Skip navigation

HT1331: AirPort: How to mount an AirPort Extreme USB hard disk volume in Mac OS X and Windows

Learn about AirPort: How to mount an AirPort Extreme USB hard disk volume in Mac OS X and Windows
This discussion is archived

HT1331 Can't access USB drive mounted to Airport Extreme

7440 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: May 8, 2013 2:18 PM by LaPastenague RSS
1 2 Previous Next
Cal F Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 16, 2013 6:32 PM



I have connect my external hard drive to the USB port of the Airport Extreme but I cannot see it in the finder, cannot access it in any way, but I do see it in the disks tab in the Airport utility.  I've tried to connect with the IP address but I get a response of "does not exist."  I've also tried to connect through the wireless network's icon at the top right of the screen, but, I only see the network itselfk not the router.  I have tried every method in this article (HT1331) but it will not work.  Obviously the router is working because I'm connected to the internet, but I cannot connect to it in anyway to access the USB mounted drive.




C. Fleming

Airport Extreme, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,635 points)

    In the file sharing page, turn on the guest account to read and write access.. you don't have to do this all the time but this is to help.


    In finder you will see there are differences between Snow Leopard in your profile and Mountain Lion which I am sure you are using.. you need to turn on shared or devices.. sorry I am swapping between them and have forgotten myself.


    If you keep having trouble.. not at all unusual on ML, you might need to reformat the USB.. it must be GPT partitioned and use HFS+ (although FAT32 supposedly works.. ??)


    There is another little quirk with Mountain Lion I have also just experienced.. My USB drive.. even plugged directly into the ML computer will not show up. Correct formatted etc.. ML just has some distaste for some brands of USB drives. It works perfectly in Snow Leopard.. just another of those little "Features" offered with the latest OS. Do a google .. some drives like Lacie are particularly prone to the issue.

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,635 points)

    How is the drive formatted and partitioned.. ie MBR will probably not work as a network drive.. it might work locally.


    Did you try direct connection in finder.


    Go.. connect to server..



    See what shows up.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,470 points)

    The drive is formatted as NFTS the problem.


    The USB port on the AirPort Extreme will read/write to drives that are formatted in HFS+ or FAT16/32.


    NTFS and exFAT are not supported.  See this Apple support document to confirm:


  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,470 points)

    The PC will be able to read and write to a drive at the AirPort Extreme if the drive is formatted in Mac OS Extended (Journaled)...also known as HFS+....or a format of FAT 32.


    If you have access to a Mac, you can use Disk Utility to format the drive.


    Unfortunately, this will erase the contents of the drive, so if you do not have a backup copy of the data on the drive, you will first have to transfer that data to another drive.  Then format the drive and move the data back over to the drive and connect it to the AirPort Extreme.


    I would recommned HFS+ if you plan to keep the drive permanently connected to the AirPort Extreme. If you plan to move the drive around and will need to connect it directly to a PC, then you would want to format the drive in FAT32.

  • Bob Timmons Level 9 Level 9 (75,470 points)
    It still does not show up in the finder, but it does show up on the far right side of the desktop.


    Open a Finder window and look for the AirPort Extreme icon under the SHARED heading. Is it there?


    Click the icon, then double click the folder representing the drive that appears just to the right.


    If you do not see the AirPort Extreme icon, open Finder Preferences and make sure that you have enabled to option to display "Connected Servers" on the desktop.

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,635 points)

    Load bonjour for windows onto the windows machine.. the best way is to load the whole airport utility which includes bonjour.. that will help the PC find the disk.


    Make sure your names are SMB compatible.. ie Short.. no spaces.. pure alphanumeric.


    For everything.. name of device, share names, wireless names if using wireless to the PC.


    Then open windows explorer and type in the address bar.


    \\Airportextremename or \\AEIPaddress.. where you replace those with the actual share name or IP address.


    If you still have issues, make sure your windows is set to home , not work or public.


    Turn off any firewalls.


    Ensure that the guest account is turned on and you have full read and write access. .you can also load the windows workgroup name.. ie WORKGROUP

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,635 points)

    Are you running Airport Utility from windows?


    If not then please load it.


    Turn guest account on to full access, ie read and write.


    You should be able to access the files. If not create the directory from windows, and copy the files to it from the Mac.. your issue I imagine is simply permissions.

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (1)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.