NTFS on Mac?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Kirkle, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    #1
    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.
     
  2. macrumors P6

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #2
    For you ?

    Number 2

    I might add though. In order to use Time Machine backups you will need a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) disk.
     
  3. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #3
    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.

    B
     
  4. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    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.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    #5
    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?
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Jaypi

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    Just use Tuxera NTFS e.g. and you can read/write NTFS without installing Windows.
     
  8. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #8
    Generally, yes. I personally prefer this over the third party read/write drivers, but that's just my humble opinion.

    B
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    #9
    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?
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #10
    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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