How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask iteachmac Your Own Question
iteachmac, The Duke!
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 865
Experience:  Mac help ,music midi expert, logic pro recording ,electrical installation ,ilife & all mac computing
Type Your Mac Question Here...
iteachmac is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Mac OS 10.4.11 Disk utility doesnt see the hard drive. Spotlight

This answer was rated:

Mac OS 10.4.11 Disk utility doesn't see the hard drive. Spotlight and finder can't see files. However applications still load and work. Tried reinstalling 10.4 but installer can't see Hard drive.
i would like to try to help .

Please read all the info , and digest before attempting any repairs.

Check all leads , and connections to the drive , unplug and plug back in .
Remove any extensions from the power lead if any are present these can cause problems if they are lose.

Procedures :

Repair Mac HD , Check Permissions with startup volume OSX

Hi ,
to check for disk errors and possibly fix issues with the Mac HD volume and other Partitions .

Please run a Mac HD drive repair ,
and Repair Permissions of the Mac HD startup volume .

Disk Utility

1 Start from your Mac OS X Install disc: Insert the installation disc, then restart the computer while holding the C key.

2 When your computer finishes starting up from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Installer menu.
(In Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you must select your language first.)?

Important:- Do not click Continue in the first screen of the Installer.
If you do, you must restart from the disc again to access Disk Utility.

3 Click the First Aid tab.

4 Click the disclosure triangle to the left of the hard drive icon to display the names of your hard disk volumes and partitions.

5 Choose your Mac OS X volume.

6 Click Repair. Disk Utility checks and repairs the disk.

If errors are found please run the check twice .

Report any errors in displayed RED to me .

Tip:- Always start up your computer from an Install or Restore disc when using Disk Utility to verify or repair your startup volume.
**Perform Disk permission repairs while Booted to your Mac HD as normal**.

Using the Repair Privileges Utility

For Mac OS X 10.2 or later, open Disk Utility found in the Applications/Utilities folder.

Select your Mac OS X startup volume in the column on the left of the Disk Utility window, then click the First Aid tab.

Click the Repair Disk Permissions button.

Please wait while the Mac HD is checked.

If errors are found please run the check twice .

Report any errors in displayed RED to me .


Permissions Defined
Mac OS X incorporates a subsystem based on a UNIX-style operating system that uses permissions in the file system.
Every file and folder on your hard disk has an associated set of permissions that determines who can read, write to, or execute it.


Repairing permissions may help the installer / Application , and fix this issue .


Please let me know , you may also like to run a full disk check with a tool such as
Drive genius to trouble shoot this problem as it seems your Mac HD has a error that needs to be fixed :-


Also please download and install this handy maintenance widget for the Dashboard in OSX ,
and run the repair scripts one at a time , daily , weekly , monthly :-


Once you can see your Mac HD you can attempt an install of the OSX OS keeping user data active using this method below :

Using the Mac OSX install disk , we can use the Archive and install option keeping the User intact , we can keep the user settings and data as was before the crash of OSX.



Please try to perform an Archive and install of 10.5 from the OSX install DVD Making sure you select :- "preserve user and network settings" before installing.

As follows :-

1 About Archive and Install:-

Available in Mac OS X 10.2 and later, an Archive and Install installation automatically moves existing system files to a folder named Previous System, then installs Mac OS X again.

You cannot start up your computer using a Previous System folder, nor can you "re-bless" the Previous System folder. We just delete the old system "Previous System" once were happy with our new install.

You can choose to preserve your user and network settings before installing.

This option automatically moves existing users, Home directories, and network settings. This also skips the Setup Assistant after installation.

Note: Because the "Preserve user and network settings" option moves, not copies, existing users, Home directories, and network settings, from the Previous Systems folder to the newly installed System, these items will not exist in the Previous Systems folder after the Archive and Install is complete. This is what we need to do as the previous system is broken in some way.

OSX archive and install ,
we need to boot from the DVD holding the C key on start up using a USB keyboard.

