WD Elements Not Showing Up On Mac Title Image

You’ve gone to move some files from your WD Elements drive.

And for some reason it doesn’t show up on your mac.

But you need those files. And the last thing you want is lost files.

How do you get to those files on your external hard drive?

Read on to find out what might have gone wrong.

And how to solve your Elements on Mac issue.

Solve WD Elements Not Showing Up Mac

Your WD Elements when delivered by Western Digital is an NTFS drive.

NTFS is a file system format a Windows PC uses.

Your Mac can see an NTFS format Elements external drive. But can’t write to it.

To fully use your Elements external hard drive you’ll need to format it on your Mac.

Or install and use NTFS driver software on your Mac.

You can find out how to format your Elements external drive for Mac at this post here.

Even if you haven’t formatted your external drive for your Mac. Your Mac should still show your NTFS format drive on your desktop.

WD Elements Drive Icon

Please read on for some answers.

1. Elements Not Showing Up Check Finder

Your first time using your Elements external hard drive on your Mac computer?

Then your Mac may not be set up to show your external HDD on your desktop by default.

You solve this by setting an option in Finder preferences.

Open up a new finder window. And click Finder preferences.

Finder Preferences
Finder Preferences

In the pop up window. Click the General tab.

Finder Preferences Show External Disks
Finder Preferences Show External Disks

Then scroll down the list of options. And put a check mark against ”External Disks’.

And in a few seconds you’ll see your Elements external drive icon on your Mac’s desktop.

WD Elements Drive Icon

Your drive will have the name you gave to it under its icon.  Just double click and open up your WD hard drive.

Now you’ve set up your Mac, MacBook Pro. Or MacBook Air to show your external drive on the desktop. Has this solved your showing up issue?

No? The next thing to try.

2. WD Elements Hard Drive Not Showing Up Mac, Check USB Connections

Are you sure your USB cable works?

Your cable may look fine outside. But is damaged inside.

And what’s amazingly common is. A faulty USB cable to be the cause of a not showing up on Mac issue.

So, swap out your Elements cable for another USB cable.

3. Check Your Mac’s USB Port

Your Mac operating system has inbuilt software that sits listening on its USB ports. It listens for a plugged in external hard disk.

And when one connects. That software runs a check on the external drive and lets it show up on your Mac.

Sometimes that USB port software hangs and stops working.

Test plug in your WD Elements external drive into another of your Mac’s USB ports.

And see if that charms your Elements storage device to show on your Mac.

4. Elements WD External Hard Drive Not Showing Up On Mac – Yet

Sounds strange?

It could be you need to leave your WD Elements drive plugged. And just wait.

Sometimes 5 minutes or longer. Could be up to an hour for a larger Elements disk drive.

When you plug in an external disk drive Mac OS runs a check.

If it finds an issue it does it’s best to repair.

When your Mac is set up to show your external drive on the desktop. And you know your USB cable is good.

Leave your Elements external hard drive plugged in for a while.

Your Mac will run its checks. Then do what it can to fix. And your WD external drive could just show up on your Mac.

Sometimes patience is rewarded.

5. Reboot Your Mac And See If That Shows Your Elements Drive

Sometimes a full shutdown. A wait of 10 seconds. Then a power on. Will restart the software on your Mac’s USB ports.

This allows your Mac’s internal registries to reset.

When your Mac reboots. Log back in. And see if your Elements not showing up issue has gone away.

6. WD Elements Not Showing Up Mac Reset Your NVRAM

Your Mac’s NVRAM holds certain hardware settings for your Mac. And to clear the error of your WD Elements external hard drive not showing up on your Mac.

Test out a NVRAM reset.

On your Intel based Mac, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Carry out a full shutdown of your Mac.

And while you power on. Hold down the OPTION + Command + P + R keys.

Hold down all the keys at the same time.

You’ll need to wait for at least 20 or so seconds.

Wait till your Mac reboots, holding all the keys. Wait till your second start up chime. Or you see your Apple logo. Then you can let go.

Does your Elements drive show now?

