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File directory disappearing from external hard drive on Mac, what to do?

I am running Monterey 12.1 on a 2020 iMac. I have Music and TV files stored on an external Easyshare drive. The drive icon is displayed at all times. However about 10 minutes after the drive is physically connected (or the iMac is rebooted), the files and folder structure disappear, and the Music and TV apps can't access the media files until the drive is physically disconnected and reconnected. Disk Utility does not indicate a problem. Any thoughts on a solution?

Best Answered by

iBoysoft author Ciki Liu

Ciki Liu

Answered on Monday, July 10, 2023


Since you've run Disk Utility to check your external hard drive and it shows no problem, your drive should be safe from a corrupted file system. It's likely your folders are hidden by the system. All you need to do is to show hidden files on Mac.

How to show hidden files on Mac:

Option 1. Use keyboard combinations.

Step 1. Locate your external HDD under Locations in Finder.

Step 2. Press Command + Shift + Period (.) key shortcuts.  

All hidden files and folders will show up. Double-click on them to view the content.

Option 2. Uncover hidden files in Finder

Step 1. On your Mac, launch Finder.

Step 2. Select Go from the menu bar and then press the Option key, you will see the Library folder from the menu list.

Step 3. Click the Library folder to find out if there are any files or folders you are looking for.

Option 3. Show hidden folders with Terminal

Step 1. Launch Terminal. Enter the following commands and hit the Enter key.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

Step 2. Keep typing the command below to refresh the Finder.

killall Finder

Check the Finder now, can you see all files and folders on Mac?

To avoid this situation happening again, you can check the reasons why files or folders disappear from your external hard drive on Mac:

  • Files are deleted by accident.
  • The external hard drive is not properly formatted.
  • Due to some malware or virus attacks, the folders are missing.
  • Files are hidden by the macOS.
  • The file system of your external disk is corrupted.

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