External Hard Drive Showing Wrong Capacity Mac

Problem – Files Not Showing in External Hard Drive. Although external hard drives have brought as great convenience in daily life and work, there are chances that they might fail to display some of their files or even seem to have lost them completely, despite the disk capacity in disk properties being shown as utilized. The best way to look for an incorrectly formatted drive is to go to. Apple (in the top toolbar menu) About This Mac Storage. See if the external drive shows up here. For more information, go to the same menu option, then select System Report. Mac not formatted to display external drives on the desktop. Sep 30, 2021 Possible causes of external hard drive not showing the real capacity. There are many elements that can account for external hard drive showing less capacity and main factors are concluded as follows: ☞ Install bootable operating system on the external hard drive, changing its file system, and bring free space out.

There are several reasons why an external hard drive may not be accessible or detected when you connect it to your computer.

While it is possible that your external hard drive may have come with bundled software that may be incompatible with newer operating systems, this is typically just ‘back up’ software, and the drive is not dependent on that software to function.
The external hard drive itself, under normal circumstances, should be detected by your operating system, without the need of drivers, software or firmware updates.

If your external hard drive is not accessible please try these basic troubleshooting steps first.

Basic hardware troubleshooting steps:

  • Try connecting the drive to a different port on the computer.
  • If possible, try using a different cable.
  • Try using the drive on a different computer.
  • Verify the drive light is on. Desktop Drives typically require a power adapter. No light could indicate the power adapter is not connected to power.
  • Try a different power outlet. (Desktop Drives)
  • If using a surge protector or power strip, plug the power adapter directly into the wall outlet instead.(Desktop Drives)

For advanced troubleshooting steps select your operating system:


Check both Device Manager and Disk Management in the Computer Management console:


  • On your keyboard, hold the Windows Key () down and press R.
  • Type compmgmt.msc into to the run box.
  • Click on Device Manager on the left.
  • First check the Disk Drives section in the middle window by double-clicking it.
  • Look for your drive name. If you see the drive is detected here continue reading. If not, click here.
  • Right click on your external drive listed under Disk Drives.
  • Click on Properties.
  • Click on the “Volumes” tab.
  • Click on Populate.
  • Document the disk number provided in this window (Disk 1, Disk 2, etc…).
  • Now click on Disk Management on the left-hand side. This will allow us to view the drive’s health.
  • In the middle towards the bottom locate the disk number from earlier.

Once you have located the drive you will want to look for the following:

Does it show RAW or Unallocated? Either of these indicates a possible issue with the drive’s formatting.

If the drive shows as RAW or Unallocated and you have already tried a different port, cable, and computer but you need the data, then you will want to consider data recovery.
If you do not need any data from the drive, you should be able to reformat the drive to restore accessibility. Read our How To Format Your Drive article for instructions on the process. WARNING: Formatting erases all data on the drive.

If the drive is formatted correctly for Windows you should see the following information:

  • NTFS - If NTFS is missing then the file system has become corrupted. You can format the drive if you don’t need the data.
  • Capacity - Check to see if the drive is correct, for example if you have a 1 TB drive it should say 931 GB.
  • Drive letter - Verify that the drive has a drive letter. If it is missing, verify that other drives have a letter. If other drives have a letter but the external is missing then you can right-click and select change drive letter or path.
  • Click Add then assign a letter and OK.

Drive not detected troubleshooting:

If the drive was not detected under Disk Drives then check the following:

  • Within Device Manager look for any entries called unknown device, other device, or mass storage device with a yellow ! icon. Important - Make sure to expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section so you can see entries there as well.
  • If you see an unknown device or other device then right-click on it and select properties.
  • Under the general tab locate ‘Device Status’ and there may be an error code.
  • You may see a code 10 or 28.

If you see Code 10 and have already tried another cable and computer then the drive has probably failed.
If you need the data on the drive, then you will want to consider data recovery.
If you do not need the data and the drive is still within warranty, you will want to have the drive replaced. Visit the Warranty and Replacements section on Seagate.com for further details.

If you see Code 28 (this may work for others codes too, i.e. Code 43) then try the following:

  • Close the window with the code.
  • Right-click on the device with the issue and select uninstall.
  • Shut the computer down and disconnect the drive.
  • Reboot with the drive disconnected.
  • Once the computer is booted, plug the drive into a different port.
  • You should see that Windows is installing device drivers.
  • Once the driver loads, check to see if it is giving the same Code.

Note: If that fails, you will need to try to reload the USB drivers for the operating system by inserting your Windows Media, rebooting and attempting a Repair/Restore.

