My mac Doesn't seem to see my external hard drive (seagate 1tb) I have it usb'd in to the back of my computer, but when I open time machine...it does not see it. Help

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My mac Doesn't seem to see my external hard drive (seagate 1tb) I have it usb'd in to the back of my computer, but when I open time machine...it does not see it. Help...please
Yes...at least I thought it was....I have 10.6.8.
That's the whole issue. I want to run/install photoshop elements but I have to have 10.8. for that. So...be fore I install an upgrade (Yosemite is getting BAD press) I thought I'd check my back up...it's not there...I have the seagate plugged in and the usb into the back of the mac...when I try to turn the time machine "ON" it says airport device not found not ....
By the way...I REALLY appreciate the help here....
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