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Okay so in UNIX (which is what Apple OS is built upon) all hard drives need to be MOUNTED before they can be used or formatted or partitioned.
Mounting is kind of like initializing.
Although the drive is physically connected, it still has yet to mount.
Please give me a moment to review the necessary procedure for the mount process.
Also, the cable adaptor you are using......is it a FireWire (drive side) to USB (mac-mini side)?
Can you tell me more about the adaptor......does it have a make and model?
Also,and you may have already done this, but its where we always start.
First, lets make 100% sure that the hard drive isn't showing up? Open a Finder window (File > New Finder Window) and scroll down to Devices. The hard drive should be here (underneath Remote Disc).
Okay, so if the FIRST step was already taken and the drive is NOT showing up as it should, lets check to see if a hard drive is connected, but not mounted - and then mount a volume - by following these steps:
Are you still with me here?