Limitations to running a partition as NTFS-format? — if any.

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by PockieLoli :3, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. PockieLoli :3 macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Hello there!

    Here's a quick scoop:
    I have a 2009 MacBook (Snow Leopard) with a 32GB partition of Windows XP Professional 32-Bit (SP2) as FAT format — as suggested by the Bootcamp manual. Installation was a snap and both OS's have been running beautifully so far. My sole use for the Windows partition is gaming — I use it as a game console for my MacBook, if you will. Though right now, with only 32GB I just have one large game installed. I am holding up for a 500GB HDD upgrade I'd like to get in the near future.

    So here's my concern:
    I read that when creating a partition larger than 32GB, it must be formatted as NTFS, which from my understanding is read-only. Though I'm not too savvy on these things, what I comprehend from that and other sources is that files can be opened/read/etc. but new files can not be saved to said NTFS-formatted partition. If I'm understanding this, that doesn't sound like it should be right — I can't see why one would run on a format that restricts being able to introduce new files to use/run/edit/etc. Can anyone clear this up for me? I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you!
  2. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    macFUSE ntfs-3g will let you read/write ntfs partitions.
  3. PockieLoli :3 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Thank you for the quick reply.
    I did notice that in some of the research I did. So does that mean I understood correctly? While in a NTFS-formatted Windows partition, I would not be able to save to that partition? Part of my confusion also came from another source that made the situation sound like the write-restriction only comes from trying to do so onto the Windows partition while somehow running in the Mac partition — perhaps through some file sharing feature. Which would've been fine because I intend to keep everything I do in Windows within itself. If any file sharing should be needed, I would do so via Dropbox or a flash drive/external harddrive.
  4. mobilehaathi macrumors G3


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
    From your OSX install you won't be able to save files to your ntfs partition unless you install ntsf3g. Of course if you boot into windows, you will be able to save files to the ntfs partition.
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010


    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.
  6. NZed macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2011
    Canada, Eh?
    If you use BootCamp to install windows, the mac part will be able to read/write to the windows part of the HD just fine. But if you plug in a ntfs formatted USB HD, you will need ntfs-3g
  7. PockieLoli :3 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Thank you both, that has cleared up exactly what I was misunderstanding in terms of read/write capabilities.

    Hm, my home network states having a standard of 802.11g. Lucky me, I was worried I wouldn't be supported once I move into a NTFS format. Phew.

    Thank you again!
  8. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert

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