NTFS on Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CC424, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. CC424 macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2009
    I have over 3 terabytes of movies on 2 external hard drives that I used on a Windows pc. I recently gave the pc to my son and now setup the MBP as my desktop with the externals attached.

    I can see the drives and access view the files but can not save to them. I read several post that say I have to reformat the drives for the mac to copy to them.

    Just wondering if anyone has a work around because I would have to buy another 3 terabytes to keep the files that I have.....any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. simsaladimbamba, Dec 23, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011


    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.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    No, you can read and copy data from NTFS drives with native Mac OS X; you just can't write to them. Read the NTFS data that simsaladimbamba posted for how to read/write to NTFS from Mac OS X. There's no need to reformat the drive.

    simsaladimbamba, there's an updated version of that data here.
  4. coops macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2009
    I used to use ntfs mounter ( http://ntfsmounter.com/ ) to write to ntfs ok, on Snow Leopard, on my external drives...

    You'd have to make sure the drive was 'properly' ejected from the windows PC or else it would not be writeable using ntfs mounter - would have to go back to Windows and 'repair' the disk to set it up correctly.....

    Got fed up with all that malarkey, so have switched to exFAT, no problems... I've kept a copy of the XP driver on the external drive as well in case of older not fully updated XP systems are encountered... works fine with Mac, Vista, Win 7 and even XP once you install the small driver/update.
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Fangs, I updated my bigarse library of GGJstudios quotes.
  6. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Personally I just sprang the $20 for Paragon NTFS. Never worried about it ever again. Like the OP, I spend a lot of time back and forth between the two OS's, and I have 30-40 external drives which I don't have to worry which way they're formatted if they're all NTFS

  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Just out of curiosity, as I also have twenty external HDDs (some without an enclosure for swapping into an eSATA/USB dock), what kind of organising scheme do you use? Do you have all your HDDs catalogued via some software or do you just a very strict system with a good labelling on the enclosure?
  8. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Nov 16, 2011
    Guys if you want a reliable, BEST solution without having to go through commands(terminal) or any other complicated stuff just spend $19 over at Paragon's website and get their NTFS for OSX, I have been using it for couple months now it has no issues and the write speeds are great. I also came over from Windows to my current FIRST ever Macbook Pro and my Main 2TB external is actually formatted to NTFS that has been holding my stuff for the past years along with a 1TB of my movies. Paragons NTFS FOR OSX is great. Only problem I have with it is that it doesn't let my Macbook's Second Drive sleep when driver is enabled, It just keeps my drive awake thats all, but for a external that won't be a problem.
  9. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    im with paragon too!!
    one thing to note is MACFUSE is no longer being maintained... but the "successor" is called OSXFUSE

    i haven't used it as I'm with Paragon, but just an update for GGJStudios :)

    they have their own forums on that site, and here is the FAQs if anyone is interested !
  10. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    I keep them categorized based on what's on them and label them on the side with a Dymo label maker. I'm doing the same as you, have them loose and swap into a USB/eSata dock.

    I rip all my DVD's to disc and archive them, so I may have 5 discs for movies, 3 for TV shows, etc. With the dock as you're aware pretty easy to put one in, look, and eject it if not the one you want. I'm OCD, but not bad enough that I'm going to catalog them all out :)
  11. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    I would just backup those movies to another drive and reformat to exFAT.

    Not having any sort of backup for your 3TB of files is just asking for trouble.

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