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Old Dec 12, 2012, 04:44 PM   #1
Kirkle
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NTFS on Mac?

I've had Macs before and then I'd switch back to Windows, or build a computer and run Linux, etc (interestingly the most reliable, best performing machine I ever owned was a Dell). This year though, I ordered an iMac 27 which I plan to use as my main computer for the next five years (that's my plan at least). The problem is that I have a fair amount of back-up and archive material on external drives (~4TB). Is it prudent to format all of these drives for Mac or should I just leave them as NTFS? As stated, this is largely backup material, so, in theory, I would only ever be reading from the drives (and, from what I understand Macs can still read from NTFS drives).

While leaving everything in its current format would be the simplest, a part of me says I should jump in and reformat everything for the Mac system. I am slightly concerned if this would be wise... I suppose I'm questioning how committed I am to the Mac ecosystem at this point.

So what would you, more experienced, Mac users recommend, should I:
  1. convert all my data for Mac,
  2. leave it all in NTFS and then transfer material over to my Mac as needed
  3. or should I do some kind of split based on likelihood of usage?

Should I jump into the Mac ecosystem or leave a foot planted in the Windows world?

I'm a bit torn about this; could use some experienced advice.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 04:51 PM   #2
Peace
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For you ?

Number 2

I might add though. In order to use Time Machine backups you will need a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) disk.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 04:54 PM   #3
balamw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkle View Post
Macs can still read from NTFS drives.
This. (i.e. #2 as Peace said).

Personally I think you need to think if you are likely to have both or even both on your Mac via Boot Camp.

I have a mixed environment (mostly Mac) and use a NAS to share and abstract between the OSes. i.e. Mac OS X can write to an NTFS drive if it is attached to a Windows PC or NAS device and shared from there. (Just like Windows can read/write to an HFS+ drive that is shared on the network.

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Old Dec 12, 2012, 04:54 PM   #4
GGJstudios
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HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)
NTFS (Windows NT File System)
  • Read/Write NTFS from native Windows.
  • Read only NTFS from native Mac OS X
  • To Read/Write/Format NTFS from Mac OS X, here are some alternatives:
    • For Mac OS X 10.4 or later (32 or 64-bit), install Paragon ($19.95) (Best Choice for Lion and Mountain Lion)
    • For Mac OS X 10.5 and later, including Lion, FUSE for OS X
    • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36), which is an enhanced version of NTFS-3G with faster performance.
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and later versions, but is not advisable, due to instability.
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support NTFS
  • Maximum file size: 16 TB
  • Maximum volume size: 256TB
  • You can use this format if you routinely share a drive with multiple Windows systems.

exFAT (FAT64)
  • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
  • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
  • exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table)
  • AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Time Capsule do not support exFAT
  • Maximum file size: 16 EiB
  • Maximum volume size: 64 ZiB
  • You can use this format if it is supported by all computers with which you intend to share the drive. See "disadvantages" for details.

FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
  • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
  • Maximum file size: 4GB.
  • Maximum volume size: 2TB
  • You can use this format if you share the drive between Mac OS X and Windows computers and have no files larger than 4GB.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 05:32 PM   #5
Kirkle
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Thanks for all the replies.

It does seem a bit like the choice is between running everything in HFS and using MacDrive, or running everything in NTFS and using Paragon, since, the more I think about it, I am sure that at some point I'll end up having to jostle files back and forth (and I'm not currently running a NAS). Wish these OSes offered native support for the other's format.

The only reason I'm considering going through the bother of reformatting everything would be for superior performance/stability when dealing with my archived material on the Mac. If you all don't foresee any major hurdles I may just leave all as is, and keep my files in NTFS.

Also, a question that just occurred to me: I have traditionally ran a great many things on virtual machines, and I intend to carry this practice over to my new Mac (might give Parallels a try though, since that seems to be the preferred software for Macs). When running Windows in VM on a Mac, is it possible to read/write to NTFS in the same manner as when running on a native Windows machine?
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 09:34 PM   #6
JoelBC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkle View Post
Thanks for all the replies.

It does seem a bit like the choice is between running everything in HFS and using MacDrive, or running everything in NTFS and using Paragon, since, the more I think about it, I am sure that at some point I'll end up having to jostle files back and forth (and I'm not currently running a NAS). Wish these OSes offered native support for the other's format.

The only reason I'm considering going through the bother of reformatting everything would be for superior performance/stability when dealing with my archived material on the Mac. If you all don't foresee any major hurdles I may just leave all as is, and keep my files in NTFS.

Also, a question that just occurred to me: I have traditionally ran a great many things on virtual machines, and I intend to carry this practice over to my new Mac (might give Parallels a try though, since that seems to be the preferred software for Macs). When running Windows in VM on a Mac, is it possible to read/write to NTFS in the same manner as when running on a native Windows machine?
I am in the same situation as you except that I use a NAS drive...I have decided to leave things as they are which means:

1. All the files on my NAS have been left as is and can be read / written to by both my OS X and Windows machines.

2. All the files on my USB NTFS drives have been left as they are and can be read / written to by both my OS X (using NTFS for Mac) and Windows machines.

3. All the files on my OS X machine are backup up on an HFS+ drive.

Also, files can also be transferred via my home network which is easiest. In the end, just need to keep things straight.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 09:34 PM   #7
Jaypi
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Just use Tuxera NTFS e.g. and you can read/write NTFS without installing Windows.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 11:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirkle View Post
When running Windows in VM on a Mac, is it possible to read/write to NTFS in the same manner as when running on a native Windows machine?
Generally, yes. I personally prefer this over the third party read/write drivers, but that's just my humble opinion.

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Old Dec 12, 2012, 11:13 PM   #9
Kirkle
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Just as a hypothetical:

Let's say you go over to Paragon Software's site and download the HFS+ for Windows driver and NTFS for Mac OSX driver.

You install the driver for HFS+ on your Windows machine, and the one for NTFS on your Macintosh. Now both your computers can read/write for either format, correct? (which it would be great if they could do this natively anyway...)

Now which file system would you choose for your externally-housed files?

Based on what I've read on this site, I tend to lean a bit more toward NTFS. I've never had an NTFS drive become corrupted, but it seems as though quite a few people here have had their HFS+ drives give them errors.

Any thoughts?
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 01:02 AM   #10
throAU
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If it is archive material that you aren't wanting to change, then perhaps using readonly NTFS support in OS X could be a good idea.

If it's read only, you can't accidentally delete/corrupt it.
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