MacMost Now 853: Ejecting and Remounting External Drives

Learn how to properly eject an external hard drive or USB flash drive. You can also remount an ejected drive without needing to unplug the drive and plug it back in using Disk Utility.

Comments: 39 Responses to “MacMost Now 853: Ejecting and Remounting External Drives”

    Kendall
    7 years ago

    I prefer keyboard commands. When I need to unmount/eject a drive, I single click on the desktop icon to highlight it then type
    Cmd + E.

    Luke Thomas
    7 years ago

    Now I understand what this “ejecting and mounting” of drives means. Why can’t the Operating system do it automatically?

      7 years ago

      Because it can’t predict when you will physically rip the drive or USB cable from the port. There’s no way for the OS to know you intentions. Giving it a warning by clicking the eject button allows the OS to make sure it stops using the disk before you do that.

        David Lee
        7 years ago

        Is that why Apple went with this scheme way back when? How does it work on a ‘Win-doze’ PC? Isn’t it automatically done in their shutdown procedure? I have found that if I forget to eject an external drive and shut down the Mac THEN CATCH MYSELF AND DO NOT SHUT DOWN THE DRIVE, but just re-boot the Mac and then eject normally, everything is okay. But if I shut the drive down I screw up the directory. Thoughts?

          7 years ago

          If you shut down your Mac, you don’t need to eject, that’s right. It is when you pull the drive while the Mac is running (or sleeping) that you could get into trouble.

    Emilio
    7 years ago

    Hi,
    I have a WD NAS mybooklive. Should I desmount it before putting my bookpro to sleep (close lid)?
    I do not do it.
    Could it be the reason for taking so long (up to 2 minutes to see the content of my folders on my NAS? AppleCare support has not found a solution for this. (Nor WD Support).
    Thanks a lot

      7 years ago

      Not sure why the 2 minute delay.. only WD would know the answer. But you shouldn’t have to unmount it before sleeping. However, why not try it? Try unmounting. Then sleep. Then wake. Then mounting again. See if that speeds it up. Don’t be afraid to try things like that to find solutions. That’s how people like me do it.

    Squafdonoboles
    7 years ago

    I just right-click the desktop icon to bring up the drop-down list, then select “Eject this drive”.

    Debbie
    7 years ago

    My new Nikon doesn’t appear in my new iMac finder window under devices or on the desktop. How can I properly eject a device (camera) when no icon is visible?

      Debbie
      7 years ago

      (I did set my preferences properly)

        7 years ago

        If the icon isn’t visible, then it isn’t “mounted” and there is no reason to eject. Are you able to view it in the Finder at all?

          Spice
          7 years ago

          I have a Nikon also and I think their software only lets you download to their program and your camera won’t appear on the desktop. Just insert the memory card and go from there.

            Debbie
            6 years ago

            What do you mean “insert the memory card”?
            I just plug in the camera and upload pics. Then I rip out the plug.

          Debbie
          6 years ago

          It doesn’t appear in the finder. I find it strange not to need to eject it as all other plugables need ejecting.

            6 years ago

            If it isn’t a readable file volume, it won’t appear in the Finder. There are lots of examples of USB devices that do that: keyboards and mice, for instance. A scanner may be a better example as you would not expect a scanner to appear in the Finder, yet you would use software to get images from it. So it appears your camera works like that.

    Kevin
    7 years ago

    I have a MacBook Pro 2008-and I put it to sleep constantly without unmounting my 7 external drives. How does that square with your warning about MacBooks?

      7 years ago

      Sleep should be no problem as long as you are not disconnecting them. But it could depend on the drive. You tell me — do you have any problems? Do you get warnings or alerts?

    dusty
    7 years ago

    the real issue for me is when the drive wiring gets pulled out by mistake without being ejected and afterwards mac cant mount it — not because there is anything wrong with the drive, but because the switches are now corrupted and need to be reset. a PC can read it, but not a mac. I believe there is a way to fix this via the terminal but I dont know what it is —

      lockness
      6 years ago

      have you figured out an answer to your question yet im going threw the same problem

    Peter Crilley
    7 years ago

    when I attach my phone to my mac it sees the micro card in the phone and the drive in the phone showing 2 connected drives. I click unmount 1 then the other but as I unmount the second the first shows as mounted again, I then have to pull cable without unmounting To be told by the mac I may possibly damage or lose data. Would disc utility sort this?

