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dustinrwh Level 1 (0 points)

My wife just got me a Toshiba Canvio USB 3.0 1 TB Hard Drive. I plugged it into my MacBook Pro (Early 2011) and nothing shows up. It doesn't show up in Finder, Disk Utility, or System Profiler. It says that it needs to be reformatted for Mac OS, so I plugged it into my dad's MacBook Pro (Late 2010) and everything worked fine. So, I reformatted the disk for Mac OS hoping it would work fine on my computer..... Nothing


I thought the problem might be my software for running WIndows on my Mac (Parallels 6.0), but I made sure it was turned off and not running and have tried rebooting my computer multiple times.


Any help is appreciated

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • FrenchToast Level 3 (645 points)



    USB 3.0 is backward-compatible to USB 2.0, so even if your Mac doesn't support USB 3.0 (no Mac does to date), you should be able to use it. Are you sure your 1Tb drive is self-powered via USB? Doesn't it need to be plugged into a power source to work (with a drive that size, I wouldn't be surprised if it did), even thanks to an additional USB port? Have you tried to connect if to a PC running Windows or Linux, and format it under a FAT32 format, just to check there's nothing wrong with it?


    I know, I know, more questions, no answers... Too much turkey, I guess...

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (45,207 points)

    This seems to be fairly common complaint about Toshiba HDDs.  You may need one of these if the unit does not have a separate power device:


    Screen shot 2011-12-26 at 10.19.50 AM.png



  • dustinrwh Level 1 (0 points)

    It draws power from the computer and it is compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0. The ligh comes on, but is not recognized by my MacBook Pro.


    I actually exchanged it at the store then verified it is working. Still works on my dad's, but not on mine.


    I looked at the picture you attached, but that will not fit into the hard drive. Attached is a picture of the hard drive. Included with the hard drive is one cord that fits in to both ports with 1 USB end. As seen, the left portion is like a microUSB cord (used in many popular smartphones). The other is a bit smaller. Do I need two cords?


    Any other ideas?






  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    You need to connect it to a desktop computer, Mac or Win PC, to se if the desktop computer sees it. Notebook USB ports are notorious for having lower power output on the USB ports, whether Mac or Win PC. It is the hardware that causes this.


    If it is seen on the desktop computer then it is your notebook that just doesn't have enough power output on the USB port to power the drive.

  • dustinrwh Level 1 (0 points)

    I have connected to my dad's MacBook Pro and it works fine. His is 15" and mine is 13". Is that the problem? The weird thing is that my dad has a WD Passport (very similar to mine) and it works fine. If my computer doesn't supply enough power, what do I need to do?

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    Yeah from what I read on these and other forums these Toshiba drives don't work on all notebooks, Whether Windows or Mac.


    I suggest you return it and try a Western Digital drive as you know that make works on your notebook.


    I suspect the 13" MBP just doesn't put out enough juice to power the drive properly.


    I know for a fact WD makes a special cable, ordered separately at an additional cost, that connects to 2 USB ports to add more power to power the drive properly, if needed.


    You could check on the Toshiba website to see if they have a similar cable for this purpose.

  • FrenchToast Level 3 (645 points)

    I'm afraid you're right. See here for more detail:


    IMHO, it's a power issue: your laptop doesn't give a big enough output, and the drive won't work or mount on your machine. If you have another external hard drive handy, try and connect it to the same USB port you'd like to connect your new Toshiba thingy to, and see if it mounts, regardless of its capacity. If it does, then your USB port is OK (one of mine is shaky), and you've got a power issue with your new hard drive...

  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    dustinrwh wrote:


    If my computer doesn't supply enough power, what do I need to do?

    I agree with the consensus that it's likely a power issue. Your machine doesn't supply enough power. That it works with another MBP model is another matter -- different models have different specifications. Try what FrenchToast suggested -- it will determine if the USB port is OK, and I suspect it is.


    Do you have a powered USB hub (ie, one which has its own power supply)? If yes, try connecting the Toshiba to your MBP through the hub. It may not work -- usually, hard drives like to be connected directly to the computer -- but, if it does, you'll know that power is the issue.


    Here's what I would try. Get (1) a USB power supply, and, (2) a USB female-to-double male Y cable, such as this



    (Make sure the USB power supply spec exceed the drive's requirements; eg, if the drive draws 500mA, get a 800mA or 1A supply.)


    Connect the Toshiba cable to the female plug of the Y cable instead of the Mac, plug one of the male connectors in the USB power supply and the other into the MBP's USB port, and you should be in business. I should probably do that even if the 13in MBP recognised the drive, because, as FrenchToast said, a 1TB drive is fairly big, and needs quite a bit of power. I shouldn't want to push the MBP's power supply to the max, or risk corrupting data because the drive doesn't have enough power at some critical point.

  • dustinrwh Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for all of the help on this issue. I agree that it is a power issue so I have ordered a USB 3.0 Y cable and I think that should do the trick.


    If a USB power supply is needed, please explain that this is. Is this like the iPhone/smartphone wall chargers (that has a USB hub which plugs into the wall as shown below)?








  • FrenchToast Level 3 (645 points)

    Some external drives require an extra amount of power, and you can get it either from an other USB port, or from the main, through a transformer. Depends on the hard drive. Heed fane_i advice, and try the double plug-in. You can also try and plug one, power-bearing USB cable to your Dad's MBP, and connect the other, data-transferring, USB cable to your own Mac, and see if your hard drive mounts or not. Could simply be both your USB ports have gone AWOL, but that's unlikely.

  • fane_j Level 4 (3,660 points)

    dustinrwh wrote:


    If a USB power supply is needed, please explain that this is. Is this like the iPhone/smartphone wall chargers (that has a USB hub which plugs into the wall as shown below)?

    Yes; but that's not a 'USB hub', it's just a socket. And you can find them much cheaper than Apple's, if somewhat bulkier. Nowadays you can even buy power bars with a USB outlet. Just make sure that the current specs are well over the drive's requirements.

  • Arbynav Level 1 (10 points)

    So far all MacBook users have been able to use this drive as a USB 2.0 by using a USB 2.0 cable with a micro usb connector (same as smartphones, Kindle, Nook) on one end. Connect the micro connector to the opening on the left side of the USB 3.0 connector on the Canvio - if you look closely you'll see that side is exactly like the USB 2.0 micro receptacle. You can see it in the pictures above in this thread.  In the hand holding the cable, the left side of the USB 3.0 connect exactly matches a micro connector.  That's all you need to connect as a USB 2.0 - the other connections are for USB 3.0 which no Apple system has yet (Dec 2011).  Connect the other end (a standard USB type A plug) to your MacBook and it will work. If you want to use it for Time Machine, you'll have to reformat it. None of the supplied software will work with Mac  You can read more at this thread:

  • dustinrwh Level 1 (0 points)

    Arbynav, please send a picture of what kind of cord works.

  • dustinrwh Level 1 (0 points)

    I ordered a USB 3.0 Y Cable and found a solution!!


    I set up the hard drive as shown below. One USB connector goes into my smartphone charger (to be the power supply) and the other goes into the computer. I have heard that this may be possible without a USB power supply using just a USB 2.0 Y Cable, but I am not sure. Hope this helps out some people out there with a similar problem.



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