How to fix internal hard drive not showing up on Mac?

By Katrina | Posted to Home > Mac Data Recovery Tips, updated on May 7th, 2021 |

The internal hard drive of your Mac, also known as the startup disk, is used to store operating system files and user data, supporting Mac to work in a normal manner.

Yet the startup disk or the internal hard drive not showing up on Mac, stopping you from accessing your data, or even causing your Mac won't turn on normally.

Here are the two common situations:

As you can't access files on your Mac startup disk, you may lose them. No worries. This post helps you retrieve lost data from your Mac hard drive. Moreover, there are some efficient means to fix the issue - the internal hard drive not showing up on Mac.

Recover data from the internal hard drive that's not showing up on Mac

Note: Data on the Mac hard drive is so fragile now that any operation will overwrite it. To prevent further data loss, especially when you haven't backed up your Mac, it's better to immediately recover lost data from the Mac startup disk.

This video, showing a detailed way to recover data from an unbootable Mac or a corrupted internal hard drive on Mac, is highly recommended.

iBoysoft Data Recovery, a professional data recovery software, helps you recover lost documents, pictures, audios, videos, emails, etc. from internal and external hard drives. It can recover lost data when the hard drive is not showing up, not mounted, not readable, etc.

What's more, this program can also recover lost data from formatted or corrupted Macintosh HD, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, etc.

It is compatible with macOS Big Sur 11/10.15/10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

To recover data from an unbootable Mac, you need to run iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac in macOS Recovery mode. This solution is highly recommended because it is easier and more effective.

  • 1. Reboot your Mac and meanwhile, press the respecting keys based on your Mac model to boot into macOS Recovery mode.
  • Recover Data in macOS Recovery mode through iBoysoft Server1
  • 2. Choose a network for your Mac. Make your Mac connected to the Internet all the time.
  • 3. Select Utilities > Terminal in macOS Recovery mode.
  • 4. Run the following command to launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac through iBoysoft Server.
  • sh <(curl http://boot.iboysoft.com/boot.sh)
  • 5. Select the internal hard drive and recover lost data with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac with its wizard.
  • Recover Data from the unmounted internal hard drive

The above video shows the more intuitive guide, you'd better follow the video.

Case 1: Mac won't boot and the internal hard drive not showing up

When Mac won't start up, usually, you need to enter into macOS Recovery mode and use the macOS utilities to fix your Mac.

But in macOS Recovery, you also find that your internal hard drive not showing up on Mac.

Mac startup disk not showing in the Startup Disk utility

Sometimes, you choose to reselect the startup disk to try to make the Mac bootable again. You select Apple menu > Startup Disk. However, find that the Macintosh HD missing from Startup Disk.

Here are three common reasons and solutions:

1. The internal hard drive is blank

If you erased the Macintosh HD before reinstalling macOS, then it won't show up in the Startup Disk pane because you cannot boot up the Mac from a blank drive.

At this time, you need to go back to the macOS Utilities window or similar. Choose the reinstall macOS utility and then follow the instructions to reinstall macOS on the internal hard drive. Then, your Mac can reboot normally.

2. The internal hard drive not mounted in Disk Utility

Your internal hard drive has some errors, it greyed out in Disk Utility. In other words, it's not mounted. So you can't see it in the Startup Disk window.

Definite Guide to hard drives not showing up/mounting issues

To make the internal hard drive mountable and show up again, you can click the Mount button in Disk Utility. If it's in vain, check if your internal hard drive has any errors and repair it with First Aid in Disk Utility.

  • Select Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities menu.
  • Select the corrupted Mac hard drive from the left-hand panel if you can see it.
  • Click First Aid on the top and wait for it to verify and repair errors.

Repair corrupted internal hard drive via First Aid

After running First Aid, if the Mac hard drive can be mounted, restart your Mac. If it still can't be mounted, it may be seriously corrupted.