Warning: This can be dangerous to your data and you should disconnect your external drive before attempting this.

If the drive is not showing on your desktop or within Finder check Disk Utility.

External hard drive for mac laptop

Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility

If the drive is not detected in Disk Utility then see the System Information/System Profiler section.

If you are using macOS 10.13 or higher then click view in the upper left and select “Show All Devices” which allows you to see both the disk as well as volumes.

The non-indented entry is the physical disk entry and when selected should say media in the name. In Mac OS X version 10.6 to 10.10 this entry will display the capacity of the drive instead of saying media. The indented entries will vary depending on how the drive is formatted but these entries will be volumes or containers associated to the physical disk.

Select the indented entry for your drive and click on the “Mount” button at the top of the Disk Utility. If the drive didn’t mount this indicates some level of file system corruption.

Select the indented entry and then click on First Aid

  • In Mac OS X version 10.6 to 10.10, click Verify Disk to see if the volume needs to be repaired.
  • Once the Verify Disk process is complete it will suggest you repair the disk or tell you there is nothing wrong with it.
  • If this is not the only copy of your important data, then try to run the Repair Disk process to see if it resolves the file system corruption.
  • If this is the only copy of your important data, then we suggest running data recovery software on the drive in an attempt to retrieve your files.
  • If the Repair Disk process fails to repair the disk then you will want to reformat it to see if you are dealing with a physical issue or a logical issue. WARNING: Formatting erases all data on the drive.
  • If there is no indented entry then the drive needs to be formatted or run the data recovery software on the drive in an attempt to retrieve your files.

If the drive needs to be formatted then click on the article that matches the operating system.
How to format a drive in Mac OS 10.6 to 10.10
How to format your drive in macOS 10.11 and above

If the drive is not detected in Disk Utility then check System Information/System Profiler.

Hold the Option key then click on the Apple Icon, the first entry should say System Information/System Profiler. If it says About this Mac then press and hold the option key again.

Once in System Information/System Profiler:

  • On the left-hand side locate Hardware
  • Under hardware locate the interface you are using (i.e. USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt, etc.)
  • In the middle window, locate the drive and select it
  • You should see the drive information listed in centre at the bottom
  • The serial and/or model number should be listed

If the drive is not in System Information/System Profiler or in Disk Utility then try another Mac to see if the drive is detected there. If the drive is detected on the other Mac then continue with the following Apple specific troubleshooting.

Trying some of Apple specific troubleshooting may help resolve the issue.

Reboot into Safe Mode and see if the drive is detected. If it is detected then reboot back into normal mode and see if the drive is now detected

Apple Safe Mode - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201262

If that does not resolve the issue then try each of the following resets. Sometimes it helps to do these more than once.

Apple NVRAM reset - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063

Apple SMC reset - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295

If you have exhausted either of the Windows or Macintosh advanced troubleshooting steps, and your external hard drive is still not accessible or detected, for further assistance contact Seagate support.

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Summary :

Accidentally Converted External Hard Drive to 'ESD-USB'? Can we recover files after converting the external drive to ESD-USB with ease? Yes, MiniTool Software can help us! But, how to to revert the ESD-USB drive to normal?

Quick Navigation :

Problem: Last week, I used my external hard drive (1TB) to create installation media for Windows to do a clean install of Windows 10 on my laptop. However, after completing the installation, my hard drive came up as ESD-USB of 32GB.

What happened to my hard drive? What should we do if we converted the external hard drive to ESD-USB by mistake?

In this situation, can we recover files after converting the external drive to ESD-USB with ease? What’s more, is it possible to restore the external hard drive to its full capacity?

Now, in today’s post, I am going to show you how to effectively recover lost files from ESD-USB 32GB drive as well as how to revert the ESD-USB drive to normal.

Quick Video Guide:

Part 1. Recover Files after Converting A Drive to ESD-USB

No doubt, we can create a Windows bootable drive by using some tools like Microsoft Media Creation Tool and then use the created drive to clean install Windows 10.

However, most users have reported that their hard drive (neither external hard drive nor USB flash drive) came up as ESD-USB of 32 GB after creating this installation media, according to a survey.

As a result, they could not find their original data stored on this drive. Therefore, more and more users want to know whether they can recover lost files from their drives.

Now, the good news is that MiniTool Power Data Recovery, a piece of professional and simple data recovery software developed by a famous software development company based in Canada, can help to recover lost files completely, easily and quickly.

