External drive does not show in Disk Utility, but does in WD Drive Utilities

I had the drive attached to my mac, then the mac interface froze. So I rebooted. Now I cannot find the drive anymore.

What doesn’t work:

  • does not show in Finder
  • confirmed that external drives are visible in Finder
  • does not show in Disk Utility
  • I tried rebooting
  • I tried detaching while powered off, reattaching all cables before power back on
  • I tried detaching while powered off, booting up again, then attaching the drive later.
  • I tried all of these that I could: https://support-en.wd.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/12455
  • I tried everything suggested on the internet.
  • It also does not show on another Mac (whatever I try of the above)

However, what I do know about the drive:

  • LED light is on
  • Drive is spinning
  • Drive is working (I can hear it, constantly working)
  • I cannot detect any active programs using the drive.
  • Does all of this on another Mac as well (!)


  • it DOES show up on the WD Drive Utilities program!
  • this program shows the drive with the size
  • It shows me the serial no and firmware no.
  • It lists ’ no volume’ though - which should be incorrect.
    Also, I can use the WD Drive Utilities to:
  • check the SMART status of my drive (check)
  • do an advanced scan of my drive (check)
  • do a full scan of the drive (ongoing)

However, whatever I try, it does not show again in Finder or the Disk Utility. I cannot use it.

My conclusions:

  • because the drive is spinning and can be scanned etc, the drive itself, the cables and the primary device interface are working fine.
  • if the only problem would be the volume/partition, I should be able to reformat using Disk Utility; so that cannot be it.
  • I have no clue whatsoever what the drive is busy doing constantly whenever it is plugged in now. It is not a continuous or repetitive sound; it changes, fluctuates, etc. Sounds something like you would expect from Spotlight doing an index on the drive.
  • What is going on here that only (!) the WD Drive Utilities program can see it? Is it bypassing the OS?

I don’ t know what to do. Files on there are sacred!
Looking forward to hearing from you.

EDIT: well, turns out the indexing was indeed spotlight ( mdworker’ process) running in background. And that while WD Drive Utility was still performing the ‘full scan’ of the drive, it suddenly showed in Finder. Don’ t ask me how. Hopefully the above may help someone else troubleshoot.