4 Methods to Fix an External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac

External hard drives are typically used as extended storage to a digital device or as a backup storage unit for important files. You have to connect them to a computer and then you can organize the files on them. On an Apple Mac, after an external hard drive is attached, it will appear on the desktop and in the Finder for a user’s access.

External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac

However, if you don’t see the removable hard drive on the desktop/in the Finder, your external HDD suffers some errors and you can’t even open it. As a result, files on it could be out of your reach.

If those files matter a lot to you and you don’t have another copy, this article will walk you through the steps to find or rescue the important information on the external hard disk.

Four Methods to Fix an External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac

To open the external hard drive and read the files on it, you have to find the external hard drive first. As mentioned before, you can open the external hard drive either on the desktop or in the Finder. If the disk doesn’t appear, try the following methods to show it up.

Method 1: Change the preferences settings

Step 1: Click Finder in the desktop menu where the Apple logo is.

Step 2: Go to Preferences.

Step 3: Go to the General tab and tick External disks.

Step 4: Go to the Sidebar tab and tick External disks.

If the Mac is set up to show external disks on the desktop and Finder sidebar but you don’t see the external hard drive on macOS yet, go to Disk Utility to see what you should do next.

Method 2: Mount the external hard drive

Disk Utility is a built-in app on a Mac computer to manage attached internal and external disks. All detected and mounted internal and external disks will be listed in black in the left column of the app. If you see the external hard disk is in grey, the macOS fails to mount it automatically so that you need to force mount it.

Step 1: Select the external hard drive from the left column.

Step 2: Click Mount at the toolbar.

After the external hard drive turns black in the list, you will be able to see it on the desktop and in the Finder to open it. In addition, you will be able to manage the files on the external hard drive too.

However, if it still can’t turn black in the Disk Utility, your external hard drive may be unmountable because of logical errors. Another reason could be the external hard drive can’t be recognized by macOS.

Method 3: Fix the external hard drive

Do you know First Aid in Disk Utility? It is a small utility to check and repair minor logical errors of a detected disk. Even though many people complain that it doesn’t work many times, it still worths a try.

Step 1: Select the external hard drive from the left column.

Step 2: Click First Aid at the toolbar.

Step 3: Click Run to repair the errors.

If First Aid fails to repair the disk, the files system, partition table or root directory may be seriously corrupted on the external hard drive. The only way to fix it is to format it.

Method 4: Format the external hard drive

Formatting the external HDD will delete all files. Before you format the disk, your need to restore files from the external hard drive first. If the files don’t matter, go ahead to format it in Disk Utility.

Step 1: Select the external hard drive from the left column.

Step 2: Click Erase at the toolbar.

Step 3: Fill in the name and choose Format and Scheme.

Tips: If you want to use the external hard drive both on a Windows PC and an Apple Mac, you had better choose ExFAT or FAT because those two file systems are compatible with both platforms.

Step 4: Click Erase.

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TechGlobeX: 4 Methods to Fix an External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac
4 Methods to Fix an External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac
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