iMac reading a NTFS External HD..?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Coop-48, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Coop-48 macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2011
    Forgive me if this question has been posted often but after searching on the forums and google, I still wanted a direct answer to my question.

    I'm a mac newbie (obviously) and I'm planning on purchasing an iMac at the end of March. As I prepare for the big move from PC to Mac, I wanted to ensure that my music library is transferred to my Mac seamlessly. I have a 1TB external HD that holds most of my music. This HD is formatted for windows. It is my understanding that a Mac can read from an Windows formatted HD but it cannot write to said drive.

    If this is the case, I should be able to plug my external into my Mac and copy my music files to the desired location. Is this correct? Moreover, I should also have the option to connect my HD to my PC, open Network Sharing, and transfer files via my home network as well.

    Again, just wanted a direct answer or confirmation, if you will. Thanks.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Yes, Mac OS X can read from NTFS formatted volumes, thus you can copy your data off of it.
    Yes, Mac OS X and Windows can be networked.


    Overview of the four major file systems (called "Formats" in Mac OS X) used on Windows and Mac OS X, compiled by GGJstudios. You can use Disk Utility to format any HDD to your liking.

    Any external hard drive will work with PCs or Macs, as long as the connectors are there (Firewire, USB, etc.) It doesn't matter how the drive is formatted out of the box, since you can re-format any way you like. Formatting can be done with the Mac OS X Disk Utility, found in the /Applications/Utilities folder. Here are your formatting options:

    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.
    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)
      • 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.
    HFS+ (Hierarchical File System, a.k.a. Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Don't use case-sensitive)
    • Read/Write HFS+ from native Mac OS X
    • Required for Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! 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
    • You can use this format if you only use the drive with Mac OS X, or use it for backups of your Mac OS X internal drive, or if you only share it with one Windows PC (with MacDrive installed on the PC)
    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.
  3. wpotere Guest

    Oct 7, 2010
    You can plug the drive into a Mac and read only unless you use third party software to enable write. As for the network question, if you enable a share on your PC and then connect to that with your Mac, you can read/write to it. Network shares use network protocols to copy data and the OS doesn't see what the file system is so your Mac won't care if the PC is NTFS.
  4. Coop-48 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2011
  5. mario24601 macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2010
    Great info!! Thank you!


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