external hd is "read only" on friend's macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mrbigglesworth, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Mrbigglesworth, Feb 18, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011

    Mrbigglesworth macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2008
    I've got a little WD passport external HD that works just fine on my macbook. I was trying to transfer some files from my friend's MB pro and it's read only. We tried using another friend's external and it was read-only as well. Then we plugged that one into my macbook..read only on my computer as well. We need some way to get one external to allow us to write! My external works just fine reading/writing on my desktop too and I don't remember having to do anything special to make it work...although the desktop is a PC...not sure if there's a read/write problem trying to use an external on more than one macbook?

    Please help! I need those files...
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The external drive is probably formatted with NTFS. Mac's can't write to that without a third party drive like NTFS-3G. Install NTFS-3G and you'll be able to write to it with no problem.
  3. Mrbigglesworth thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2008
    Thanks for the quick reply. I'm a little computer illiterate so bear with me...it does work fine on my own macbook (read/write). Is it possible there's something installed on my macbook like that third party drive that's allowing it to work? In which case I'd need to install something similar on my friend's MB?

    (with respect to formatting, I'm not sure exactly if it's NTFS or FAT but it's the western digital that's marketed to "work on both mac's and PC's" someone more knowledgeable than myself might understand how exactly those work...)
  4. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
  5. Knoodles macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2003
    Gone to the Beach
    Have you tried simply connecting it to the MB that cant write to it, Get Info on it and changing the access to read and write?
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)
    • Read/Write FAT32 from both native Windows and native Mac OS X.
    • Maximum file size: 4GB.
    • Maximum volume size: 2TB
    • Maximum files per volume: 4,194,304
    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: Install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free)
    • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx 33USD).
    • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard, 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
    • Maximum files per volume: 4,294,967,295
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner backups of Mac internal hard drive.
    • To Read/Write HFS+ from Windows, Install MacDrive
    • To Read HFS+ (but not Write) from Windows, Install HFSExplorer
    • Maximum file size: 8EiB
    • Maximum volume size: 8EiB
    • Maximum files per volume: 4,294,967,295
    exFAT (FAT64)
    • Supported in Mac OS X only in 10.6.5 or later.
    • exFAT partitions created with OS X 10.6.5 are inaccessible from Windows 7
    • Not all Windows versions support exFAT. See disadvantages.
    • Does not support journaling
    • 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
    • Maximum files per volume: nearly unlimited

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