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External drive not recognised by iMac

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One of my external drives (oldish, WD My passport) is not recognised by iMac (High Sierra) any more.  A while ago, I used it and it was ok .

 

I ran 'First Aid (Disk Utility)' but no success.  Is this external drive completely dead or is this salvageable?

 

Sung

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It's probably dead and even if it wasn't would you want to use a potentially dodgy disk for anything?

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One thing to check after my experience plugging an external drive into my Imac which it wouldn't recognise ... I was using an extension plugged into one of the ports ... once I removed the cord and plugged the drive directly into the port just using the short lead that the drive came with, it became visible ...

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34 minutes ago, MDM said:

It's probably dead and even if it wasn't would you want to use a potentially dodgy disk for anything?

 

I know MDM, not necessarily want to use it, but I was just curious.

 

Edit) the drive itself wasn't used very much as it is one of my archive drives.  Only when I refer back to an original for trial of different editing, etc.  So I was actually wondering if the drive will just die even with light usage after a certain period time regardless.  Luckily I have two backup copies, so no data is lost.  🙂

 

15 minutes ago, Martyn said:

One thing to check after my experience plugging an external drive into my Imac which it wouldn't recognise ... I was using an extension plugged into one of the ports ... once I removed the cord and plugged the drive directly into the port just using the short lead that the drive came with, it became visible ...

 

It was directly connected to Mac.  Tried different leads, unplug any other device, etc.  

 

Thank you both, MDM & Martyn

 

Sung

Edited by SFL
Adding more details in Blue
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I once had an issue with a WD power supply that caused connection problems, so might be worth checking that also

Phil

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6 minutes ago, Phil Crean said:

I once had an issue with a WD power supply that caused connection problems, so might be worth checking that also

Phil

 

Good idea, but this drive doesn't require external power.

Sung

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All that's left to try is cracking the drives case and testing on a SATA interfaced adapter, caddy or computer interface. Only a slight chance of this working as for some time the WD Passport drives have had a USB3 interface rather than SATA, missing out the SATA to USB3 board.

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This is a long shot, and usually applies to older equipment, but some capacitors get lazy if they are not powered for extended periods of time. If you can keep the drive powered up for several hours it would potentially reform any lazy caps and the drive may start working, but the chances that this is the problem are not high.

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If you've used first aid through disk util then that assumes that the drive hardware is at least recognisable to the system otherwise it wouldn't appear in there at all. Does the bar that indicates how much data is on the drive appear filled or does it look like a blank drive? What happens if you select it on the left side and click the "mount" button? If it is working as normal, it will appear on the desktop. If you've encrypted it, it will ask for a password first. If there is no mount option, the drive may not be formatted and/or contain no partitions, possibly due to a fault.

Edited by Cal

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As I said in another thread recently, I have had a few of these WD portable My Passport drives fail or become unreliable. I use them in the same way as Sung - just for backup. I have found a few of them start to back up very slowly (snail's pace) as I am copying and reformatting does nothing once this starts. The backup is so slow that they are unusable and I can't trust them with precious data. This has been mainly 4TB drives but it has happened with some lower capacity ones as well. I still have some that are working fine as well but I no longer really trust them. I have also had a couple of WD desktop drives fail over time. At this time, the only drives I have found absolutely reliable are G-Technology, desktop and portable. 

Edited by MDM

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7 minutes ago, MDM said:

As I said in another thread recently, I have had a few of these WD portable My Passport drives fail or become unreliable. I use them in the same way as Sung - just for backup. I have found a few of them start to back up very slowly (snail's pace) as I am copying and reformatting does nothing once this starts. The backup is so slow that they are unusable and I can't trust them with precious data. This has been mainly 4TB drives but it has happened with some lower capacity ones as well. I still have some that are working fine as well but I no longer really trust them. I have also had a couple of WD desktop drives fail over time. At this time, the only drives I have found absolutely reliable are G-Technology, desktop and portable. 

 

I agree with you, MDM about G-Tech drives.

