Mac External Hard Drive Greyed Out

There are times when the Seagate Secure feature is grayed out or Toolkit displays a blank white screen on macOS. Here are some potential causes and resolutions: Toolkit does not detect a drive that supports the Seagate Secure feature: Make sure your drive is detected by the operating system. Make sure the drive is detected on the Toolkit home. Answer (1 of 3): Tom Patrick is right — provided you can remember all those arcane incantations precisely. (Terminal is obsessively literal, so you must get everything exactly right or things may go very wrong, and there is no “Are you sure”, and no “Undo”.).

  1. Mac Portable External Hard Drive
  2. Outlook Import Greyed Out Mac
  3. Mac External Disk Drive
  4. Other Users Greyed Out Mac

When folders or files showed greyed out on Mac, you cannot open it nor access the saved file. To resolve this issue, you may need to use Terminal on Mac for help. Follow the two phrases provided on this page, you will effectively fix folders and files greyed out issue on Mac with ease:

Workable SolutionsStep-by-step Troubleshooting
Phrase 1. Fix Greyed Out Folder/FilesOpen Finder > Locate the greyed out folder or file > Go to Application > Open Terminal...Full steps
Phrase 2. Recover Folders/FilesTo restore the lost folders and files, run EaseUS Mac data recovery software, scan device...Full steps

Why my folders and files greyed out on Mac?

'I managed to transfer some photos and videos from an old Seagate external hard drive to my Mac, but they all grayed out and couldn't be accessed! By the way, the grayed out folders and files reported an error 24 January 1984. Did it mean those files were created on that date? That's ridiculous. How could I fix grayed out folders or files on Mac without data loss and damage?'

When Mac folders or files greyed out and were inaccessible, your Mac could detect the error and set the date the Macintosh was first introduced, January 24, 1984. Many factors can cause this problem, like a fault in the file system entry for the file, or Mac hard drive formatting, interruption in the file or folder copying process, power failure, Mac OS crash, and more. Whatever the reason is, the result is the files or folders greyed out; you cannot open the folder.

How to Fix Mac Folders Grayed out in Terminal

Changing the date of the folder or file is a feasible way to fix greyed out folder on Mac. You can make it with the help of XCode (download XCode from the App Store).

Step 1. Open Finder and find the grayed out folder or file that shows 24 January 1984 error.

Step 2. Go to Applications and open the Terminal app.

Step 3. Type SetFile -d 11/09/2016 /Path/to/grayed-out-folder/ and tap on return.

By running the command, the date of your grayed out files or folders will change to 11/09/2016. Or you can set the time to any day as you wish. Now, you should see the greyed out folder turns to normal black.

A similar topic you may be interested in: How to fix photos half grayed out.

How to Recover Folders/Files with Free Mac Data Recovery Tool

Congratulations if you have solved the grayed out folders issue by following the instructions listed above. While if the problem keeps unsettled and is related to Mac hard drive formatting, operation errors, or system failure, you’d better directly recover the greyed out folders or files by using free data recovery software for Mac.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is such a free tool that allows you to recover lost or deleted files, photos, audio, music, emails from Mac hard drive effectively and safely. It supports data recovery from Mac trash bin, hard drive, memory card, flash drive, digital camera and camcorders due to deletion, formatting, lost partition, virus attack, system crash, and more.

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the 'Scan' button.

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click the 'Recover' button to have them back.


When you connect an external hard drive on Mac, it will show up on Desktop, Finder, and DiskUtility. But sometimes the external drive won’t appear on any of these places. Consequently, data inside the unmounted external hard drive turns inaccessible. The contained files and the external drive’s integrity comes to a stake.

Don’tworry, read and apply the below fixes to resolve Mac unmounted external drive issue.

1. Change macOS Settings

Ensure Finder preference to show external disks on Desktop or Finder is enabled.

  • Open Finder from Dock. From the top Menu Bar, go to Finder > Preferences.
  • On the “Finder Preferences” window, click the General tab.
  • Under the “Show these items on the Desktop” section, select the “External disks” checkbox. Your Desktop will now show the external hard drive icon.
  • Click the Sidebar tab. Under the Locations section, select the “External disks” checkbox. Your Finder sidebar will now show the external hard drive.

