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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive Storage Devices
I completely lost my LaCie hard drive last night. It wasn't appearing on the desktop, and when I checked in System Profiler, it wasn't appearing either. After the tightening in my chest and tingling sensation went from my arm, I found an article which suggested I unplug the drive and zap the PRAM, and then once it was rebooted, reconnect the drive. I tried this, but it didn't work.

Then I read that I should unplug the drive, turn off and unplug the computer, leave it for 10 minutes, then turn the computer back on and reconnect the drive. I tried this for 30 minutes, and still nothing. So I turned it all off and unplugged it at the wall and went to bed, thinking I had lost all the work which was on my storage device. When I woke up, I plugged the computer back in with the drive still connected to the computer, and amazingly, there it was on the desktop!

Now, the desktop did have problems (the menubar icons were missing from the top right corner of the screen, and everything was running strangely), but once I had unmounted the drive properly and done a restart and connected the drive again, it all worked fine.

Don't give up. Try my approach if you lose your drive. Sleep on it!

[robg adds: Offered as One Last Hope for those who may have a hard drive that seems beyond recovery...and yet another great reason to ask yourself that key question: "Have I backed up lately?"]
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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive | 19 comments | Create New Account
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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: notorious on Jan 19, '07 08:21:04AM

Are you using a LaCie d2 drive? My 500GB Big Disk just bit the dust recently, and when I went down to Macworld to yell at the LaCie folks (this is the second drive that's done this a month after the warranty ends), they told me, if possible, test the drive by connecting another d2 power supply to it.

If the blue light on the front of the drive is blinking rapidly, it may be a power supply issue, and your drives could be fine. The power supply does cost about $16.99 (with $16 shipping!?), but it may end up saving your drive.

Also, A LaCie employee told me that if it is your drive that is dead AND your drive is out of warranty, you can open the drive enclosure and just put new drives in. In my case, I'd need to put 2 drives in, but the onboard chips should create the RAID by itself. He recommended putting the same brand of hard drive in the enclosure, but I'm not 100% sure that's necessary.

Anyway, thanks for the tip and good luck with your drive.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: Maserati on Jan 19, '07 09:16:20AM

The above tip worked because unplugging a machine for ten minutes resets the Firewire ports. It's an obscure troubleshooting procedure for flaky Firewire devices. It will work for more than just drives, scanners and whatnot will benefit as well.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: bmurphy on Jan 19, '07 02:06:07PM

Are you good with taking apart the Lacie drive?

I work in a 99% Mac OS X 10.4.8 School (2000+ Macs) and I have recommend many Lacie drives to see how bad they are put together.

1) I have found many with the PowerBoard/ Firewire Bridge Board connector is bad.
2) The Case dies completely, but the data is fine!

Well, I just took apart 2 Lacie drives and solder the connection points on the connection between the two boards. I have two working Lacie D2 250 GBs now for FREE!...

Good Luck



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: brw3sbc on Jan 19, '07 02:34:08PM

Although peripherally related (strange happenings), I recently had a spate of system crashes (the four language black box), Safari crashes, CD and DVD burn failures, and some HD scrambling. I covered a lot of ground in my attempts to resolve this, to the point that I actually lost some files to make more room on my HD (it was getting near the overfull level). At one point, I finally read the manual - the operations manual that came with my G5 PowerMac. There I was introduced to the Apple Hardware Test - a program resident on by original installation disk, found by booting from the disk with the OPTION key held down.

Although TechTool Deluxe had reported that my hardware was OK, the detailed Apple test identified a failed DIMM. A second test indicated the same DIMM as faulty. Swapping the indicated DIMM with its counterpart in the other bank saw the problem move with the DIMM in the subsequent test. Since removal of the pair, I've had no problems. My supplier has since confirmed the failed DIMM and we await replacements.

In retrospect, I could have shortened my agony by three days had I known about and performed the test at the outset; and I wouldn't be missing some of my files.

I'll bet some of you are asking why I'd not backed up. I had been. It's an every night routine. The problem was that I was using Apple's Backup, which may be fine as an archive application but miserable as a backup app because over the course of time, it chews through my backup HD until I am out of space. I then have to erase the HD and begin again, exposing my data to potential loss for the few hours that it takes to do the initial BU. I decided to switch BU software, and my efforts there were coincident with my RAM failure, coincident enough that I initially thought that the software was at fault. Efforts to store fles onto DVDs saw verification failures, leading me to believe that I had an optical drive failure as well. In the end, it was just the one DIMM that was causing all the problems.

Also, through this exercise, I discovered (it was a logical assumption that proved to be right) that when one puts a system into Target Mode, its optical drive works as a firewire external drive. Since I had thought the optical drive in my G5 tower had failed, I used a MacBook in target mode as my DVD drive for access to the Apple Hardware Test that is on my installation disk.

I learned a lot last week. I hope some of it has value for others.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: mike666 on Jan 20, '07 02:22:11AM
Resetting the NVRAM works for me 95% of the time with a troublesome FW connection.

To review: power up and hold down command-option-O-F and when you see the grey screen with black text, type in reset-all and hit return.

