Why won’t my external hard drive read on my Mac? – How to fix it


With the advent of external hard drives today, they have provided us with one of the greatest aids when it comes to saving important information due to their large storage capacity, being larger than that of a flash drive.

However, like any component, it is prone to failures during its useful life when it is used. In case something like this happens we should not get nervous, as it usually happens that computers do not read the device well and here we will show you how to solve this failure.

How can you check if the external hard disk is connected correctly?

These large capacity external storage devices are the same as a hard drive, but they are portable and do not need a computer to work. But of course, they are often damaged when they are not used properly or their maintenance is neglected.

An external hard disk can present different types of failures that cause the stored information to be lost or erased without any cause. This is why knowing if the hard drive is damaged in order to repair these faults as quickly as possible is the most crucial thing to avoid losing the information or the entire external hard drive.

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These failures can be presented in the software and we will notice it at the moment. If it is a failure of reading the own system of the computer will indicate us when the disk will not be read showing it by screen, in the case of being a failure of the hardware this one will not show any interaction through the system. Here we will show you how to solve these failures.

From your software

When it comes to failures from the software, we are talking about the computer system that sometimes does not read external devices accurately because it has a wrong driver installed. We will show you which are the connection problems and their solutions:

  • If your failure lies in compatibility problems in the file formats you can resort to change the disk format to make it compatible. Since NTFS files are only for Windows, for Mac these would bring reading problems, use HFS+, FAT32 or exFAT files are compatible for both Mac and Windows.
  • A very common problem is the letter that has the unit, since the computer may already have a disk with the same letter and will not read the other. For this you will have to change it, entering the magnifying glass of your Mac, look for ‘Disk Utility’ and select the disk that you want to change renamed is with another letter.
  • If when connecting your external disk the USB ports do not read it, you can proceed to update them. To do this, you must go to System Preferences and in the Software Updates will be all the updates you will have to choose the ports to solve this problem.
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To avoid these problems, Apple always recommends its users to keep their Mac computer updated at all times, in order to be prevented from problems like this or any other that may occur.

Checking it from the hardware

Not only failures usually happen at the software level, they can also reach the hardware bringing worse problems than the previous ones. To the point of being able to burn the external Hard Disk if it was installed badly. These problems can be:

  • It can happen that your hard disk does not have the power switch turned on, since this one has power cables that must be active at all times to make the device operate. In this case, proceed to turn it on.
  • Proceed to see if your device reads on another computer, if it does. Verify that the cables of the USB ports are well connected, because the excessive use of these can cause them to disconnect.
  • If it reads, but does not open, you can proceed with formatting your external hard drive to see if it can be accessed in this way.

What can you do if the connection problem is in the cable?

One of the connection problems that has happened to many people with their hard disk is that the cable that it has is damaged and that is why the computer cannot do the job of accessing it. The most effective solution is to change the cable for a better one, opt for an eSATA cable, since they are resistant and last longer.

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What is the best method to correct connection errors within your MAC system?

If the solutions we have provided here have not helped you, you can make use of the Mac SMC management system to correct connection errors on your external hard drive. Here’s how to reset this system.

Resetting SMC system management control

This is one of the best functions after everything has not worked and this is the last option we have. To start resetting the SMC system management you will need to:

  • Turn off the computer and press ‘Control+ Option+ Right Shift’ keys.
  • You will have to be like this for 10 minutes keeping the buttons pressed together with the power button.
  • After this, turn on the computer normally. If when you connect the hard disk, it manages to read it, then you have solved the problem.

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