Ensure Disk Utility’s View menu has “ShowAllDevices” option selected.

  • Press Command + Space Bar keys to open Spotlight.
  • Type ‘disk utility’ and hit Return to open Disk Utility.
  • Click the View menu located at the top left corner of Disk Utility and select “Show All Devices”. Your Disk Utility’s sidebar will now show the external hard drive.

2. Reset Mac Firmware Settings

Reset NVRAM (Non-volatile RAM) & PRAM (Parameter RAM).

  • Restart Mac then immediately press and hold Option + Command + P + R keys until you hear a second chime.

Reset SMC (System Management Controller) on your Mac.

  • For iMac, Mac Pro/mini, or laptop with a removable battery—detach the power cable or take out the battery then press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds.
  • For MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or MacBook with non-removable battery—press and hold Shift + Control + Option + Power Button for 10 seconds.

3. Fix External Hard Drive Connectivity Issue

Ensure proper connectivity of your external hard drive to your Mac.

  • Reconnect the USB connector or adapter to fit the hard drive snugly.
  • Connect the hard drive to a different USB port or a different Mac.
  • Replace the USB cable or adapter in case you suspect it to be damaged.
  • Connect external power source if the hard drive requires one.
  • Check the LED light to ensure the storage device is powered on and working.
  • Swap the hard drive with a different case if you presume it to be faulty.

ReadCaseStudy: Whooping 94% data recovered from unmounted external drive on MacBook Pro

4. Troubleshoot External Hard Drive

Mount the external hard drive from Disk Utility.

  • Open DiskUtility then select the greyed out hard drive from the sidebar.
  • Click the Mount tab. The drive will mount automatically.

Repair hard drive from Disk Utility.

  • Open Disk Utility then select the hard drive from the sidebar.
  • Click First Aid then hit Run to verify and repair logical issues with the hard drive.

Mac Portable External Hard Drive

Check the SMART status of the external hard drive if it unmounts intermittently.

  • Open Disk Utility then check the SMART Status of the external hard drive.
  • In case the SMART Status is failing, then back up the drive by cloning.
  • Replace the failing drive with a new one to safeguard against data loss.

5. Recover Data from Non-Mounting External Mac Hard Drive

Ensure the external hard drive is detected in Disk Utility, then fulfill the following data recovery prerequisite.

  • On your Mac system, download and install the *trial version of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac.

Outlook Import Greyed Out Mac

  • Launch the software by double-clicking on its icon. [You’ll interact with its intuitive graphical user interface.]

Leverage the Mac external drive recovery software to recover data from the not-mounting external storage drive.

Mac External Disk Drive

  • Select the types of files present on the drive then click Next.
  • Select the not-mounting external hard drive then toggle on Deep Scan.
  • Click Scan. And let the scan to finish till completion.
  • View the scanned items in Classic, File, or Deleted List. Once a view mode is selected, navigate the folders then preview any scanned files from the right pane.
  • Select all the required files by clicking their corresponding checkbox, then click Recover. Specify a save destination then click Save.

Note: *Trial software allows you to scan storage drive and preview scanned files. Activate Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac by using its activation key and recover the files.

Watch the next video to know more about the software and its usage.


This blog presented 5 different methods to troubleshoot ‘external hard drive not mounting’ issue on Mac. You can begin with fixing the external hard drive connectivity issue, changing macOS settings, resetting Mac firmware settings, troubleshooting the drive, and finally recovering data from the hard drive.

Other Users Greyed Out Mac

If the external hard drive is not detected in Disk Utility, then it may have a hardware issue. And if the basic hard drive connectivity fixes don’t resolve the problem, then you need to try Stellar Data Recovery software for Mac.

We hope this blog post helped you understand the possible reasons, as to why macOS can’t mount the external drive on Mac and how to troubleshoot and recover the unmounted Mac external drive. For any query, write to us in the comments section below.