Mac Mini wont recognize flash drive

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by BlargKing, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. BlargKing macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    NewBrunswick, Canada
    #1
    So my mother needs to bring a digital portfolio to a business and its too big to email. I went and got her a generic 16GB USB 2.0 flash drive for the purpose. I plug it in to her 2012 Mac Mini and... nothing. So thinking its just formatted wrong I plug it into my PC and format it as exFat with a 1024 allocation size, which has worked for me before. But still, the drive wont even show up in disk utility. I can see the light on the flash drive blinking so its getting power. I then format the drive on my PC as FAT32 with a 64KB allocation, which has also worked for me in the past, and yet, her Mac continues to ignore the drive.

    I've tried restarting, tried every single port on the Mini, and nothing.

    The drive works fine on my PC. Why the everloving hell are Macs such picky pieces of junk over a simple flash drive? You would think if they wanted better Mac adoption rates they would make it so something as simple and generic as a flash drive would work cross-platform.

    If theres any solution beyond me backing over the Mac with my car and building my mother a proper PC I would be glad to know.
     
  2. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #2
    Please use System Information to get more information about the drive.
     
  3. BlargKing thread starter macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    #3
  4. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #4
    OK, I know nothing of that brand but a few months ago I had some new drives that were apparently OK (at a glance) with Windows, but those drives failed miserably when I attempted to write large amounts of data using dd(1) in a FreeBSD-based operating system.

    If you have an optical drive and writeable disc handy, try booting the Mac from UBCD then use some of what's prominent in Parted Magic to tell whether the drive is recognised.
     
  5. BlargKing thread starter macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    #5
    No optical drive. Apple thought the world was better off without them and decided to remove them.
     
  6. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #6
    OK.

    If one or both of you are working to a deadline: least stressful will be to defer troubleshooting; ask a favour of a nearby friend or neighbour (or neighbour's child), borrow a USB flash drive. Or throw them a few dollars :) to buy a secondhand USB flash drive.

    If that's not practical, then the swiftest troubleshooting will be a boot of the Mac in safe mode. If the Mac does not recognise the drive whilst in that mode, then you almost certainly have either (a) a hardware problem with the Mac or (b) a troublesome drive that does not reveal the trouble in all situations. My gut says (b) and if that's the case, I should not trust it for portfolio purposes.

    HTH
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G4

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    #7
    Stop pulling out your hair.
    Try a DIFFERENT USB flash drive.
     
  8. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #8
    Sorry if I'm stating the obvious here guys (thinking maybe it wasn't easily seen under the USB section of System Information).
    Is there anything in the Storage section of System Information with the USB flash drive in?
    What is showing up under Disk Utility when you plug the USB flash drive in?

    I'd erase it in disk utility on the Mac, making sure to set the file system as ExFAT. Then eject it properly, take it over to the PC, copy the files over, again eject properly and bring it back to the Mac.

    You could simply be hitting a race condition where the version of OS X doesn't like the version of ExFAT that particular flavour of Windows is putting on the drive.
     
  9. BlargKing thread starter macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    #9
    I gave up trying to get it to work and uploaded her portfolio to a google drive, and downloaded it to my PC and put it on the flash drive using it.

    PC 1. Mac 0.
     
  10. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #10
    Heh, considering it could have been the format your PC was putting on it, I love your bias. :)
     
  11. BlargKing thread starter macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    #11
    Well cosidering that I could format the drive as HFS+ and it would still show up under the device manager on my PC, where as the flash drive wouldnt show up under disk utility or system information on the Mac, I would have to say PC has superior drive and device management.
     
  12. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #12
    Sorry, there's still the likelihood that the problem was the connection between the keyboard and the chair. ;)

    You have no quantifiable proof, so any statements are solely your opinion.

    Edit: Just for fun - I'll snag one at Fairview Mall and test this with my Windows 10 PC and my Mac Mini. I'll let you know how it went. :)
     
  13. BlargKing thread starter macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    #13
    Quantifiable proof? The drive works flawlessly on my PC, it worked flawlessly on the PC when we dropped off her portfolio. I'm more than willing to bet that with the drive formatted as it is in exFat I could plug it into every device that I own that uses USB mass storage and not run into an issue, save for the solitary Mac mini that refuses to even acknowledge theres a drive occupying one of its slots.

