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lacie external hard drive installation

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Hi Brian! 

Can you walk me through the steps of installing/formatting a new external hard drive on my Mac? I just purchased a 4tb Lacie external hard drive. You recommended that brand a while ago. I hope you still do. Thank you for your help!


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LaCie HDs are usually Mac Formatted, unless is specifically states that it's "Windows Formatted" on the box. What version of Mac OS are you running? 

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Before we get into the whole reformatting thing, could you do this first?

  1. Open the Finder Program
  2. Look towards the top left corner of the screen.
  3. Click the Finder Menu, which should be just to the right of the Apple Menu. Select Preferences.

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 11.52.04 AM.png

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4. Since you are on El Capitan, your windows might look different than mine, since I'm still on Mavericks. Once in the Preferences Section of the Finder Menu, look for a section with these choices:

Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 11.55.58 AM.png

You want Hard disks, External disks and CDs, DVDs and iPods all checked. This way they will appear on your desktop. Make those selections and click the Red Circle to close the window and apply the changes.

5. Plug in your new LaCie EHD. Does it appear on the desktop? Can you open it and drag a simple file to it? I want to make sure it can be written to. (Take a screen shot or create a simple text file. Nothing fancy, we just need to drag this file to the new LaCie EHD.) If all goes well, you should be set. If you can not write to the drive, we will need to format it. (Which is easy to do.)

6. If we need to format the drive, DO NOT use any stupid software from the manufacturer. One: We don't need it. Two: Manufacturer's Software usually does something stupid or installs itself somewhere and the drive doesn't get formatted correctly.

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HI Brian!

I followed your steps. I plugged in the EHD and it shows up on my desktop as LACIE SETUP. I tried dragging a folder to it and it says "Cannot be copied. Not enough free space."

If I click on the desktop folder inside it has two folders, LaCie Setup and Readme.txt

Thank you again for your help!


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Plug in your new EHD. Here are the steps, your screens might look slightly different, but you should be able to figure it out.

  1. Head to your Applications folder then look for the Utilities Folder. In the Utilities Folder, you should see Disk Utility. Click on it.
  2. Now, your screen might look a little different since I'm on Mavericks, but you should be able to figure this out. What you want to do is select the FIRST LINE for the HD listing.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.27.17 PM.png

(In the example above, substitute your new LaCie EHD.)

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  • From there, select the Partition Tab on the Right


Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.29.35 PM.png


  • From there click the right down arrow next to "Current Layout"

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.31.18 PM.png

  • Select 1 Partition

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.31.26 PM.png

  • From there, we want to head towards the right column and give the HD a Name. Call it "LaCie 3TB" or whatever.
  • It is Extremely Important to select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for the format. You do not want Case Sensitive or any other formats. (More on this later.)
  • As for the size, just leave it at the default.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.34.02 PM.png

  • Now this is a another important step. Before you click Apply at the bottom, head to the lower portion of the partition column and select  the OPTIONS button.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.37.04 PM.png

  • Select GUID Partition Table. It should be the 1st one in the list and then click OK at the bottom.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.38.14 PM.png

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  • We are almost done. Two more steps. First, click Apply at the bottom. 

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.39.39 PM.png

  • A Warning Box will appear asking if you really-really want to do this, click Partition.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.40.23 PM.png

  • Wait a few minutes while the HD Partition and formats / mounts. When it completes, you should see it appear in the Finder like the internal HD or on the desktop if you have that feature turned on.
  • A message may appear asking if you want to use the HD for Time Machine. Since this will more than likely be a "Data Drive," say "NO" for the answer to use this drive for Time Machine.
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Now the new LaCie 3TB should appear on your desktop. Try moving or copying a file to it. If it works, you are golden. For those wondering about why I use Mac OS Extended (Journaled), here is the link:



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There seems to be an existing LaCie setup partition that's getting in the way. I'd click Erase at the top and see if you can delete it. 

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This is what it looks like after hitting erase. Everything look good? The LACIE 4TB shows up on my desktop. =) I dragged a file to it and it copied. Wahoo!!

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 7.54.44 PM.png

Edited by annmarie
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Hi Brian! Me again. I now have a MacBook Pro. I am trying to follow these steps for another Lacie EHD. The partition button isn't clickable. I erased and can transfer files to the EHD, but can not follow all the steps. Can you help me again? Thank you so much!


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22 hours ago, annmarie said:

The partition button isn't clickable.

That's because you didn't select the LaCie HD in your example.

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 2.18.55 PM.png


The MacOS was not letting you delete your main / internal HD on purpose. That would be bad. LOL!!

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