MacBook Pro vs. Maxtor External Hard Drive

MacBook Pro at the desktop.
Image via Wikipedia

I did a post about my computer issues recently. Let’s just say that I went a little mad without a computer and with a back-log of work to do, and my credit card took a beating. Seeing as I’ll be moving overseas at the end of the year, I’ve decided that, whilst it sucks that my hand was forced, a laptop would be easier to transport than a 21” desktop.

That does not mean that I have given up on the desktop. I’m picking it up tomorrow. From what it sounds, I haven’t done anything to it to make it give up the ghost, so I don’t see why I should pay over $1000 to get it fixed when it hasn’t lasted a minimum 5 years (a reasonable length of time under the Consumers Guarantees Act). But I digress.

The new MacBook Pro arrived today. I have my Maxtor 1TB external hard drive at work ready to plug in, load up my previous computer’s data onto the new computer, ready to get to work.

The MacBook Pro will not recognise the external hard drive. At all. Even Disk Utility won’t see it.


So, as with most issues, I put a post on facebook to see if my friends can shed any light on the situation. Believe me, that works most times.

Then I searched the internet for answers. I’ve linked what I found here; so I can refer to it later, can make sense of it, and so others with the same issue can use what I found.

  • Yahoo Answers: advice = could be faulty wiring: check the USB port is working, check the external hard drive is working on other computers. If it is, put the external hard drive on another computer, back it up, then reformat it, and then try again.
  • SIIG eSATA cards won’t be recognised: I don’t quite understand this one. It must mean that certain external hard drives, because of the internal cards they use, won’t work with MacBooks; “silicon based eSATAs must have some type of hardware conflict with MacBooks”. So SIIG must be ‘silicon based’, and one wants a JMB360 chipset. I think. More advice = wait until computer is completely booted up before turning on the eSATA hard drive.
  • Western Digital hard drive issue: at least the hard drive was working initially. I think. Or else it wasn’t formatted to Mac to begin with, and is a PC hard drive. Advice = a link to software to open NTFS (PC?) hardware on a mac.
  • Clicking noise: the hard drive had been working fine with the MacBook, but then stopped working and had a clicking noise. Advice = don’t drop it, take it to get fixed.
  • Specifically the same issue I’m having: Advice = check the disk utility. Thanks. If it’s the same as my issue, the Disk Utility won’t recognise it.
  • Specifically the same issue I’m having (2): Advice = plug into another device (PC?), and Maxtor Manager will (may) come up saying the device is locked and requires a password to unlock it. I’m unsure about this. Further advice repeats previous advice: check cable, check USB port, check hard drive on other computer to find the issue.
  • Specific Maxtor issue: Advice = format the drive. Is that the same as PC/Mac formatting? Or plugging into another computer for the Maxtor Manager to come up?

Okay, so the best advice seems to be to plug the external hard drive into another computer, and hope the Maxtor Manager comes up and the hard drive had somehow managed to lock itself. That is of course assuming that you have another computer available.

So, I plugged the external hard drive into my work computer (PC, Windows 7). The PC recognised it – fortunately – and said that the device was working properly. There wasn’t any Maxtor pop-up. And then when I opened the Computer, the external hard drive wasn’t there. I’ve just taken it out and put it back in, and no pop ups or recognising that the drive is connected.

Okay, checking the Maxtor site. Am advised that Maxtor is now Seagate. I find a Troubleshooter for Mac for Maxtor external hard drives. I click on it, and it says ‘Missing Plug-in’. Uh, thanks? What to do now?

I search the Seagate website. Oh, the ‘Missing Plug-in’ trouble shooter is exactly what I need. I can access it on my work computer. So I follow the step-by-step guides. Of course, check the power plug; check the USB cable; check the USB port; check Drive Partition using Disk Utility. I do the latter. The instructions advise where Disk Utiltiy is, and where to find the hard drive. Of course, it has no information on what to do if the bloody computer isn’t reading the drive (which is the freaking issue in the first freaking place), and so the hard drive doesn’t appear in Disk Utility. That troubleshooter is getting a 0 out of 5 from me.

But I give it a chance. I click through further. Page 5: Check System Profiler to see whether the computer is reading the external hard drive at all. I check. It isn’t. The advice is, check it on another Mac OS. If it still doesn’t work, then the drive is faulty. If it works on the second computer but not the first, then the first computer is faulty. (i.e. not our problem).

I’m still at square one. HELP!!!

Of course, I had been searching on my work computer, which for some reason searches Bing instead of Google. So I do another search, but on the MacBook.

Amendment – 16 March 2011 – GUESS WHAT?

So, I took it into the Mac Store today, to get them to sort out this issue for me. Of course, what did it do? Oh, it just recognised the external hard-drive. Three times in a row. No problems. FFS!

I’ve taken it home, and of course, it’s worked again.

So, for people with the same problem – I don’t know how to fix it. Sorry. It just … decided to work.

Amendment – use a USB 3.0 cable. That is all.

Published by phetheringtonnz

Film Producer, Director, Lecturer. From NZ based in London.

3 replies on “MacBook Pro vs. Maxtor External Hard Drive”

  1. Oh FFS. Of course, now, my computer has again decided not to recognise the hard drive. The only advice I can offer is that it’s intermittent and f*&%ing stupid. Dear Apple. Thanks. Bastards. Sincerely, Patricia.

  2. Hi to anyone reading this.
    One thing that I worked out, is my new external HD (I used 1TB of space, had to expand) is a Flex drive, so designed for Mac or PC, and can be swapped between both. It has a USB 3.0 connector. The older external HD has a USB 2.0 cable. It works with the 3.0 cable. Try that.

    1. Bonjour Mascnz,

      The eternal computer sagas are frankly so discombobulating…it can drive a person to jump….I am starting to switch from PC to Mac….and I have been reading the experiences of many such as yourself…I will jump if it occurs…but I fortunate that my PC is still a little from crashing and I see that drives such as the FLEX work with both….thanks for sharing your computer legend….I will let you know what happens on my end…..Luis

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