I Can't Delete Any Files off my External Hard Drive!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Vercatron, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Vercatron macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2010
    Basically I just got myself the latest MacBook as an upgrade from an old laptop. With my old laptop I had no problems what so ever when using my external hard drive. To delete any files I didn't want I would just right click and press the delete option. However, when connected to my new Mac, there is no such option when right clicking on a file. I've tried dragging the file to a recycling bin but I get a message from the finder saying this file can't be deleted. I've tried moving the file out of my hard drive which worked and then deleting it which was fine but the file remained in the external hard drive as I'd only created a copy. I can't figure out how to delete files I don't want. Deleting everything on the hard drive is out of the question. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You.

  2. iTzChasE macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2008
    Ehh, This might work. Not sure though.

    Right click on the Drive and then hit Get info. Look towards the bottom at Sharing/Permissions and make sure it says Read & Write.
  3. palane macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2009
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    If you used that HDD with Windows and formatted it with Windows or bought it for a Windows machine, it might be formatted with NTFS, a Windows file system, which Mac OS X can only read, thus you can't delete files/folders.
    To be able to write to NTFS formatted volumes, use NTFS-3G (free).
    Here is a short file system guide: http://guides.macrumors.com/File_systems
  5. Thatzlife macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2011
    Having same issue

    I did this and it said READ ONLY. with no option to choose Read and Write.

    So the question is, how do we get it to say READ AND WRITE?
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Did you read the other posts? You need to check to see if the external HD is formatted NTFS - that's usually what causes the problem.
  7. GGJstudios, Apr 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014

    GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Format A Hard Drive Using Disk Utility (which is in your /Applications/Utilities folder)
    Choose the appropriate format:
    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 (approx $20) (Best Choice for Lion and later)
      • For 32-bit Mac OS X, install NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (free) (does not work in 64-bit mode)
      • For 64-bit Snow Leopard, read this: MacFUSE for 64-bit Snow Leopard
      • Some have reported problems using Tuxera (approx $36).
      • Native NTFS support can be enabled in Snow Leopard and Lion, 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.
  8. bobright macrumors 601

    Jun 29, 2010
    I am searching here as I just ran into this problem as the OP. And yes this hard drive was formatted for a windows machine.

    Is this app still relevant? I want to delete stuff from my External without losing anything when formatting or whatever. I want to just manually delete certain stuff from it.
  9. aadi87 macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2014
    Hey guys,

    If formatted to NTFS 3G, would it be recognised by Windows if needed to be used ??
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I just now saw your post from over a year ago. I've updated my previous post to include more current information. I recommend Paragon for reading, writing and formatting NTFS drives from OS X.
  11. inglesereepless macrumors newbie


    Mar 15, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Mar 15, 2017 ---
    for windows.. just right click your external hard drive the select properties, the click the tools tab above.. click the "check now" button... wait till it finished.. then you should have all the permissions to your hard drive,, such us delete move, copy, or even install a software to your drive.... hope it'll help........
  12. Ta2dsoldier84 macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2017
    go to launch pad and then select disk utiliries from there and the rest is self explanitory and easy to follow...i actually figured that out while trying to get the same answer you were lol
  13. irishgirl0413 macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2018
    Great suggestion ... but this didn't help me to save more files OR delete those already on. Appreciate your input though
  14. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    A drive formatted NTFS only reads on an iMac unless you get one of the programs that will read and writs NTFS. You will not be able to keep any files if you format the drive - either bet the program like paragon or copy the files you want to save to another drive then format the NTFS drive for Mac.
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    macOS can read NTFS natively. It just can't format or write natively. See my earlier post for more info.

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