1 Boot up in to the OSX installer .

2 Before starting the installation, you may wish to use Disk Utility to verify and repair the volume, Select Disk Utilities from the Menu .
Choose to repair the Mac HD volume and then also repair disk permissions from within Disk utilities.

3 After using Disk Utilities , Choose Install Mac OSX or OSX Installer from the Menu.
to reopen the OSX 10.5 installer .

4 Select your language. The Welcome to the Mac OS X Installer window appears.

5 Click Continue.
The Important Information window appears.
After reading or printing the information, click Continue.
The Software License Agreement window appears.

6 After reading or printing the information, click Continue.
An agreement sheet appears. If you agree with the license agreement,
click Agree.

7 The Select a Destination window appears.
Click the HD volume that you wish to install to.
Choose your Mac HD boot volume that has stopped working correctly.

8 Click Options.
The installation options sheet appears.

9 Select Archive and Install.

10 Select the volume which already has Mac OS X installed.
You should also select Preserve Users and Network Settings, to preserve network and Home directory settings.

11 Click OK.

12 Click Continue to begin the installation.

Wait for the installation to complete and restart the computer .
Hopefully the installer will complete successfully and your user and data are now active and as before the crash .

Restart and Login as your normal user and check your user is working correctly and your data is ok and intact .

Update the system software using Software update , or preferably the OSX combo updater DMG downloaded from the Apple downloads section on .

Reinstall any applications that require a full install if they run in to problems testing , such as Photo shop or Final cut pro or Logic audio etc although they may still work ok , Most stand alone applications should still work fine as before in your applications folder , they may be in the old System folders Applications folder , move these to the new Applications folder if need be .

Once happy delete the old System folder . "Previous system folder ".

Please let me know once you have performed the "archive and install" using the Preserve Users and Network Settings , option checked on .
and we can work from there .


If the Mac HD is not available for install or the Disk utility can not find the Drive , please run a Disk repair package first to try to fix any error on the HD drive.

If repairs cannot be made , or the drive accessed from a Second Mac computer to repair it if necessary, then an Erase and Reformatting of the MAC HD that will loose data is our only option . It is possible for drive is about to die , a disk bad block check using drive 10 , or drive genius as outlined in this post can help diagnose this, if bad blocks are found or the tests cannot be carried out successfully the drive is about to fail .


A last ditch attempt can be made on the Mac , resetting the PMU or zapping the Pram , but this is doubtful of success as i hope you have already tried to access the HD drive from a second mac , or Via a USB en-closer or similar work around.

Also check all leads , and connections to the drive , unplug & plug back in .
Remove any extensions from the power lead if any are present these can cause problems if they are lose.

I hope this helps.

Thanks .
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
When using disk utility from the install CD it too does not see the Hard Drive. I've created and saved a text file and can open it but spotlight or "find" does not see it.
Hi ,

If the Mac is under warranty do not attempt this unless you have a Macpro and access to the HD as is the case with the Mac pro .? If under warranty please report this failure to apple and arrange a repair or replacement ASAP.


Please check all leads , and connections to the drive , unplug & plug back in .
Remove any extensions from the power lead if any are present these can cause problems if they are lose.

**Try resetting the PMU or zapping the Pram i need the Mac model and full details to collect the information for this ?? **

Can you remove the hard drive ? connect to a USB encloser or similar work around
Boot from the OSX install disk , can you see the drive or make repairs?

1 Can you see the physical HD in Apple disk utilities ?

2 Can you see other Disks such as USB memory sticks or USB HDs in Apple Disk utilities ?


Drive genius repairs:-

Repairing a directory structure.

Repairing a directory structure is the process of comparing it with the contents of the disk and then making corrections where possible. Rebuilding a directory structure replaces the damaged directory structure with a new one based on the location of data found on the disk .

Thanks .

Edited by iteachmac on 2/1/2010 at 3:53 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It is an Ibook (Intel) and out of warranty. The PC partition seem just fine.
Hi ,

Have you got a Full Disk repair program such ad Drive genius or Drive 10 ?
Can you carry out repairs and checks using ?

Zap Pram , Ibook to trouble shoot :-

Resetting PRAM and NVRAM

Shut down the computer.

Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R.