You need to get your data off the internal hard drive with iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery first because reformatting will make data lose. And then erase it and reinstall macOS.

  • Select Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities menu.
  • Select the corrupted internal hard drive from the Disk Utility sidebar.
  • Click Erase from the top.
  • Setup the required information to reformat the disk and click Done when finished.
  • Go back to macOS Utilities screen and select Reinstall macOS.

Then, follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS. Luckily, the issue that the internal hard drive not showing up on Mac will be fixed.

3. The Mac startup disk not showing in Disk Utility

Commonly, the internal hard drive that's not showing up in Disk Utility has some hardware issues. In this case, your Mac won't boot and can't be found anywhere on Mac, even in Disk Utility.

As you can't find the Macintosh HD in macOS Recovery mode, to make your Mac rebootable, you have to take it to a professional repair store.

Nevertheless, there's also another possible situation. The internal hard drive that disappeared from your Mac is an internal Fusion drive.

When an internal Fusion drive is split, you can't see it showing up on Mac normally. Instead, it would be split into an extra SSD and a hard drive, making the internal fusion hard drive invisible.

If you can see them with correct storage capacity by typing the command line diskutil list in the Terminal window, you need to recover data from the internal hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac to avoid data loss. And then fix a split fusion drive as soon as possible.

Check disappeared hard drive in the Terminal

But if you can't see the fusion hard drive with the right disk information, you'd better call 1-800-275-2273(US) or contact Apple for support.

Internal hard disk not showing up when reinstalling macOS

When you prepare to reinstall macOS, but find that there's no internal disk shows up when you asked to select the disk where you want to install macOS.

You can open Disk Utility to check if the internal hard drive is partitioned. And if the partition map scheme of the Mac hard drive is GUID Partition Table.

Besides, if a volume is present on the internal hard drive, select and make sure it is in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format (for macOS 10.13 & previous versions), or in APFS format (for macOS 10.14 & later).

Erase/repartition if needed, and see if that fixes the Mac hard drive not showing up issue.

Case 2: The internal hard drive not showing up on Mac's Finder/Desktop

If you can't see the internal hard drive on Desktop or in Finder but can start and use your Mac normally, the good news is that your macOS volume (which usually is the Macintosh HD) is working fine.

To edit or copy files on the Mac hard drive, you can try the following solutions to make the internal hard drive show up in Finder or Desktop again.

Change the Mac's settings to show the internal hard drive

Your Mac computer works in a normal state but the internal hard drive is not showing up in Desktop and Finder. That is because the Mac hard drive is not set up to display hard drives in Finder or on desktop. Here are some simple fixes for this:

  • 1. Open Finder, and then click the Finder menu on the Apple menu bar on the top of the screen. Select Preferences > General.
  • Hard drive not showing up in Mac's Finder
  • 2. Check "Hard disks" in the General tag to make the internal hard drives show in Desktop.
  • Show internal hard drive on the desktop
  • 2. Continue to select Sidebar in Finder Preferences and check "Hard disks". Then your internal hard drive should be showing up in the Finder.
  • Show internal hard drive in the finder
  • Instead, if the Mac doesn't display your external hard drive, you can check "External disk" in this tab also to make it visible.
  • 3. If the "Hard disks" option is ticked but the internal hard drive is not showing up in the Finder still, open Finder, put your mouse at Locations in the left sidebar and see if it displays "Show" or "Hide". Click and change the state to identify if the hard drive is hidden by the Finder or not.
  • Show internal disk volumes in the Finder

With the help of these solutions, the Mac startup disk not showing up in Finder or Desktop issue will be solved. You can access your Mac hard drive freely now.

Final thoughts

Whether your internal hard drive not showing up on Mac in Recovery mode, in Finder, or on Desktop, this article gives you a full guide to make your internal hard drive show up again.

More importantly, it gives the most simple and efficient way to recover data from your unbootable Mac or corrupted internal hard drive - running iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac in macOS Recovery mode.