7. Using A USB Hub To Connect Your WD Elements To Your Mac?

Your USB hub maybe your issue.  Test out plugging into another USB port on your hub. Does your Elements external drive show up then?

Take your USB Hub out of the equation and plug your Elements WD drive directly into your Mac.

If your Elements drive shows up. Then you know your hub caused your problems.

8. Are You Using Western Digital’s Software?

It’s worth checking the version of Mac OS X you’re running. Versus the version of WD disk management software. – WD Discovery, WD Drive Utilities and WD Security.

You may find that the software doesn’t work on your Mac OS X version because you recently upgraded. And didn’t check the version you’re running is compatible.

You can use this link here to check.

Also, double check your software versions if your using NTFS driver software on your Mac. It could be unsupported versions. Or an out of date version you’re running on your Mac file system.

9. Check If Your WD Elements Shows Up On Another Mac

Now it’s time to see if your Elements external hard drive will work on another Mac.

Take it to another Mac and plug in. Does it show up there?

What about on a Windows PC?

Does it show?

If it shows up then that gives you the chance to copy your data off the drive.

It’s an opportunity to recover files you thought lost. Once you have your files safe then you can deal with the Elements on it’s own without worrying about your data.

What’s the difference between that other Mac and yours. That will give you a clue about what to do next.

Green Highlight

CLICK HERE: To Read A Review On WD Elements On Mac

10. WD Elements Drive Not Showing Up Mac Mount Manually

The next thing to test when your WD external hard drive won’t show up. It to use your Mac disk management software called Disk Utility.

And mount the drive yourself so that it shows up on your Mac’s desktop.

Start Disk Utility from your Applications Folder > Utilities. You’ll find Disk Utility inside the Utilities folder.

Start up Disk Utility and it’ll open a Disk Utility window. Then set Disk Utility to show all devices.

Disk Utility Show All Devices
Disk Utility Show All Devices

At the top of your Disk Utility screen look for the view option. And from that menu pick the option to show all devices.

You may need to click on the arrow to the side of your Elements external hard drive to expand the list.

WD Elements Disk Utility Showing 1st Level

Look for the eject symbol by each of your Elements drive entry on the expanded list.

WD Elements Disk Utility Both Levels

Then click on each eject symbol. Wait a few seconds to see if manually mounting makes your Elements drive show up on your desktop.

WD Elements Disk Utility Eject Symbol On Levels

Next click on each of the entries for your Elements drive in turn. Then click on the Mount button. The Mount button is in the button bar at the top of your open disk utility window.

WD Elements Disk Utility Mount Across Top Of Window

That’s another way of mounting your WD hard drive so it shows up on your Mac.

When Your Elements External Hard Drive Shows Up

Run First Aid.

First Aid is part of the Disk Utility application on your Mac. It runs a check on your WD Elements external drive.

First Aid will check your drive’s hard partition map for errors. For bad sectors on your drive and repair those.

Run First Aid so your Elements hard drive shows up the next time on your Mac.

To run First Aid. –

Click on your Elements WD hard drive where you first see it under the External heading. Then click on the First Aid button in Disk Utility’s button bar.

Disk Utility Pick First Aid
Disk Utility Pick First Aid

If First Aid doesn’t run the first time you try it. Eject your drive. Put your Elements drive on another USB port on your Mac and run it again.

After Doing Everything On Here Your Elements Drive Not Showing Up On Your Mac?

Or any Mac. Or PC?

It may be your Elements storage device has failed.

And now you need to consider data recovery.  There are Data Recovery Services companies.

Indeed, WD runs their own data recovery services, to recover data from their external drives.

You can also look at running data recovery software on your Mac.

Both these options come with a cost. And only you can weigh up if the cost to recover files is worth it to you.

There’s no guarantee with any of these services.

After you’ve finished with this drive crisis. Then consider buying yourself an extra Elements external drive.


To keep and have copy of your other Elements external drive. The drive with your important files on.

In Closing

Thank you for reading to the end of this post. I hope you’ve now happily got your WD Elements drive showing up on your Mac.

While you’re here…. Why not check out our other WD Elements related articles?

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