External Hard Drive Showing up Twice on Mac: Why & How to Fix It

Nowadays external hard drives play an important role in enabling us to expand storage, back up data, and carry files on the go. However, it could be pretty frustrating and confusing when you connect your external hard drive to your Mac and find it is showing up twice in Finder. In this post, we will delve into the possible reasons for this trouble and explore effective solutions to address it.

external hard drive showing up twice on mac

Why is my external hard drive showing up twice on Mac?

There are various reasons why your external drive is showing up twice on your Mac, including:

Root CausesDescription
❗ Accidental OperationYou may have accidentally created two or more disk images or virtual drives that point to the same external hard drive, so the Finder detects and presents them as separate items.
❎ Duplicate Finder EntriesYour hard drive is listed multiple times in the Finder sidebar and thus leads to confusion on macOS. It might create duplicates when it recognizes more than one networked drive or partitions pointing to the same physical hard drive.
❓ Mutiple PartitionsIf you have multiple partitions on your external hard drive, each of the partitions may be displayed separately in the Finder when you connect your device to your Mac, which causes it is show up twice.
📌Network DrivesWhen your external hard drive is connected to your network and shared with other devices at the same time, it can be shown up twice or more times in the Finder.
🛠 Label Name ConflictSometimes the macOS will get confused if your external hard drive has the same label as another drive on your device or the network you connected to.

How to Fix External Hard Drive Showing Up Twice on Mac?

If you are just being beset by the trouble of your external hard drive showing up twice on your Mac, there are several solutions that you can try to address the problem.

Reboot Your Mac

In many cases, a simple restart can resolve temporary glitches or conflicts that result in the problem you are facing now. Click on the Apple menu and select the “Restart” option. When your Mac is booted up again, check if the duplicate entries have been gone. If not, you should try other troubleshooting methods.

Reconnect Your External Hard Drive

This is another easy but effective method to help you with the repeated appearance of your hard drive. Simply unplug the external drive and reconnect it to your Mac after a few minutes. In this way, the system can detect your drive again in a correct manner and delete duplicate entries.

Rename Your External Hard Drive

If you assume that the duplicate drive appearance is because of a name conflict, you can assign a unique name to your external drive to fix this issue. To do this, please follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Finder on your Mac and locate your external hard drive on the left sidebar
  2. Right-click on the drive and select “Rename” from the drop-down menu.
rename your external hard drive
  1. Now you can give a new name to your device, which will not incur conflicts with other drives connected to your computer.
  2. After you rename the drive successfully, disconnect and then reconnect it to your Mac to see whether it is showing up correctly at present or not.

Check & Repair External Hard Drive

Alternatively, you can check for duplicate drives with Disk Utility. It comes with First Aid tool that can help to check and repair external hard drive errors. Follow these steps to fix the external hard drive showing up twice on Mac:

  1. Go to Disk Utility in Finder > Applications > Utilities
  2. Choose the problematic external hard drive
  3. Click on the First Aid button
  4. Enable Run to check and repair the drive
  5. Wait until the process is finished

🔍Related Posts: How to Recover & Repair USB Drive Partition

Remove Your Unnecessary Drives

Unmounting all the drives that you do not need on a Mac can help the system detect your external drive more easily and then eliminate duplicate items. Here is how to do it the right way:

  1. Launch the Finder and select “Applications” on the left sidebar.
  2. Click on the Utilities folder in the interface.
Utilities folder on Mac
Graph Source: Candid Technology
  1. When you are in the folder, double-click on the Terminal to open it.
terminal on Mac
Graph Source: Candid Technology
  1. Type “diskutil list” in the Terminal window and then hit the Enter key. Then you can see the entire list of the drives on your Mac.
  2. Find the unnecessary drives from the list and then enter “diskutil unmount /dev/NAME_OF_THE_DRIVE” to unmount them one by one.
diskutil list
Graph Source: Candid Technology

Reset the Launch Services Database

As an API (Application Programming Interface), macOS Launch Services serves as an essential part of the system and enables us to track important information about the applications, files, and webpages that it can open. Resetting its database is a possible solution to fix the issue of your external device showing up twice. Below are the steps to do it:

  1. Navigate to the Utilities folder and open the Terminal program.
  2. Type in the following command line and then press the Enter key to run it:
  3. Wait for the process to complete and then check if the trouble is addressed.

Erase Duplicate /Volumes Folders

If the above methods do not work, you should choose to clean up the duplicate /Volumes folders created by the duplicate drives, so as to fix the problem. Follow these steps to accomplish this:

  1. Make your way to the Utilities app and enter the Terminal program.
  2. Type “ls -laF /Volumes and hit Enter” in the Terminal interface and then you will be shown the whole list of /Volumes folders on your computer.
  3. Check if there is any important data in these folders and select the folders you would like to delete.
  4. Next, input the command “sudo rm -rf NAME_OF_THE_FOLDER” and press the Enter button to remove the selected folders.
  5. When the erasure is finished, enter “ls -laF /Volumes” to ensure only the original hard drive folders are retained.

How to Prevent Drive from Showing Up Twice in the Future?

To avoid future occurrences, you can regularly update or MacOS and drive drivers. Using up-to-date software can help to maintain compatibility. Plus, assign unique names to your external hard drives when connecting multiple drives to your device.

FAQs about Duplicate External Hard Drive

  • Why does my Mac keep ejecting external hard drive?

Several reasons can cause external hard drive keeping disconnect, including damaged or exposed data cable, improper plug-in, defective USB port, or power supply.

  • Is there a risk of data loss when my external hard drive shows up twice on my Mac?

There is a slight risk of data loss. But if you are concerned about this, especially when you are going to make some great changes on your hard drive, we still recommend you back up your data first.

  • Can this issue indicate that there is something wrong with my external hard drive?

Generally speaking, this problem is more likely to result from software or configuration issues on your Mac. If you suspect there is a hardware malfunction, it is suggested that your external hard drive be checked by a professional.


You may feel quite perplexed when your external hard drive is showing up twice on your Mac. This article explains the reasons for the duplicate entries and shares six common solutions to provide help to you. Hopefully after reading the post, you will be able to succeed in resolving the trouble. 

Further Reading:

How to Fix Corrupted and Unreadable USB Flash Drives and Recover Data

How to Rename Seagate External Hard Drive on Mac