LaCie External Drive not appearing anywhere on Mac. Help needed.
September 30, 2015 7:36 AM   Subscribe

My external hard drive won't appear on desktop or disk utility, it's completely inaccessible, Ive tried all the usual tricks....

I've researched online and now Im turning to the experts here at Metafilter in hopes someone can advise.
I use a Mac desktop , about a year old, running Yosemite 10.10.5. I have an external LaCie drive as a backup where I keep important files ( I also have a second Seagate backup for the same files ).

Yesterday the LaCie suddenly stopped mounting on the desktop. I can't access it at all. It does not appear in Disk Utility either. Ive checked the cables and connections. I've plugged it onto a laptop where it appears and functions normally so the problem lies within the computer somehow. Ive restarted numerous times, and done all the Disk Utility repairs/verifications, turned on and off the drive itself, left the computer off overnight... I don't know what else to do to fix the situation.

Another odd thing is that the second external backup drive, the Seagate, has been disappearing after some of the restarts, then reappearing after other restarts. But even when it's not visible on the desktop it is visible in Disk Utility. Unlike the LaCie which is just completely undetectable.

Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by Liquidwolf to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Have you tried a different USB cable and/or a different USB port?
posted by Gungho at 7:50 AM on September 30, 2015

Gungho , I did try a different port. And like I said, the same cable worked to mount it on another computer so the cable works.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:02 AM on September 30, 2015

This similar to a problem I've had with a Lacie drive where the computer sees the drive controller but not the drives.

Leave the computer on. Unplug the usb cable from the drive and the computer. Unplug the Lacie drive from the power outlet.

Plug the Lacie drive back into the power outlet. Wait a minute. Plug the usb cable back into the drive and then back into the computer.
posted by I-baLL at 9:00 AM on September 30, 2015

I-baLL , thanks I just tried that but no dice.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:16 AM on September 30, 2015

What OS does your laptop run? OSX or Windows?
posted by I-baLL at 9:19 AM on September 30, 2015

Since you haven't responded yet, I'll give you my train of thought:

Windows can't see Mac file systems. If your laptop is a Windows pc and it can see the Lacie drive then that means the Lacie drive is formatted as an NTFS disk. If that's the case then maybe this thread will apply to you:

I haven't finished reading it yet though.
posted by I-baLL at 9:27 AM on September 30, 2015

I-baLL its a Mac , 10.10.5 Yosemite
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2015

The drive has been working fine for a few years, it just suddenly stopped showing up. I don't think it can be a compatibility issue.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2015

I don't know which model LaCie drive you have, but I have owned a few of their older FW400/FW800 and FW800/eSata drives, and while their drives are rock solid, their external power supplies can fail over time. I had one fail on me and the drive stopped mounting more or less as you describe -- sometimes it never spun up, other times it would spin up and then spin down, but it wouldn't mount. I only solved the problem when I located another external LaCie power supply that was compatible with my failed drive. Once I was able to mount the drive again I moved its data to another drive and retired it.

Additional details: My LaCie drive used a power supply that put the "guts" of the PS in a brick with cables at both ends, as opposed to a wall wart-style PS that plugged its brick directly into the power outlet. The cable that ran from the brick to the external drive connected via a round connector with four prongs, if that helps.

Added: check out this link regarding power supply failure and troubleshooting on LaCie's support site:
posted by mosk at 10:19 AM on September 30, 2015

So it definitely shows up on another computer right now? Is it a bus-powered drive (i.e. you just have the USB cable to plug in)? Is it spinning up when on and plugged in?

I would still suggest regardless to swap the cable; even though it may work on the other computer it may be just marginal enough to fail on the Mac. (I've seen this and it's really frustrating to diagnose.)

If it's a bus powered drive, you may want to see if there's an external power brick available for it; maybe for some reason the bus can't power it anymore. That's weird (especially if it's on a powered hub or plugged directly in) but not out of the question.

You may also want to check to see if it shows up in System Report. From the Apple menu, hit About This Mac, then System Report. It should show up if it's plugged in under the USB section.
posted by mrg at 10:21 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes it shows up and works fine on another computer.
It uses a different type of out cable which I adapted to the Thunderbolt input on my Mac. Under the Thunderbolt section of System Report it does not list anything as connected, so its def not reading anything.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:42 AM on September 30, 2015

You're using a FireWire -> Thunderbolt adapter? Does the drive have USB ports? If so try hooking it up via USB to see if its the adapter that's died.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:10 PM on September 30, 2015

nathan_teske, Yes, that's it. Theres no USB port on the drive, but it has another firewire which I tried, and I tried the other Thunderbolt port on the Mac.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:46 PM on September 30, 2015

Update: It turned out the Thunderbolt ports ( both of them) have stopped working entirely, my Mac can't recognize any input from them. So I figured out I could switch my drive to USB and it now works again. But I still don'twn know why the Thunderbolt doesn't work suddenly.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:55 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

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