that you're using in a dock?
    It might be possible to move the drive to a new enclosure or dock, to see if that changes anything.

    Do you have a DIFFERENT MAC you could try the drive on?
    This might... just might... make a difference.

    There is an important lesson here:
    DO NOT trust "ten years of your life" to ONLY ONE drive, EVER.
    You should have at least one backup.

    Personally, I would never trust Time Machine.
    ALL my backups are created with CarbonCopyCloner...
     
  10. pam14160 macrumors newbie

    pam14160

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    Idaho
    #10
    Just for kicks try it on a windows machine. I had the same problem about a year ago, and put it on my windows machine, and was able to read the drive and save all my files. . .good luck. . .:)
     
  11. vkd macrumors 6502a

    vkd

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #11
    Only the latest version of macOS (High Sierra) will recognise the new APFS Apple File System. Your external drive will be inaccessible under any other operating system, even macOS, Mac OS X etc., of versions prior to High Sierra.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #12
    One more reason not to fool with or trust APFS quite yet...
     
  13. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #13
    Tell me about it. I've bought a brand new 2TB external drive which came MS DOS formatted. Tried to reformat and it seems to have completely screwed the new drive.

    Does OS X have issues with formatting drives? I'm wondering if the new OS X is what has screwed my old drive, too.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 5, 2018 ---
    Says there's not enough space. All the info I can find says the 2TB WD Elements drive should weigh 231g - this one weighs 130g. I wonder if Amazon are selling counterfeit stock?
     

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  14. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    #14
    I recall reading (might have been here) that for some reason, using Disk Utility to attempt to initialize (erase) a drive to HFS+ may "fail" the first time. BUT...
    ... coming right back and attempting to do it a SECOND time may work.

    Personal observation:
    I have High Sierra (the absolute latest beta) installed on an external SSD for test purposes only.
    I have no interest in being one of those who upgrades to "the latest and greatest" just as soon as it's released.
    Instead, I'll use what is "known good to me" -- in other words, what works.

    My current Macs run on 10.11.6 (El Cap), and I have no plans to "move them upward".
    None at all.
     
  15. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #15
    Did you try initializing the external? APFS is optimized for SSDs and not recommended for HDD. You should format the external as HFS+. Time Machine doesn't support APFS at this point either.

    MacOS major releases are beta tested for a good year before they are released to the general public. It's not like they just cobble it together, slap on a new name and build number and throw it out there for end users to test.

    Older versions may be better (or the only option) for older Macs. At some point Apple stops issuing security patches. High Sierra is hardly just released at this point. It's been out for three and a half months now.
     
  16. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #16
    I found some forum where someone had put down a load of Terminal commands to get the external HDD back up and running, so it's working again.

    APFS isn't recommended for HDD? Who says this? My Mac knew it was a HDD but offered APFS.

    And now it's APFS, I can't reformat it in HFS.
     
  17. smirking macrumors 65816

    smirking

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    #17
    Don't give up on it. I've had dead drives that just start to work again after being dead for a while. I'd leave it alone for a few days, plug it in and see if it'll start up and sometimes it would and I'd immediately begin copying everything off of it.

    I second that person who suggested that you try a different enclosure.
     
  18. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #18
    Thanks for the advice - it's in the post on its way to the pros.

    It's literally my entire Mac, so I need it recovering!
     
  19. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #19
    APFS is optimized for flash/SSD storage. If you intend to use Time Machine it doesn't support APFS (yet).

    Erase the APFS volume in Disk Utility and reformat it as HFS+ if you like. Keep in mind that you will lose any data on the drive.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 8, 2018 ---
    Something else you might try is just choosing the drive in Time Machine as the target drive because I've read that by doing so MacOS automatically converts the drive back to HFS+.
     
  20. smirking macrumors 65816

    smirking

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    #20
    It won't be cheap, but I trust you'll get your data back. Hard drives for all of their foibles, can actually be hardy little things. I remember some story many years back about a guy who was tasked with recovering data from a hard drive that was aboard the US Space Shuttle Columbia when it burned up on re-entry. Besides falling from the skies, it was also subject to extreme heat and yet it wasn't a total loss. He was actually able to retrieve some data from it.

    Ever tear apart an old hard drive? I did once and the spinning platters were nothing like what I had imagined. I always thought they'd be thin and fragile. Nope. You'd have a very hard time bending one of the platters with your bare hands.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 9, 2018 ---
    BTW, should also try running a program like Data Rescue on your Mac's hard drive to see if you can recover some key files from it just in case your hard drive recovery operation doesn't work or doesn't get everything you wanted back.
     
  21. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #21
    I hear you, but you said that it's not recommended for use on HDDs. Could you explain where Apple say not to use it on HDDs?

    Because, if so, why does my Apple Mac allow me to do it?

    I can't. That option no longer exists.
     

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  22. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #22
    So far as I know, Apple doesn't say not to use it but rather it's just that there is no particular benefit to using it on HDD as APFS is optimized for SSD.

    When upgrading to High Sierra SSD are automatically converted to APFS but not Fusion Drives or HDD.

    Just to be clear, are you booting to this APFS-formatted HDD? If so, you can erase it using Disk Utility in Recovery Mode. At startup press and hold Command-R. Once booted into the Recovery Console launch Disk Utility.
     
  23. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #23
    Ok, I was confused by your comment that it was "not recommended". It seems that's not the case.


    No, it's just a back-up drive.
     
  24. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #24
    It's not specifically recommended against but neither is it recommended for and Apple doesn't automatically convert HDD to APFS in High Sierra upgrades. Users have to do so manually.

    Then you should be able to erase the APFS volume, if you choose to, using the Erase button in Disk Utility. Alternatively, selecting the APFS volume as a Time Machine target will either result in MacOS automatically converting the volume back to HFS+ or giving you an error that the drive is not usable.
     
  25. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #25
    This is fun. I love going round in circles.

    It seems you're very confused here. It's like you're trying to give advice but don't actually know the facts.

    As I've mentioned twice already (and even given you a screen shot), you cannot do it in Disk Utility.

    You can go through the convoluted Time Machine shenanigans though.
     

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