Seagate GoFlex Desk 2TB Power Issues

Having trouble getting your Seagate GoFlex external HDD to power up?  Assuming everything is plugged in as it should be, try this.  Grab the USB connector (at the computer or hub, not at the drive) and give it a teeeeny wiggle so it starts to slide out just a bit.  Monitor the drive carefully.  Did it just spin up?  You’re welcome.

My drive works fine with my home desktop PC and a laptop.  One of these machines has USB3 and the other does not.  I couldn’t for the life of me get it to spin up on my girlfriend’s iMac, or on her PC at work.

These units exibit an unusual behavior in that the drive will not spin up on wall power alone.  It must be plugged into the wall and a USB port both or it will not turn on.  Try this yourself.  Unplug the drive and power it down completely, then put your ear close to the enclosure while plugging it into only wall power.  You’ll hear a faint chirp and then nothing.  I believe the drive is sensing no USB connection and remaining in sleep mode — probably an effort to stay “green” and have the drive intelligently go to sleep when you turn off your computer.

I verified that this is strictly an issue with the cable by swapping it for another USB3 cable I have from a different device and manufacturer.  Indeed, the GoFlex works great no matter how hard I plug it in now.  Seagate really needs to visit their cable supplier.

It may be reasonable to assume this is an issue only with their USB3 drives, and if the same company provides the USB3 cables for all their externals, it’s reasonable to assume that this could affect their Ultra-portable, Turbo Performance, and Slim Performance drives, too.  Basically anything that uses the same cable.

If this helped you out, please let me know in the comments.  If you have questions, a different experience, or other tips, please leave those in the comments, too.  You can tweet Seagate about this article or this issue @Seagate

Author: Gavin Farrington Photography

San Francisco & Los Angeles wedding photographer specializing in capturing natural, candid moments.

14 thoughts on “Seagate GoFlex Desk 2TB Power Issues”

  1. Thanks for posting this. Pulled my 3.0 TB GoFLex out of storage (it worked the last time I used it) and ran into this exact problem. You saved me loads of time. Thanks.


  2. Thanks so much for this. I was completely distraught over the failure of a drive I got in January. When I tried to do my monthly backup for July, I got a drive failure message. I hadn’t contacted the company to complain because I had recently moved, wasn’t unpacked and couldn’t find any receipt or warranty for the drive. Something made me search the internet for help one more time last night and I found this piece. I eased the cable back just a bit from the Mac like you said and it powered up. Still a huge disappointment that the drive needs to be finagled to get it to work, but I’m glad I didn’t have to trash a barely used drive.


    1. I’m glad it helped, Alisa, X, and Richard. The problem isn’t in the drive itself – it’s in the cable. If you don’t want to have to deal with this issue, just pick up a new matching cable at any electronics store and the problem will vanish.


  3. Perfect solution. Thank you. I was about to take the drive out of the enclosure & install it internally until I read this. You saved me a great deal of anguish.


  4. Thank you, Gavin, for making my day. When my drive didn’t show any signs of life I started thinking of all sorts of doom-esque possibilities; none as simple and fixable as a bad power connection. Plugged in at both wall and USB, the little guy is humming happily. Add my name to your list of grateful beneficiaries!


  5. I had a situation where my 4 year old 2TB goflex just wouldn’t read anymore. Powered on but no drive recognition. So i removed it from the case and installed internally, but it would not format in NTFS but it did format when converted to GPT. So now I use it internally, and I use the goflex usb I/O to test and clone drives. Its all good!


  6. So I’m still having difficulties, I followed the prompts, but it only lights up when the base is actually not connected to the drive. When I connect the two the power seems to go away. And the light shuts off. I don’t understand what’s happening.


  7. A tip that keeps on giving 4 years later! I thought sure it was the power cable but, following your tip, I pulled the USB connector out of my MacBook Pro just a bit and the connection has remained steady as long as I don’t move the laptop. It may not help that I unmount and unplug the USB connector frequently when I take my MacBook to work.


  8. Thank you!!! Had almost all of my hair pulled out! And I unsuccessfully took the hard drive out, and tried to connect to my laptop with a SATA cable. But, I decided to try one more time from the original case, and as you said, all I had to do was pull the USB out just a bit, and vwola 🙂


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