External Hard Drive Problem (NTFS)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Brad Raple, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Brad Raple macrumors newbie

    Brad Raple

    May 7, 2004
    Giant Bucket, USA
    I've done some searching, and it appears that OS X should be able to read an NTFS formatted external drive. I've been using various Mac notebooks for the last several years, and finally decided to ditch my Windows box for one of the new Core 2 Duo iMacs. It has the latest version of OS X, because it just came out last week.

    I'm trying to hook up a known good drive through one of the USB ports on the back of the iMac. The enclosure is USB 2.0. It gives me an error saying "Disk Insertion: The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" and I have Initialize, Ignore, and Eject as options.

    It shows up in Disk Utility, but refuses to mount.

    I'm sure it still works, because I can see the drive and files when in Parallels. Ideally, I'd like to be able to access it with OS X directly, but I'd settle for just getting the files off of it onto my iMac, so I can reformat the disk in FAT32 or HFS, and then put them back on. I'm open to creative solutions.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Echo toxin macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2006
    What happened to the PC that formatted this disk in NTFS? Could you not get the files off and onto your PC, then format it on the Mac and use networking or a trial version of Media Four's MacDrive to put the data back on when it's HFS+?
  3. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006

    If you're ruling out taking that hard drive to a friend's place, then one creative solution would be:
    1) get Ubuntu Linux - it is a "live CD", ie: you boot your computer with it inside, nothing will be installed or touched in your hard drive;
    2) while running Ubuntu, you should be able to read (but not write) that NTFS partition (assuming it's NOT encrypted, which might be the whole issue here...);
    3) copy your data to some other removeable drive. eg.: iPod, CDr, DVDr, some other hard disk you have with a FAT32 partition.

    This requires a 650MB download and some extra storage. In short: take your old laptop Mac to a friend's place and use their Windows PC to rescue your data :)

    Good luck!


    Hey, I just re-read the original post and noticed you have Parallels... I'm not familiar with this software, so there's a big IF in this suggestion:

    IF using parallels allows to network your Windows Guest OS with the Apple Host OS (as you would be able to with other virtualization solutions, such as VMware), then you could mount your NTFS drive under Windows and share that folder. Back in the OS X world, you'd mount that network drive and get your stuff from it.

    much easier than the other idea.

  4. Brad Raple thread starter macrumors newbie

    Brad Raple

    May 7, 2004
    Giant Bucket, USA
    Unfortunately I sold the motherboard, CPU, and RAM from the Windows box, so that's not an option.

    Regarding the Linux solution, I don't think that helps, because I have almost 200 gigs of data to back up, and a 160 hard drive total on my iMac. Plus I could do that in XP if I needed to.

    Regarding the Parallels solution, I thought of that, but for some reason whenever I try to do any networking in XP under Parallels, Windows Explorer either crashes or tells me I don't have sufficient access rights or something equally stupid. I'm logged in under the adminstrator account, so I don' t know what the problem is. Plus, If I'm in Parallels, I only have USB 1.1 support, which makes moving 200 GB of data pretty tedious.

    I think I may just end up getting another external drive, formatting it in Fat32, and dumping the NTFS drive to the FAT drive under Boot Camp. Not the ideal solution, but I could use another external hard drive anyway, I suppose.

    NAS would be ideal, but expensive.

    Thanks for all of your suggestions.
  5. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2006

    200GB! Now that's a nice pr0n collection you have there :D

    now for the serious remark: you should have mentioned the real "size" of the problem in the first place.

    those 200GB under NTFS may well be quite bigger under a FAT32 partition, due to the way that disk sectors are created when a FAT disk is formated. In practice there is a limit for the number of sectors, so a 200GB disk will have bigger sectors than a 20GB disk, and every single file will occupy at least one sector. This means that if you have 200 files, one KB each, you'll end up using up more space than if you had 1 file, 200KB long.

    Ultimately, this means that for such storage demands, you should not rely on using FAT32 in the long term, even more so if your files are BIG. If you have this problem to deal with now, it's best you get it right in a way that will be efective in the future as well.

    in my opinion (and I'd like to hear others), you really should get a Linux box just to keep a bunch of hard disks and a DVD recorder. Drop a 750GB drive (or 2, or 4:) ) in there and keep it in the attic. It's likely to be cheaper to buy one old computer used off of ebay than to get a brand new storage appliance.

  6. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I had a similar problem.

    I had a 200GB drive formatted HFS+ formatted on a Sawtooth so it only had a 127GB part of it useable.

    I put it in an enclosure and connected to to my MBP.

    It also said I had to reformat the disc, so I reformatted it, or at least tried to.

    Disk Utility just hung.... so I had to force quit.

    I'm not trying to thread jack or anything, but I still haven't solved this problem, does anyone know how to solve this?

    I just want to use this as an external drive for my MBP (to record with basically).
  7. azwandi macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2005
    Australia + Malaysia
    Firstly, correct me if i'm wrong. :confused:

    I've been having a problem sharing an external hard drive between windows xp and mac os x. The disk is readable but NOT writable on mac. This is possibly because I formatted the disk on windows xp with NTFS filesystem.

    I've tried to format it on windows xp to use FAT or FAT32, however, an error was returned mentioning the disk/partition is too large (which is 80GB).

    Is there any way to do the operations (read and write) on both platforms without much hassle? Should I try to format it on mac?

    Thanks guys.
  8. Am3822 macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2006
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    I am somewhat puzzled by this thread -- I was under the impression that OS X can mount NTFS disks/partitions as read-only without any problem. Isn't it the case?

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