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Ask Max: External Hard Drive Not Registering on Mac

Asked on 10/03/2011:

My external hard drive no longer comes up on my Mac when I plug it in and I'm afraid I've lost all of my backed-up files forever. Since I've only used it on a Mac, I'm not sure where to go where they'll plug it into a Mac for diagnostic service. I don't want it to get plugged into a PC and reformatted and then I'm really out of luck.

Any advice on what company to use for this? I've heard this type of service can be very expensive.�Thanks in advance!



Well most Apple Authorized service centers can help you. You can find the nearest location here.

You can also try and repair the drive with Disk Utility, found in the OS X Utilities folder which, is in the Applications folder. If Disk Utility fails to see the drive, you can try removing the internal drive from the external drive case. It could be that your external hard drive is OK but the drive enclosure has failed. To test this, you can connect the raw drive to your computer with a Universal Drive USB 3.0 Adaptor.

As a side note, you said "I'm afraid I've lost all of my backed-up files forever" which would indicate this drive was your backup drive. In a good backup process you need to have at least two copies of every important file. It is not backing up if you move a file to an external hard drive and then delete it off of your internal hard drive. That is not backing up, just changing locations. Any hard drive will fail eventually. So to be backed up, please make sure you have at least two copies and preferably three copies with one being at a different location than your computer.

You may also view this Ask Max post for my recommendation on a back up drive.

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