    If the Mac wont accept the drive after I tried every permutation of exFat and FAT32 formatting then the problem lies with the Mac and with Mac's traditional reluctance to play nice with 3rd parties. If the drive was formatted with NTFS I could understand it being an issue but exFat and FAT32 are supposed to fit the need of a universally accepted formatting scheme in order to facilitate this kind of cross-platform data transfer. Hell, even Android phones can read/write to exFat formatted media with no issues.

    If every OS except Mac happily accepts exFat and all its variations with little to no fuss, then the problem lies with Mac.
     
  14. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #14
    Maybe you got a dud, or maybe there's something hoaky going on with your PC.
    Ok. Same drive, picked up at The Source (btw - it's all plastic - certainly not worth more than $5)

    Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 1.46.50 PM.png
    Factory formatted by the manufacturer for Fat32 - which both the native ports on my mac mini as well as the D-Link USB Hub attached to my mac mini were able to see fine.
    Over on the Win10 PC, yep, not a problem there. Sees it fine.
    Let's see if formatting it on the Win10 PC proves to be a problem (formatted it exFAT).
    Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 1.58.28 PM.png
    Nope, not a problem there - both groups of USB ports on the Mac Mini see it fine.

    So, here's my take on what's been happening with yours:
    1) You got a dud (most likely - these are REALLY cheap)
    2) You have a virus or something else is wrong with your windows box that it's putting a format on the USB stick that the Mac can't recognize
    3) There's something wrong with the USB ports on the Mac Mini (least likely - presuming you tried more than one, right?)

    Love to hear additional theories you have on how the Mac is an inept piece of hardware due to your misfortunes with a bargain basement USB drive. Fire away. :)
     
  15. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #15
    The drive; that it appears to be flawless with Windows does not mean that it is flawless.
     
  16. Phil in ocala macrumors 6502a

    Phil in ocala

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    #16
    ___________________________
    I have had the same exact problem...its unfair to tell this guy that its not the Mac when you know it is.
     
  17. fischersd, Jul 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016

    fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #17
    Huh???
    Sorry, how do you think there's a problem with the Mac in this scenario?

    btw - the more I thought about it, with the USB also working in the destination PC, that increases the likelihood of a virus (which the Mac isn't susceptible to) - so the second PC may now be infected. How a lot of them work is - if the host system blocks the virus, then the drive is unreadable.
     
  18. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #18
    I doubt it. Bear in mind, System Information could not detect the device.
     
  19. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #19
    Will it detect it if there's a format on the drive it can't understand? Or will it sit there and "spin" retrying over and over again...maybe eventually timing out and displaying the device, but unknown partition info? (so, had you left it there long enough, it would show up). Depends - if the light was blinking, then the OS was trying still to access it.

    Remember how a lot of the MBR virii work - if the OS doesn't allow the virus to become resident in memory, then you're unable to view or write to the file system.

    I wonder what happened first? Formatting the drive in the PC or inserting the drive into the mac?
    If the very first action with the USB after purchasing it was to put it in the mac and it couldn't read it, then it's a dud - there's something wrong with it.
     
  20. BlargKing thread starter macrumors regular

    BlargKing

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    #20
    Okay if the 4 Windows PCs, 2 Raspberry Pi Linux computers, 2 Xbox Ones, a Wii U, and a PS3 can all see this flash drive then it is most certainly a problem with the Mac.

    Theres no viruses on my PC as far as Avast is concerned, and if there was a virus affecting the formatting then the above mentioned Linux computers and game consoles would also be unable to see it.

    The drive is not a dud. The usb ports on the Mini work for other peripherals just fine. Somewhere in the heart of OSX there is either a bug or a simple lack of compatibility programming that is preventing it from seeing this perfectly functional drive.
     
  21. grahamperrin macrumors 601

    grahamperrin

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    #21
    I don't recall trying the troublesome new drives with a Mac.

    With a troublesome old drive, the System Information view of USB might show the device but not the information that should be shown for a storage device.

    With some drives, blinking occurs for a while after use by the computer.

    The opening poster seems no longer open to suggestions, so I unsubscribed :)
     
  22. fischersd macrumors 601

    fischersd

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    #22
    Ok, not a virus or the non Windows would have acted the same way.

    My Mac Mini is the same era (2012) as the one you've been having issues with. Fat 32 and ExFAT are seen and written to without issue and the Windows PC sees it fine.

    Now, the people at The Source suggested that two of their associates had issues with these drives on Macs - so, maybe they had a questionable batch that Macs take issue with, but other systems are ok with?

    Sorry, I'm gonna say that the quality control on these $4.99 USB drives is likely dodgey enough that performance may vary.
     

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