Lima doesn’t detect my external USB hard drive

This article describes Lima system requirements for external storage drives and what to do if your Lima can’t detect a connected external drive.

Requirements

For an external storage drive to work with Lima, it must meet the following requirements:

  • Use a USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection.
  • The minimum recommended size of the hard drive attached to Lima is at least the size of the storage of your computer. Lima is able to handle up to 7 TB of files.
  • There should be a partition, formatted with one of the following file systems: NTFS, HFS+or Ext4.Typically, hard drives come with a pre-formatted partition; when you receive yours, we'd recommend you to always format it (complete). 
  • For more information about how to partition an external hard drive if it doesn’t already have one, please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Note also that Lima won't be able to access your external drive if it is locked with a pass-code. Make sure it is unlocked before hooking it up.

What to do if an external storage drive is not detected

Start by verifying that the USB cable is securely connected to Lima and to the drive. This will ensure your drive is getting the appropriate power.

If your external storage device meets the system requirements stated above, but isn’t detected by your Lima, it could be caused by several factors: 

Your drive format is unknown

Many external hard drives come pre-formatted as NTFS. However, you may own a hard drive formatted in FAT 32 but it is not ideal for use with Lima.

Before you begin to use your new external hard drive with Lima, please check that your drive is formatted as NTFS, as 'Mac OS Extended' (aka HFS+) or Ext4.

Note also that Lima only supports HDD formatted with a Partition table.

Mac

How to format your drive as HFS+:

  1. Be sure your drive is plugged to your Mac.
  2. Launch Disk Utility, located at /Applications/Utilities/
  3. Current hard drives will display in a list pane on the left side of the Disk Utility window. Hard drives are listed with a generic disk icon, followed by the drive’s size and model.
  4. Select the hard drive associated.
  5. Click the ‘Partition’ tab.
  6. The partition format of your hard drive will be displayed in the Partition Information.
  7. It should be ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’. If not, you’ll need to reformat it to the Mac OS Extended file system.
  8. If you have already written any data to the drive, back it up before proceeding to the next step.
  9. Click the Erase tab along the top of the window.
  10. From the Format menu, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  11. Enter a name for the external hard drive in the Name field.
  12. Click the Erase button.                                                    
  13. Please do not forget to properly unmount the HDD before you unplug it.

Your HDD is in HFS+ and ready to be used with Lima firmware. Connect it to Lima to restart the installation process.

Windows

First, let’s check whether Windows detects the drive when you plug it in. Plug your removable drive into your computer.

Next, open the Disk Management tool. To do so, press Windows Key + R, type diskmgmt.msc into the Run dialog, and press Enter.

You should see your external drive listed in the Disk Management window.

If the drive does appear to be partitioned, it may be partitioned with the wrong file system. For example, you may have formatted the drive with the ext4 file system from Linux or the HFS Plus file system from a Mac. Windows can’t read these file systems. Reformat the drive with the newer NTFS file system.

Note that this will erase all the files on your drive, so you’ll want to copy any important files off of it first — for example, if you formatted the drive on a Linux or Mac computer, take it back to a computer running Linux or Mac and copy your important files off of it before continuing.

To reformat a partition, right-click it, select Format, and select your desired file system.

Eject your hard drive and connect it to Lima to restart the installation process.

Your hard drive has multiple partitions

It means that it’s divided into multiple storage units referred to as partitions. It allows you to treat one physical disk drive as if it were multiple disks, so that a different file system can be used on each partition.

However, we recommend you to use hard drives which offer a single partition only for better performances.

To check how many partitions your hard drive has,  unplug your hard drive then plug it to your computer.

Mac

  1. Launch Disk Utility, located at /Applications/Utilities/.
  2. Current hard drives will display in a list pane on the left side of the Disk Utility window. Hard drives are listed with a generic disk icon, followed by the drive’s size and model.
  3. Select the hard drive associated.
  4. Click the ‘Partition’ tab.
  5. The number of partitions on your hard drive will be displayed in the Partition Layout.

To reformat your drive with a single partition, please take the following steps: 

Be careful! When you delete an existing partition, its associated data will be lost. If you have already written any data to the drive, back it up before proceeding the next steps. 

The space the volume occupied will be freed up. You can use this new free space to increase the size of the primary partition up.

  1. Select the existing partition you wish to delete.
  2. Click the ‘-’ (minus or delete) button
  3. Drag the corner of the remaining volume to take up the lost space.
  4. Click Apply and confirm the change. The partition you deleted is removed -- along with all the data on it.

Eject your hard drive and connect it to Lima to restart the installation process.

If you want to keep your current drive partitioned and need to get a new one, click here.

Windows

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

  1. Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  2. In the left pane, under Storage, click Disk Management.
  3. Click on your disk’s name in the list. Partitions details will be displayed below.

To reformat your drive with a single partition, please take the following steps:

Warning

All data on a partition will be lost when you delete it. Be sure to back up any files that you want to save to a different location before you begin. 

  1. Right-click the partition  that you want to delete, and then click Delete Volume.
  2. Click Yes to delete the partition.

Eject your hard drive and connect it to Lima to restart the installation process.

If you want to keep your current drive partitioned and need to get a new one, click here. 

Your hard drive is damaged

If Lima can detect your hard drive, but can’t read or write to it, take the steps below to check your drive integrity:

  • Unplug it then plug it back in again and re-try. If it’s still not working, unplug your hard drive then plug it to your computer.
  • Try to read and write data on your hard drive
  • Empty your drive and format it with one of the following file systems: NTFS or HFS+ (Refer to ‘Your drive format in unknown’ at the top of this article to get help)

Eject your hard drive and connect it to Lima to restart the installation process.  If you still encounter an error message, contact your external drive manufacturer. In the meantime, try to plug another drive or get a new one here.

 

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