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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: thehyperone on Jan 20, '07 06:26:01AM

I don't use any FireWire devices, so I can't confirm resetting the NV-RAM is a solution here, but the procedure listed needs some clarification.

cmd-opt-o-f will get you to Open Firmware. reset-all only accepts the change you've made and restarts. (kind of like a save-and-quit option) To reset the NV-RAM, type reset-nvram (with the hyphen) and press return. OF should respond with 'ok' and another command prompt. Then type reset-all and it'll save and restart. If you want to reset all your PRAM (not part of this hint) do reset-nvram <ok> set-defaults <ok> then reset-all.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: jtharveyjr on Jan 21, '07 09:27:07AM

I tried this tip on an Intel MacPro and wasn't able to get it to work.

I held down on the option and command keys while also holind down on the "O" and "F" keys to no avail.

THe tip did work on a G4 but still didn't ressurect my LaCie drives.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Jun 30, '07 10:04:17PM

MacIntels don't contain Open Firmware, so Command-Option-O-F does nothing on these Macs.



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Freeze your drives!
Authored by: guillaume.kh on Jan 21, '07 06:25:03AM

One good tip: if a drive goes down the slope and starts failing, put it in the fridge, or best, in the freezer. I'm not joking, really. I have no idea why this works but when you take it out, your drive will work flawlessly for some time before it goes back to regular temperature and starts crashing again, thus allowing an emergency backup.

This one saved my data few times.



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Freeze your drives!
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Jun 30, '07 10:06:01PM

I wouldn't say "it WILL work" after freezing--I'd say "it MIGHT work."



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: dfass on Jan 22, '07 09:23:47AM

One wierd way to fix this issue (non-mounting and/or blue flashing power light)...especially with the LaCie d2 drives
(a d2 500GB and a d2 600GB) is:

1. Unplug the cable (in my case USB).
2. Unplug the power cord from wall.
3. Pick up drive.
4. Walk over to a 'real' PC running Windows XP (I don't have an Intel Mac to test whether Bootcamp or Parallels will work).
5. Plug USB into PC.
6. Plug the power in.
7. Turn on drive.
8. Wait for drive to spin up..it might ask for driver install..and probably wont mount, but usually the blue light goes steady.
9. Reverse the process and plug it back into the Mac.
10. Reboot the Mac.

Ninety percent of the time the drive remounts doing this...the 10 percent it didn't I repeated the process and it remounted.

Don't know why it works..but it does.

I had to do this the very 1st time to get it to mount.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: terrorbyte on Jan 23, '07 10:26:57AM

is it just me, or do lacie drives fail more than others?



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: xp2mac on Feb 12, '07 07:28:45PM

I don't have a LaCie drive, I have an Ultra. It often fails to show up in Finder when I turn it on. I thought it was a Firewire problem and switched over to USB - it came up fine. Then it started acting up again. It actually went offline on its own overnight. Then I discovered that even though it didn't show up as mounted in Finder, it was actually mounted in /Volumes (using Terminal) and I was able to access it (using Terminal).

So the problem for me is getting it to show up as mounted in Finder so that I can access ith with Finder. Sometimes just leaving it off for a long period of time helps. And I've done all the reset stuff, sometimes it works.

20" iMac G5 2GHz OS-X 10.4.8

---
John



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: xp2mac on Feb 12, '07 07:33:16PM

I should correct one statement. The external drive is in an Ultra case. The drive itself is a 250GB Western Digital. I don't recommend the Ultra case. The fan is way too noisy.

---
John



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: xp2mac on Feb 12, '07 07:44:22PM

I also just discovered that a possible reason it didn't show up in Finder is that it was still mounted in /Volumes. Using "diskutil eject /Volumes/Mac1-HD2" and power-cycling the external drive, it then showed up in Finder.

---
John



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: Yoron on Jul 01, '07 09:57:38AM

I may have to try that. I have an external HD that I partitioned--the second partition has not been showing up in Finder for the longest time. I've ben going to Disk Utility (displays it there), then clicking on the hyperlink at the bottom to open it up in a Finder window... but if I eject it in Disk Utility, is that the same as ejecting it in Terminal?



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Jun 30, '07 10:07:54PM

Either LaCie drives fail more often, or we hear about it more often because more people seem to buy LaCie Firewire drives than other brands.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: afterhours on Jun 29, '07 09:33:02AM

Swapping out power supplies also worked for one of my customers....

May be worth trying a spare. The same power supply is used on other Lacie equipment, such as their dvd burners.



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One possible fix for a non-visible external hard drive
Authored by: afterhours on Jul 05, '07 07:32:33AM

I should have also mentioned that both firewire (1394) and usb interface boards for lacie and other equipment is static-sensitive. If one touches the firewire or usb port or plugs in a cord (either to the Lacie drive or the port on the Mac), there's a chance that the interface chip will be zapped. On the desktop Mac, one can install another PCI firewire/usb card, but on the external drive not under warranty, you'll need to pull the drive and place it in another case. One that is under warranty may mean that you have to void the warranty to get at your data. Normally, the drive itself is fine -- just the interface board is toast.



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