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[Solved] External USB hard drive not visible in finder or disk utility

Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
15
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170-HD3
CPU
Intel core i5-6400
Graphics
GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hello folks.
Running Sierra 10.12.3
I have a 2Tb Seagate usb 2/3 hard disk that is not showing up in the finder, or disk utility, or even the system report. Previously this same hard disk worked fine, I regularly use it for backups and large file transfers. When I plug it in now it spins up, and I get a solid status light, but not any of the blinking that indicates communication/mounting.
The external disk is fully functional on other computers, I've tried two other macs (not hackintosh) and they each worked fine. I used one to run disk first aid on it, and it repaired something (I forgot to save the log), but it was still not visible on my hackintosh afterward. I've been looking for similar problems on the fora but I have had trouble finding the same symptoms. One post suggested changing the xHCI mode in my bios from Smart Auto to Auto, but I don't seem to have those options.
I'm not sure what to change since it has worked previously, and I'm not sure how to pin down if it's an issue with the disk or with the computer.

UPDATE: I cracked open the case and hooked the drive up via SATA and it works fine. More information that might be important: AT one point I cloned my hackintosh startup disk to a partition of m this external drive, but later decided I'd prefer to keep the clone as a diskimage for simplicity. There may still be some leftover bits from that, for example, disk utility seems to think it can't repair it because it's a startup volume.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
15
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170-HD3
CPU
Intel core i5-6400
Graphics
GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
iOS
Bumping this with some more info:

I tried a second USB 3 external hard disk and that doesn't show up either, it only gets powered by the port. I also wiped the first drive to get rid of the unneeded EFI partition made when I partitioned it to be a bootable clone of my hardisk, but even fresh it didn't connect. The ports work fine for everything else, I sync'd my iPhone through one of them and seemed to get USB 3 speeds, and I used both of them for my USB 2.0 flash drive, and an external CD drive.
I tried setting the xHCI handoff mode to 'disabled' in the BIOS, because in another thread someone said that would make all USB 3 ports work as USB 2 ports, but macOS wouldn't boot with it set like that. While in the BIOS I noticed that it could see the hard disk was there, even though disk utility and the system report couldn't. I just now ran OIRegistryExplorer and found it couldn't see the hard disk when plugged in either.
I've been reading the threads about using the right USB kexts and making custom SSDTs but I don;t understand them enough to be confident trying them, and they seem to be addressing different problems to what i'm having.
Any advice at all would be really appreciated, even pointing me at some really dry reading to understand how the IO USB stuff works in clover.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2010
Messages
80
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC
CPU
i7-4790K
Graphics
HD 4600
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Did you resolve this? I am finally making the switch to Sierra and have pretty much exactly same symptom - works fine in Mavericks, but Sierra can't see it.

Flummoxed... again...

Bumping this with some more info:

I tried a second USB 3 external hard disk and that doesn't show up either, it only gets powered by the port. I also wiped the first drive to get rid of the unneeded EFI partition made when I partitioned it to be a bootable clone of my hardisk, but even fresh it didn't connect. The ports work fine for everything else, I sync'd my iPhone through one of them and seemed to get USB 3 speeds, and I used both of them for my USB 2.0 flash drive, and an external CD drive.
I tried setting the xHCI handoff mode to 'disabled' in the BIOS, because in another thread someone said that would make all USB 3 ports work as USB 2 ports, but macOS wouldn't boot with it set like that. While in the BIOS I noticed that it could see the hard disk was there, even though disk utility and the system report couldn't. I just now ran OIRegistryExplorer and found it couldn't see the hard disk when plugged in either.
I've been reading the threads about using the right USB kexts and making custom SSDTs but I don;t understand them enough to be confident trying them, and they seem to be addressing different problems to what i'm having.
Any advice at all would be really appreciated, even pointing me at some really dry reading to understand how the IO USB stuff works in clover.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
15
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170-HD3
CPU
Intel core i5-6400
Graphics
GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
iOS
Did you resolve this? I am finally making the switch to Sierra and have pretty much exactly same symptom - works fine in Mavericks, but Sierra can't see it.

Flummoxed... again...
In my case this was caused by the system incorrectly recognising usb 2 and 3 ports I believe. The solution was to make a custom SSDT according to this guide, which is a pretty involved process. I had to disable some ports to get the total below the port limit, but in the end I got all the ports I needed working again, and my USB 3 external disk works fine.
I strongly recommend keeping a written log of each step of the process though, there's a lot of info to remember. If you need any help understanding any of it after you've read through the guide, I might be able to help a little. I don't fully understand it, but enough to get the basic gist.
Luck!
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2012
Messages
314
Motherboard
GIGABYTE H270N-WIFI
CPU
i7-7700
Graphics
Vega 56
Mac
iMac, MacBook Air
Mobile Phone
iOS
There must be a way to automate this :/ I’m having trouble with external USB drives and still no “easy solution” in place.
 
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