I have a Mac Mini A1347 that was wiped out before given to me. It has a 320 GB hard drive but it is not showing up when I attempt to install "El Capitan". I am trying to format the partition but it does not even show up. Here is a screenshot I took of the only thing that appears (the bootable usb flash drive with el capitan):

enter image description here

Any help in finding and formatting the 320gb drive in preparation for the "El Capitan" install would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Note: The screenshot was taken from a separate device.

Update #1

I exited "Disk Utility" and was back at the "OX X Utilities" menu. There I opened up terminal and typed:

diskutil cs list

I get back the following message:

"No CoreStorage logical volume groups found"

I don't understand what has happened to the 320 GB hard drive. It is completely gone. Could it be a bad hard drive cable on the mini mac?

  • If cs list finds nothing, try just diskutil list
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 29, 2016 at 19:12
  • Thanks Tetsujin. "diskutil list" just shows me the flash drive and the images but not the hard drive. :(
    – arod2028
    Nov 29, 2016 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


I had exactly the same problem (on an iMac). And no, if the system doesn't see it, you can't do anything to test it. Opening the computer is the way to go. I opened mine and discovered that one of the Sata connectors (my Sata cable had two connectors : data and power) had come lose. It might be something similar, although most probably I'd say disk is toast.

What you can do once you open the computer is put your disk in an external enclosure and test it with another computer to see if it's recognized and properly formatted (even if it's not properly formatted, it should show up, but as long as it's in the enclosure, why not format it correctly if you see it's not). That will save you the trouble of closing the Mac mini after unplugging and plugging the Sata cable on a bad disk. If the disk is fine, check the Sata cable and Sata connectors, and try again. If you computer still doesn't recognize the disk, you probably have a bad Sata cable. Could be a bad Sata connector on the motherboard, but that's unlikely.


As the disk is not shown in Disk Utility, as far as the computer is concerned, it's not there. Possible reasons: there is no disk in the system, the hard disk cable is damaged or not connected, the disk is damaged to the point that it's not being recognized.

If you visit the ifixit.com site, you'll find instructions about how to open your model of Mac mini and you'll be able to investigate. If the disk is there, try unplugging the cable and then plugging it in again; sometimes reseating a cable is enough to make things happen again.

  • Thanks Zonker. Is there any third party utility that can be run to check the hard drive before having to reseat the hard disk cable/etc?
    – arod2028
    Nov 29, 2016 at 18:57
  • If nothing can see it, nothing can test it, I'm afraid.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 29, 2016 at 22:35
  • @Tetsujin agreed. Nov 30, 2016 at 23:31

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