Besides, this professional and all-in-one program offers wizard-like interfaces and simple operations which can help users complete data recovery without any difficulty. To be honest, even our grandmother can easily use this tool to deal with data loss situations because of its detailed instructions.

What's more, it is a read-only tool. In other words, we can use this all-in-one program tool to recover lost data without bringing any damage to the original data.

Next, let's see the detailed steps of data recovery.

Step by Step Guide to Recovering Lost Data after Converting A Drive to ESD-USB

Before you do:

Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Connect your external drive to your computer.

External Hard Drive Showing Wrong Capacity Mac Air

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to get its main interface as follows. Select the target drive and then click the Scan button to begin scanning data on it. You can also click Devices tab, select the target drive and click Scan.

Step 2. Choose all the needed files, and then click the Save button to store them in a safe place.

If you do not know whether a file should be recovered, the feature, “Preview”, makes it possible to view some types of files like pictures before recovering.

If MiniTool Power Data Recovery finds and lists a lot of files, you can turn to the Filter feature to filter needless files by file name, file extension, file size, and creation or modification date.

Tip: The trial edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery can only scan lost data. If you want to recover this data, you had better choose advanced licenses such as personal license.

After recovering lost data, let's see how to fix this issue: accidentally converted hard drive to ESD-USB.

Part 2. 3 Ways to Fix - Converted External Hard Drive to ESD-USB Mistakenly

Let’s begin with a true example from the Microsoft Community.

Accidentally Converted External Hard Drive to 'ESD-USB' Ever since I got my Yoga 3 I have been having numerous problems with Windows 10. Finally, I decided to do a clean install of Windows 10 which involved installing the OS from an external drive. I did not know when downloading the pertinent installer onto the external it would format it into an ESD USB (I have no idea what that means).

Here, can we revert the external hard drive back to normal?

Of course, we can restore the external hard drive back to its full capacity. Here are 3 solutions to help you!

Method 1: Check and Fix Errors

Connect the external drive to your computer and check if it shows up in the Windows Disk Management window. Note: If it doesn't show up in Disk Management, you can click the Action tab and choose Rescan Disks, as shown below.

Open Command Prompt (Admin). If you don't know how to open it, you can find answers from this post: How to Open the Command Prompt as Administrator in Windows 8 or 10.

Enter the command: chkdsk X: /f (where x is the external drive letter) and press the Enter key. (This step helps check the drive for the errors and fix it automatically.)

Enter the command: exit and press Enter key.

Now, you can check if you are able to see the full capacity of the external hard drive.

Note: It is recommended to back up all important data on the drive before checking and repairing errors. If any bad sectors are found on the hard drive, the chkdsk will try repairing that sector. However, the repairing process will lead to data loss.

Method 2: Create A New Partition

In general, since you have recovered lost data by using MiniTool Power Data Recovery, you can directly create a new partition while keeping this Windows restoration partition.

Open the Windows Disk Management window.

Right-click the unallocated space and then click New Simple Volume.

Click on the Next button.

Type in how many MB (1 GB = 1024 MB) you want to use from the unallocated partition to create the new partition with, and then click on the Next button.

Select an available drive letter, and then click the Next button.

Type in a volume label, check the Perform a quick format box and click the Next button.

Click Finish.

Note: There's an easier way to create a new partition. By using MiniTool Partition Wizard, you can easily and quickly create partition on Windows 10/8/7 as it offers powerful functions and simple interfaces.

Method 3: Format It to NTFS

Sometimes, after converting the external hard drive to ESD-USB by mistake, you will find the drive shows up but is RAW. (picture below)

Now, you can format it.

Note: Formatting drive may result in loss of data. It is recommended to transfer data saved on the hard drive before formatting to prevent any such loss.

When it comes to drive formatting, you can turn to Disk Management, diskpart, third-party tool and other tools.

MiniTool Partition Wizard, a free and professional partition magic software is strongly recommended here since its wizard-like interfaces as well as simple operations can help us easily and quickly format drives.

If you want the detailed steps, you can read this post: How to Format a Hard Drive with Ease?

Bottom Line

External hard drive showing wrong capacity mac download

Have you ever mistakenly converted your hard drive to ESD-USB? What should you do if your external hard drive has shrunk to 32GB?

Now, after reading this post, you have picked up 3 solutions to restore a hard drive to its full capacity as well as the secret of how to effectively, completely and safely recover lost data after converting the external drive to ESD-USB.

Should you have any questions or suggestions about MiniTool tools, you can leave us comments in the comment zone or directly contact us via [email protected]. We will solve your issues as soon as possible.