Folllow 4 Ways to Fix External Hard Drive Files Not Showing on Mac

Files are not showing up on the external hard drive? Cannot see any files on the external hard drive? If you have any such concerns, check out the solutions in this post and get started in no time!

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"I have my external hard disk plugged into a USB socket. When I connect it in, it begins to run, and the power light illuminates, but I don't hear the customary noise that occurs when you plug something into the USB ports, and it does not appear."

External hard drives can readily store data in the gigabyte range. As a result, they are extensively utilized by students, entrepreneurs, and other personnel to store and access vital files. However, when you put an external drive into your Mac, it is occasionally unrecognized or does not appear. If you don't know how to solve this problem, it might be really aggravating. However, several users have reported losing critical data while attempting to solve this issue. As a result, this post will address what causes external hard drive files not showing Mac, how to fix external hard drives that aren't showing up, and how to recover data from unrecognized external hard disks.

* Related post: SSD not showing up on Mac

Why can't see files on an external hard drive on Mac?

"External hard drive not showing files even if they are still present" Many causes may cause your storage drive contents to disappear without your knowledge, such as:

  1. 1. Accidental deletion: Sometimes files are erased inadvertently, and you are unaware of it.
  2. 2. Hidden By System: The operating system hides files in some circumstances, making them inaccessible on an external hard drive. It's possible that you unintentionally hidden files and the system also hides sensitive files by default to keep things easy.
  3. 3. File system error: Files are not visible on an external hard drive because the disk's file system is corrupted. As a result, the computer system is unable to access or display the entries in your files.
  4. 4. Disk Driver issues: This has recently occurred on the new Apple Silicon M1 Mac, as well as macOS Big Sur. The NTFS disc driver may not function normally on the new Apple Silicon M1 Mac, which utilizes a different architecture than Intel. See how to fix external hard drive read only error on Mac.
  5. 5. Virus attack: Your external hard drive could be infected with a virus or be attacked by malware that hides, deletes, or encrypts the files on it.

In addition to the main causes, several other factors might contribute to external hard drive files not showing Mac. Don't be concerned. All of these issues are readily fixed, and files can be retrieved. Let's go right to work on resolving this issue in the next part.

Solutions to make external hard drive files showing up 

When confronted with such a situation, most users act like ants on hot bricks. First and foremost, take a deep breath and relax as you are unable to determine the precise cause; please try the below solutions one by one to fix this error.

  1. Solution 1. Repair with Disk Utility
  2. Solution 2. Run First Aid
  3. Solution 3. Repair driver issue
  4. Solution 4. Show files with data recovery software

* 79% of people prefer using the software method to tackle the external hard drive not showing files issue on Mac.

Solution 1. Check whether the external hard drive is mounted in disk utility

You can only access files on your external hard disc on Mac if it is mounted in Disk Utility. So, if you can't see files on your external hard drive, first check to verify if the external drive is visible in Disk Utility and mounted. To do so:

Step 1: First navigate to " Applications," then click on "Utilities" and tap on "Disk Utility."

Step 2: If the drive is displayed in the sidebar, mount it by clicking the Mount button at the top of the window. Alternatively, you can click the Mount button next to the drive.

You should now be able to see all of the files on the external hard drive in Finder and on the desktop.

Solution 2. Check external hard drive issues with First Aid

The First Aid tool is more beneficial than your computer's internal disk. It can also see the hard disk when connected to a Mac via an external source. If you're having trouble acquiring the correct mount for your external HDD or SSD storage, try First Aid to see if it can assist.

Step 1: First, go to your "System Preference" and then tap on the "Disk Utility" button.

Step 2: Now highlight the external hard drive and select "First Aid."

Step 3: Next, you will be asked if you want to run it on the media, then just hit on the "Run" button.

run first aid

When you want to know how to open an external drive on Mac when it doesn't mount, this sequence automatically allows macOS to address potential problems. If any errors are fixed, you will be notified. If no problems are found, you must jump to the next solution.

Solution 3. Try to update or reinstall the driver for the external hard drive

The next solution is to update or reinstall the driver, and this scenario mainly comes in two situations i.e.

  • Following a new macOS upgrade, namely the current macOS Big Sur 11 release.
  • The switch from an Intel Mac to an M1 Mac.

If you can't access files from an external hard drive on your Intel-based Mac running macOS Big Sur 11, you can update to macOS Big Sur 11.4, fixing many existing issues.

If you can't read, view, or write files or folders on an NTFS external hard drive using an Apple Silicon M1 Mac, you'll require NTFS for Mac software that is compatible with the M1 Mac.

Solution 4. Try to scan external hard drive files with data recovery software

When nothing else works to resolve the external hard disc not detected Mac issue, then you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac to recover lost data from your hard drive. It can also detect devices that your Mac did not recognize. It can extract data from any device, be it a media player, camera, USB drive, or HDD/SSD. It is safe and has a high success rate. You must perform the following steps:

Step 1. Correctly connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, select the external disk and click "Scan" to let the software search lost files on it.

select the flash drive where data lost and click scan

Step 2. After a quick scan and deep scan, all files will be presented in the left panel in the scan results.

scan lost data on the flash drive

Step 3. Select files you want to recover and click the "Recover" button. Don't save the recoverable files to the external hard drive in case of data overwriting.

click recover now button to recover lost flash drive data on your Mac

To summarise, it is common for external hard drive files not showing Mac, but with the methods mentioned above, you can simply tackle this issue on your own. Furthermore, if you have lost data from an external device, you may quickly recover it with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac. Its user-friendly interface enables users to recover any volume of deleted data on Mac with ease.

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Updated by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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