      7 years ago

      Try it and see. It is definitely a problem if the phone does that. It shouldn’t.

    Ken
    7 years ago

    I have a Western Digital external drive attached to my iMac. The drive has it’s own power source. Is there an easy way to create a script or automate the eject process when shutting down the iMac? In other words, make it a one versus two step process.

      7 years ago

      You could probably write a script to eject the drives and then shut down. But if you are not a programmer, it won’t be easy. Maybe consider never shutting down. I don’t. http://macmost.com/shut-down-or-sleep.html

        7 years ago

        Actually, now that I re-read your question: you don’t need to eject the drive at all when shutting down. Shutting down will take care of things gracefully. No need to eject first.

          Ken
          7 years ago

          Thanks Gary. That makes it simple.

    madtoe
    7 years ago

    This is very helpful because I’m disabled and I can’t use my hands to remount a disk.

    MaryTw
    7 years ago

    I don’t know why, but if I hit the eject button you show in the video and wait til it disappears, I’ll still get a message that Ive improperly removed the drive, typically with a thumb drive that my husband uses on his Windows machine. Think that makes a difference? To avoid this I have to go up into the menu to eject.

      7 years ago

      Perhaps it has more than one volume (partition) for that drive. So you remove one, but not the other? Either way, I wouldn’t spend much time trying to figure it out. Just use the method that works.

        MaryTw
        7 years ago

        No, I get that question in appropriate situations: how many volumes etc do I want to remove? If I see it occur again, I’ll try to note whether it’s a Windows users’ thumb drive when it happens.

    Wayne Garriepy
    7 years ago

    I’ve been told that a flash/thumb drive can just be removed/pulled out without damage because these have no moving parts. Correct?

      7 years ago

      Not at all! It isn’t about moving parts. It is about data access. If OS X is writing or modifying a file when you pull it out, then you can do serious damage — not physical damage, but damage to the data on the drive, possibly even making it unreadable.

    josh8
    7 years ago

    I have my iTunes music on a HD. The HD stays plugged in. When I put the computer to sleep and come back to wake it, I get a message that says that the HD was not ejected properly. Is there a way where I can Just leave it plugged in and not have it eject when putting the mac to sleep?

      7 years ago

      It sounds like with that particular hard drive, you will have to eject it. Might have to do with the drive’s power saving feature — it may turn itself off after not being used.

    MaryTw
    7 years ago

    External HDD for Mac. Clicked arrow next to HDD. Got question about how much to eject. Choose entire HD. A few seconds later the arrow disappeared. Then a few seconds later I got this excited message:
    The disk was not ejected properly. If possible, always eject a disk before unplugging it or turning it off. To eject a disk select it in the Finder and choose File > Eject. The next time you connect the disk, Mac OS X will attempt to repair any damage… Does anyone have idea why this happens?

      7 years ago

      Hard to say. Could have something to do with the drive itself.

    Kate Han
    6 years ago

    My Mac OS X, Version 10.6.6 doesn’t read my USB. It happened after a message saying, “Disk not ejected properly” appeared. What should I do?

      6 years ago

      If the drive contained data that you need, then you can take it to a pro to have them try to recover it. Or, learn how to use pro tools yourself to try to do that. Otherwise, just use Disk Utility to wipe it and start over with it.

    Edgardo Cheb-Terrab
    6 years ago

    It would look more natural to me to have an option within Finder to “mount” drives that are at reach (ie visible when you launch disk utility). So my question: is there a way to mount such a drive directly from Finder, without going through disk utility as you say in the video? Thanks

      6 years ago

      Not that I can think of, off-hand. But usually you wouldn’t need it — you would plug the drive in and it would appear. Then you would only eject it if you were removing it.

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