You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously .

Turn on the computer.

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys.
You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

Release the keys.

Your computer's PRAM and the NVRAM are reset to the default values.
The clock settings may be reset to a default date on some models.


Please read this article to identify your ibook model ?

iBook: How to Identify iBook Models:

I need extra info to supply details for you to attempt a PMU reset .
outlined in apple support document:-

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I appologiize> I have an MacBook intel chip, 13" screen. Ran chkdisk on the PC partition and it checks out fine
Have you zapped pram , ?

Please tell me what you have done so far in detail?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I've zapped pram and svram. Hold down Command-Option-P-R. Other than that I've tried everything I can think of. But I can't reinstall the OS or use disk utility from the CD. If it were a PC I'd figure the FAT was fractured. I'm at a loss. I'd format the darn thing if I could but nothing I have will see the drive.
Uhmmm , tricky

If you can see the PC partition and the volumes in Apple disk utilities while booted to the OSX installer DVD , then you must be able to see the physical HD in the List named : Hitachi 35352245 250gb , 320GB seagate WD or similar .

Is your PC partition on the same physical drive HD as the Mac HD or missing volume ? I guess it is if your using a laptop .

Choose this Physical HD disk in the left list in Disk utilities and carry out repairs to the drive .

If this fails :-

You will need a HD disk tool such as DriveXXXXXgenius :-

With the full DVD versions of those tools there is a Mac OS boot DVD or the ability to create one with the Software installed on it , to fix the drive .

You can only repair the drive while not booted to it , you must boot from a DVD or use a second boot volume to boot from .

The Mac partition will not show up on the software as a partition until a repair is carried out and finds the missing Volume and repairs its Disk structures .

You must carry out a HD repair to fix the volume structure .

Disk doctor is also a good choice for this repair .

And it is the most easy to use for this typical volume error.

Again Disk doctor provides a DVD to boot from to repair the Mac HD .

Q: did you reset the PMU , as i did not give any instructions to do so,
did you find out yourself how to do this ? if so ok . if not please let me know ?

Zapping PRAM does not reset PMU.

Thanks .

iteachmac and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I can't see any partition in disk utility either from the monted drive or from the CD. All the DU does is search and find nothing. Funny thing is the drives (PC & Mac) are mounted and appear on the desktop of the Mac side. I can access the Mac part and run programs. I can boot into PC or Mac. However I can't install anything or find anything.

I'l reset the PMU
Ok , thanks .

Yes its a mystery :(

Ok , While booted , if you use the Finder menu to open a new finder window ,
can you not see the Mac OS HD or shortcuts to any locations , try them if the links column if they are still there ?

Do you have any of the Other 3rd party disk tools to repair the Mac HD ?
You will need these to repair the Mac HD and Rebuild the Volume structures of the Hard disk drive using the tools outlined.

Apple disk tools are really only for formatting setup and easily fixed disk errors .

Can you see the Physical HD drive in the Apple Utilities ether booted to the invisible Mac HD or from the Mac OSX DVD installer?

You must make sure that the OSX DVD installer disk is the correct one for the computer , any retail leopard 10.5 or 10.6 DVD will work with an intel Mac as will the disks that came with the computer!

What OSX version DVD installer are you using ?

Thanks .
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
New finder widow shous the Mac drive and the PC partition. All links and shortcuts work.

Using the original OS install CD that came with the laptop
Ok ,

Make sure the Finder preference for show harddisks on Desktop is check on if the Mac HD cant be seen on the Desktop .


Do you have any of the Other 3rd party disk tools to repair the Mac HD ?

You will need these to repair the Mac HD and Rebuild the Volume structures of the Hard disk drive using the tools outlined if there are still problems.

Thanks .
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
New finder window shows hard drive partitions and I can access any file on the Mac side. Guess I need to buy a utility. They all seem to be around 100. Any ideas on aless expensive one?

BTW. I will approve your payment. You've done your beat.

Hi , sorry that's it.

I would avoid old versions the tools stated , as they may not work now , due to the many changes with Apple OS and hardware in the last few years.


Related Mac Questions