Previous 1 2 Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Nov 26, 2013 8:10 AM by aegeiger
thelightbulbsun Level 1 (10 points)

Hi all,


Looking for some advice.  My new Macbook Pro (late 2011, running Lion) won't recognize my external hard drive.  The drive is an ioSafe "rugged portable", which runs off USB (and doens't plug into the wall).  It has a capacity of 750GB, and I would like to use as a Time Machine for backing up.


The drive works fine, and I've run numerous diagnostics when connected to an old ThinkPad.  However, whenever I connect to my MBP, the drive just makes a spinning noise and gives no indication of being read by the machine.  It does not appear in Disk Utility or in System Profiler.


I spent last night reformatting on the PC, and it shows as a blank drive on my ThinkPad.  This morning, it still wouldn't read on the MBP.  I did some research and it sounds like others have had a similar problem recently, so on a whim I brought it over to my old iMac, which is still running Snow Leopard.  The iMac recognized the drive immediately, and prompted to use as a Time Machine.


I formatted the drive on the iMac to use the recommended Apple system (journaled), although for some reason it made me partition it into two.  But it worked and is recognized by the iMac.  Brought it over to the MBP, and it still will not recognize.


I've tried both USB ports, neither seems to work.  Each works with other types of peripherals and other external hard drives.  But if you read up on the "rugged portable", you'll understand why I want to use that as my primary backup.


  • Is this an issue with my MBP, or an issue with Lion?
  • Is there a method to resolve the issue?


Thank you in advance!


*Worth noting, I also ran diagnostics on the ioSafe from the working iMac, and everything checked out.

MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2011)
  • OrangeMarlin Level 5 (5,145 points)

    There is a possibility that the USB port doesn't work, since the drive works on other Macs and PC's.  Have you tried some other USB powered device in there, like an iPhone or something similar?  If it's bad, then you can take it back for repair.

  • thelightbulbsun Level 1 (10 points)

    Yes.  Oddly enough, my iPad connects fine, as do several other external hard drives - both dedicated external hard disks, and internal drives in enclosures - they all work.  From different brands like Seagate and Samsung.  The iPad and an old iPod work fine.

  • thelightbulbsun Level 1 (10 points)

    Any ideas?

  • mrlou Level 1 (30 points)

    Under the apple, about this Mac, more info, USB.  See how much power is available and how much is being needed.  Should be 500 available and less than 500 needed.  Needed could be above 500 and it won't show above 500 unless it's an iPhone or iPad being connected.  If it shows something like 400, lion probably does not have a driver.  If its real low or at 500, it may be insuffient power.  Your iMac can also be used to see how much power for comparison.  If it's just power get a y connector so you can get power from 2 USB ports.  Lion appears to control USB to tighter limits than snow leopard.  Some toshiba drives have the same problem and they sell a y connector to solve the problem.

  • thelightbulbsun Level 1 (10 points)

    Hi mrlou,


    Thanks for the tips.  I plugged it into the iMac, and checked what you said.  It looks like the drive itself requires 400mA, so the MBP should have adequate power.


    Is there a way to use an old Snow Leopard driver on Lion?  The device clearly has SL drivers...I'm surprised they didn't carry over to Lion.

  • OrangeMarlin Level 5 (5,145 points)

    "Drivers" is a term that really makes no sense in the Mac world.  Unless the product is unsupported by OSX (say a Blu-Ray Disc reader/writer or one of a billion different printers), a driver is unncessary.  A USB hard drive is a USB hard drive, not requiring anything special except that it meets all basic standards of USB (2.0 or whatever).


    So there's nothing to "use" from SL that will help you here.  It is a plug and play drive from my review of the device.


    I still think that there is either some sort of electrical issue with your MBP USB port or "I dont' know". 

  • mrlou Level 1 (30 points)

    Apple still has a lot of work to do before I update to lion.  This is just one of the problems.  I don't know of a solution.  If I needed a new computer at this time, I don't think I would buy an Apple computer because of all the problems.  For the high price, you should get a problem free product or at least one that is easily fixable.


    Major Lion Problems


    Excessive Heat (all mpb have heat problems if you play games)

    Auto graphic card switching hangs (with snow leopard blue screens)

    Reading flash drives and external drives

  • thelightbulbsun Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks, OrangeMarlin.  Lots to learn about in land of the Macs.


    Point taken on the driver.  The reason I'm hesitant to assume it's power related is because everything else works.  Here is a short list of other devices I've used it for in the week or so I've owned this machine:

    • iPad (connected fine and charged iPad to full)
    • Seagate GoFlex (connects fine, but this device also uses wall power)
    • Samsung Spinpoint HDD (in an aluminum Rosewill enclosure, also uses wall power)
    • iPod Classic (fifth gen, 30GB), also charges
    • Samsung Captivate (Android phone), charges


    I got this machine from the Apple store last week, when I swapped out my original purchase MBP due to a screen defect.  I asked them to run a gamet of tests to ensure everything OK, and they complied (at least claimed to).  I assume if I brought it back, with the drive, they would be able to test for a power issue, correct?


    Thanks again.

  • OrangeMarlin Level 5 (5,145 points)

    I have a brand new MBP with Lion.  I have experienced none of your problems.  No heat, even with powerful graphics programs.  No Blue Screen.  No problem reading flash drives.  You're basing your complaints on your own person experience (a logical fallacy called confirmation bias), or on a self-selected group of individuals who come to this community discussion because they have an issue.  The vast majority have no issues.


    If you want to file a complaint with Apple, go here:



    Otherwise, we're here to help each other, not listen to rants.

  • OrangeMarlin Level 5 (5,145 points)

    Just a quick question, is it USB 3.0?  There seems to be an issue with some USB 3.0 drives and the MacBook Pro.  As opposed to the ranting whiner above, it isn't a Mac issue, but a failure of the disc drive manufacturer.

  • mrlou Level 1 (30 points)

    I have supplied feedback to apple 5 times over the last 3 months for the snow leopard blue screen graphic card switching problem.  And I am not alone.  Apple has made no attemp to acknowldge there is a problem.  The heat and external drive lion problem is listed multiple times in the apple community along with the hang problem.  I will be visiting the apple store shortly for the blue screen problem.  Hopefully, not a wasted trip.

  • mrlou Level 1 (30 points)

    I have 2 USB 3 backward usb 2 compatible drives that work with my early 2011 mbps using snow leopard.  It's probably lion is not compatible with the drive.

  • thelightbulbsun Level 1 (10 points)

    "Just a quick question, is it USB 3.0?  There seems to be an issue with some USB 3.0 drives and the MacBook Pro."


    Good question.  The drive itself is capable of USB 3.0, but is backward compatible to USB 2.0, as well.  For instance, my old ThinkPad T60p is only capable of USB 2.0, and is fully capable of reading this drive.  But if I were to plug it into a USB 3.0 device, it should work there, as well.


    The iMac is a few years old, and only capable of USB 2.0, and it can successfully read this external, as well.


    I should have thought to list that in the original description - thanks for thinking of it.  That being said, given that all these older machines can read the drive without incident, do you think it likely that 3.0 is the culprit?

  • fusekreative Level 1 (0 points)

    This worked for me when I had a similar issue with my LaCie drive:


    Open Disk utility (/Applications/Utilities/) and see if your hard drive shows up on the side.



    Also open Apple System Profiler (Apple menu>About this Mac>more info) and see if your hard drive show up there under 'usb'.



    If they show up in either of those places, it implies that the problem may be with mounting. You may have accidently turned off mounting hard drive on the desktop. Try turning it back on:



    Finder>Preferences>Sidebar>tick hard drives.

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