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I have a 2012 MacBook Pro 15" Retina, running MacOS Sierra version 10.12.3 (16D32). I have a 1TB WD "My Passport Ultra" external HDD that I've been using exclusively for Time Machine backups for a year or so. Today, 11 days since my last backup the following happens:

  1. I plug it in and forget about it while browsing the web.
  2. Notice Time Machine isn't backing up, so click "Back Up Now".
  3. Get notification toast in MacOS from Time Machine: "Backup Disk Not Available: Try backing up again when "My Passport" is available."
  4. Open Finder, notice disk does now show up under "Devices" in sidebar.
  5. Open Disk Utility, no disks show up, just says "Loading Disks..." for ever.
  6. Close Disk Utility, unplug external HDD, re-open Disk Utility.
  7. Internal disk appears.
  8. Plug in external HDD.
  9. Shows up after a bit of a delay.

Things I've tried:

  • Turning off and on again (reboot as well as shutdown etc).
  • Disk Utility's "First Aid" option - which says there are no problems.

Other point to note:

  • I had HDD plugged-in, opened Disk Utility, which hung (as expected from point 5 above) then I just pulled the USB cable and immediately, Disk Utility finished loading disks and showed the internal HDD. Plugged external back in and after a short delay it shows up in Disk Utility.
  • I notice it does show up under the USB 3.0 section of System Information.

I'm a Windows guy historically, so any advice, even seemingly obvious advice, would be appreciated.

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    BTW, Disk Utility has two kinds of First Aid: One for individual volumes (HFS+ partitions) and one for the disk itself (the GPT: GUID Partition Table). So be sure to select the physical disk and hit First Aid to check the GPT, and then select each volume underneath it and hit First Aid to check the HFS+ data structures. – Spiff Apr 2 '17 at 20:29
  • It's disabled for the Logical Volume, unfortunately. – Neil Barnwell Apr 2 '17 at 20:34
  • Did you install any WD-specific software when you started using that disk with your Mac? I've seen WD products with proprietary "disk password" software that kinda gets in the way. If you have any WD specific drivers on your system, you should at least make sure they're up to date. – Spiff Apr 2 '17 at 20:35
  • After the disk shows up in Disk Utility, are you able to mount it using Disk Utility's Mount button? If so, try First Aid on the volume after mounting. – Spiff Apr 2 '17 at 20:38
  • No software installed at all, just plugged it in and started using it. Clicking Mount for the logical drive asks if I want to use the keychain to access the drive. If I say Okay, I just get a popup saying the disk is already unlocked, offering to open Disk Utility (which of course is already open) to mount it. I go round and round in that circle. – Neil Barnwell Apr 2 '17 at 20:45

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