Why can I not use my external Seagate drive on my Mac laptop?
Question by Adrian Sanchez /

I have a Seagate Expansion Drive 1.5 TB. When I plug it into my Mac laptop it only sometimes pops up. When it does pop up, the drive can be opened and I can see the folders. When I click on a folder it doesn’t show the files, it just keeps loading. Shortly after my Mac says the expansion drive was improperly ejected. I would like to fix the drive, I have files on it that I still want. Please help! Thanks.

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Answers (10)
  • Michelle

    Can you store your incoming mail (inbox) on an external hard drive? Does Mail allow you to save email to folders and link folders to another location such as an external hard drive?

  • Ben Mordecai

    It needs to be formatted for the Mac. Formatting will erase the contents.

  • April Eum

    possibly because you plugged it into a windows os

  • very cool 613

    Earlier Macs (<2007) did not provide enough "juice" out of the USB drive to run many external drives. I had a similar problem with a 1 Tb Western Digital drive on a now-defunct MacBook. One solution is to get a special USB cable that has two USB plugs at the end so you can use two USB connections simultaneously. Frankly, I find this to be a very poor solution. The best one, in my view, is to get a Firewire (or, eventually, a Thunderbolt) drive for large capacity externals.

  • Bobby Buttrick

    I also have a seagate drive, however I don’t use the preinstalled software. I use mac time machine program which seems to work fine. To get your files of the drive I would use another computer.

  • Peter Gray

    Many of Seagate’s USB 3.0 external hard drives have issues with Macintosh computers, mainly due to some clumsy engineering on Seagate’s part. If your model is more than two years old, you have the older USB 2.0 version and can disregard my previous point.

    The USB 3.0 incompatibility issues usually render the drives completely inoperable. The fact that you are experiencing intermittent access to the drive suggests another issue such as a loose connection somewhere, failing hardware, or even the drive itself failing.

    An excellent tool for any geek is a hard drive ‘sled’, one of the best inexpensive ones can be found here: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/U3NVSPATA/ This would allow you to remove the drive from its enclosure and plug it directly into your computer. At my last job, we used these constantly to recover data from supposedly ‘failed’ external drives. Might be worth a shot if you don’t get a better answer.

  • Dalsan

    Sounds like either the cable/connector is bad or the hard drive enclosure is bad, or the connector on your computer may be failing. I would try connecting it to another computer if possible to see if is working properly or not. If not, either connect it into a desktop computer using the slave SATA cable connector and power connecter, getting an SATA to USB adapter, or a different hard drive enclosure and see if the hard drive becomes usable. Start with these suggestions to make sure if the hard drive failed or not. If none of these work, report back for further troubleshooting.

    • Oron

      I’m with Dalsan. If it SOMETIMES shows up, it’s unlikely to be a software problem. Almost certainly a loose connection somewhere.

  • Shakirah Faleh Lai

    Try plug it into another PC. If you can’t acess your files use Recuva http://www.piriform.com/recuva or PhotoRec http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec to recover them.

  • ha14

    How to Troubleshoot a Mac External Hard Drive

    use disk utility to repair disk

    Delete /Users/yourname/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist and restart MAC
    or delete

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