 

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25 minutes ago, sb photos said:

All that's left to try is cracking the drives case and testing on a SATA interfaced adapter, caddy or computer interface. Only a slight chance of this working as for some time the WD Passport drives have had a USB3 interface rather than SATA, missing out the SATA to USB3 board.

 

Sound like beyond of my scope.   Thank you for your suggestion.

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25 minutes ago, DJ Myford said:

This is a long shot, and usually applies to older equipment, but some capacitors get lazy if they are not powered for extended periods of time. If you can keep the drive powered up for several hours it would potentially reform any lazy caps and the drive may start working, but the chances that this is the problem are not high.

 

Interesting.  I might try that out of curiosity.

 

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Have you tried different cables?

Your cable must be able to power it.

Are you sure it's not the port? Try it on another port or another machine.

 

If it's a really old drive the really old freeze trick may help. If it's newer it can make matters worse.

I agree with opening the case though. It's easy. Take another case that holds the same size drive and swap it. Tons of youtube how-to videos. It's 2 minutes work.

 

wim

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13 minutes ago, Cal said:

If you've used first aid through disk util then that assumes that the drive hardware is at least recognisable to the system otherwise it wouldn't appear in there at all. Does the bar that indicates how much data is on the drive appear filled or does it look like a blank drive? What happens if you select it on the left side and click the "mount" button? If it is working as normal, it will appear on the desktop. If you've encrypted it, it will ask for a password first. If there is no mount option, the drive may not be formatted and/or contain no partitions, possibly due to a fault.

 

It looked like a blank drive.  When I plugged the drive again after seeing you post, it didn't even showed up in Disk Utility.

 

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2 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Have you tried different cables?  Yes

Your cable must be able to power it.

Are you sure it's not the port? Try it on another port or another machine. I did.

 

If it's a really old drive the really old freeze trick may help. If it's newer it can make matters worse.

I agree with opening the case though. It's easy. Take another case that holds the same size drive and swap it. Tons of youtube how-to videos. It's 2 minutes work.

Thank you for the suggestion.  I might try it.  But even if it becomes alive, I would be uncomfortable to put any data on it. TBH

 

2 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

 

wim

 

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4 minutes ago, SFL said:

But even if it becomes alive, I would be uncomfortable to put any data on it. TBH

It's only suggested so that you can recover lost data. If you don't need to do that, you can scrap it.

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34 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

It's only suggested so that you can recover lost data. If you don't need to do that, you can scrap it.

 

Yes, I understand.  Luckily I have two backup copies of that particular drive, so no loss of data.  But I might try it just to see how it goes.  Thanks @wiskerke

 

 

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On 16/09/2020 at 10:00, SFL said:

One of my external drives (oldish, WD My passport) is not recognised by iMac (High Sierra) any more.  A while ago, I used it and it was ok .

 

I ran 'First Aid (Disk Utility)' but no success.  Is this external drive completely dead or is this salvageable?

 

Sung

This happened to me with a Seagate Backup Plus after I got a new IMac this year.   It wasn't showing up anywhere even though the light showed it was working. After numerous conversations with Seagate who offered to replace it as it was only a year old, I tried connecting it with another cable and it mounted thank goodness.

 

Kathy

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On 06/10/2020 at 13:50, Kathy deWitt said:

This happened to me with a Seagate Backup Plus after I got a new IMac this year.   It wasn't showing up anywhere even though the light showed it was working. After numerous conversations with Seagate who offered to replace it as it was only a year old, I tried connecting it with another cable and it mounted thank goodness.

 

Kathy

 

Thank you for sharing your experience.  In my case, data loss wasn't an issue as I had two backup copies of the troubled ext drive.  In the end I bough another disk to replace it.

Sung

 

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I had an external drive stop working on my Mac a while ago. I was able to plug it into a Window PC which recognised it and said it was 'broken' and offer to 'fix it'. So I let the Windows machine 'fix it' and the drive then worked on both the Windows PC and Mac again. I think with these external hard drives, it's important to eject them properly (rather than just pulled thr USB cabe out without telling the machine to 'eject it') ... I think it parks the read heads safely.

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2 hours ago, Matt Ashmore said:

I think it parks the read heads safely.

It should also empty any write caches and close any open files.

 

Mark

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