USB drive stopped mounting on Airport Extreme

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Since there seems to be a lot of people having this same issue and not a lot being said about solving the issue, I thought I’d write a quick post to document the process of fixing this problem.

I’ve owned an Airport Extreme for awhile and, just this weekend, out of the blue my Airdisk (a 500GB USB Hard Drive) won’t mount to the Airport Extreme anymore. If I connect the USB hard drive to my computer directly, it mounts just fine, all of the files are there, and there is seemingly no issue with the drive or the cable.

Things I’ve tried so far

  • Restarting the Airport Extreme – I did this by unplugging it with the hard drive on, off, plugged in, unplugged, etc. I’ve rebooted it several times.
  • Restarting the hard drive – as with the Airport Extreme, I tried multiple combinations in order to get the AE to recognize the disk.
  • Update the firmware – as coincidence would have it a new version of the Airport Extreme firmware became available this weekend and so I’ve now updated to that version of both the firmware and the Airport Utility software.
  • Trying to directly access the drive through /volumes/TempleArchives/ etc.
  • Using the Airport Utility > Manual Setup > Disks pane. The drive does not show up there at all.

Looking at the activity LEDs for the drive it seems as though the Airport Extreme never really sees the drive being connected at all.  My last assumption, so far, is that the USB port on my Airport Extreme may have died. My next attempt at seeing if that is true is to connect a printer or some other USB device through that same port to see if that is the cause.

To be updated…

Update June 12, 2009: – Finally, an update! I was so frustrated by this problem that I actually didn’t work on it for months. I hooked up my USB hard drive directly into my laptop and dealt with it.

I’m happy to say that as of today I’ve gotten the USB hard drive mounted to my Airport Extreme again!

I ended up trying most, if not all, of the suggestions in the comments (thanks so much to everyone that wrote out a detailed suggestion for me try, you’re too kind). However it was Scott’s suggestion to connect the USB hard drive to a USB hub prior to plugging the drive into the AExtreme that ended up doing the trick. My Airport Extreme is currently running on firmware 7.3.2, instead of 7.4, and is connected to a USB hub and then to the drive. For now, that is working and I’m sticking with it until I dare update the firmware again to see if the “hub idea” continues to work with the updated version of the firmware.

Again, thanks to all for your suggestions. I hope anyone that finds this (which is about 100 people per day currently) can go through the suggestions and find one that works for them.