Latest Guide to Fixing Corrupted External Hard Drives on Mac

If you're facing difficulties accessing your external hard drive on your Mac, it could be due to drive corruption. Corrupted external hard drives can restrict access to important files and data, causing frustration and stress. This informative article aims to explore the causes of external hard drive corruption on Mac systems and provide effective solutions to fix the issue. We'll discuss methods to repair a corrupted drive without formatting and how to recover lost data.

Part I. Causes of External Hard Drive Corruption on Mac

Corruption of a hard drive on a Mac can occur due to logical errors in the partition table or file system. These errors can disrupt the drive's ability to mount, access, or read data. Various external storage devices, including HDDs, SSDs, USB flash drives, and SD cards, can be affected. If you encounter error messages, difficulty accessing files or opening the drive, or Mac system recognition problems, there's a possibility that your external hard drive is corrupted.

Common causes of hard drive corruption on Mac include power outages, hardware malfunctions, operating system crashes, virus/malware infections, and improper drive shutdown or ejection. Read on to discover effective methods for fixing a corrupted hard drive on your Mac.

Part II. Fix a Corrupted External Hard Drive without Reformatting (Three Methods Explained)

Method 01: Check IDE/SATA USB Connections

One potential cause of a corrupted external hard drive on a Mac is a faulty or poor connection. Broken wires, loose connectors, worn-out cables, and short circuits are a few potential causes of this. To solve this problem, you could take the following actions:
  • Remove any USB hubs or extensions and connect the device directly to the computer.
  • Gently unplug and reinsert the external device into the port.
  • Try using a different USB port or connecting the device to another Mac computer.
  • Use a different USB cable to connect the hard disk to your Mac.

  • Check for software updates in the App Store to ensure that outdated drivers are not causing the external hard drive to go unrecognized.

Method 02: Fix the Corrupted Drive with Disk Utility

If checking the connections doesn't resolve the issue, a minor file system corruption may be causing the unresponsiveness. In this case, you can use the built-in Disk Utility app to fix the problem. Follow these steps:
  • Go to "Applications" > "Utilities" and open "Disk Utility."
  • Select the corrupted hard drive from the sidebar in the Disk Utility window.
  • Click on "First Aid" at the top, the Disk Utility app will start the repair process, which may take some time to complete.
Fix the Corrupted Drive with Disk Utility

Method 03: Repair the External Hard Drive with the FSCK Command (medium difficulty)

If the Disk Utility app is unable to fix the faulty hard drive and your Mac cannot recognize or read it, you can try using the FSCK command as an alternative repair method. This command-line tool grants access to your inaccessible files. Here's how:
  • Go to "Finder" on your Mac computer > "Utilities" > "Terminal."
  • Type the command "diskutil list" to see the connected drives on your Mac.
  • Locate the external hard drive you want to repair in the list and find its drive identifier (e.g., disk2, disk3, disk).
  • Restart your Mac and hold down "Command + S" keys to boot into Single User Mode.
  • Enter the command "/sbin/fsck –fy" followed by "/sbin/fsck_hfs -fy /dev/[drive identifier]" (replace hfs with the file system of your external hard drive and [drive identifier] with the identifier of the external hard drive).
After the FSCK command finishes checking and repairing errors, type "reboot" in the command prompt to restart your Mac.

These methods should help you fix a corrupted external hard drive on your Mac without the need for reformatting.

Part III. How to Repair Your External Hard Drive on Mac by Reformatting the Device?

When all other attempts to fix a corrupted hard drive have failed, reformatting the drive may be the only remaining option. If the drive's formatting and directory structure have been seriously compromised, this might be necessary. You can also read the related article about How to Format (External) Hard Drive for Mac and PC.

It's crucial to remember that reformatting the drive will completely delete all of its contents. Before formatting the corrupted Mac external hard disk, it is advised to recover any crucial data in order to prevent data loss, especially if you are unsure that you have a comprehensive and up-to-date data backup.

Part IV. How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive on Mac through Reformatting

To recover lost data from a corrupted external hard drive on Mac, you can utilize specialized data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. This software is specifically designed to retrieve lost data from external hard drives that have become unreadable or unrecognizable due to corruption, formatting, or other related issues. iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac offers the capability to restore files from the Trash, recover lost or deleted APFS partitions, and retrieve data from various storage devices like USB flash drives, memory cards, and pen drives. It supports a wide range of file types and is compatible with various Mac operating systems, including the latest versions of macOS.

Follow these steps to recover data from a corrupted external hard drive on Mac:
  • Start by downloading and installing iBoysoft Data Recovery on your macOS computer.
  • Then, connect the corrupted hard drive to your MacBook/iMac and launch the iBoysoft Data Recovery software.
  • Select your corrupted drive and click on "Search for Lost Data" to initiate a comprehensive scan for all recoverable files.

  • Search for lost data scan
  • Once the scan is complete, you can view the recovered files in the "Complete Result" folder. Preview the file content and select the specific files you need.
  • Click on the "Recover" button and save the recovered files to a different and functioning drive. This step is crucial to prevent any potential overwriting of data. Finally, thoroughly check the recovered files to ensure the successful restoration of all lost data.

After successfully recovering the data from the corrupted hard drive, you can proceed to reformat it in order to resolve the issue and restore its functionality. However, if the reformatting process proves to be unsuccessful or triggers an error message, it is likely that the drive has sustained physical damage. In such cases, it is advisable to seek professional repair or replace the faulty drive altogether. This precautionary measure will help prevent any future issues from arising.

Part V. More Tips to Prevent External Hard Drive Corruption on Your Mac

To safeguard against external hard drive corruption on your Mac, it is advisable to follow the following recommendations:
  • Keep your Mac's operating system and all software up to date. Regular updates help prevent corruption stemming from outdated software or system components.
  • Always eject the external hard drive properly before disconnecting it to ensure the completion of ongoing data transfers or access.
  • Use a surge protector or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to shield your Mac and external hard drive from power surges or fluctuations.
  • Avoid subjecting the external hard drive to harsh environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures or high humidity.
  • Perform regular disk utility checks on the external hard drive to identify and resolve potential issues promptly.


No responses found. Be the first to comment...

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: