NTFS Support on an external drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by heavywater, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. heavywater macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2007
    Shanghai, China
    I have a Seagate External USB drive (I think it also has Firewire support).

    The drive has a bunch of files on it and it's formatted NTFS. I'd like to have it work between the Mac and my PC. So:

    Is OS X 10.4.X able to use NTFS (reliably), or do I have to move the files off of the disk onto something else?
  2. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    Apple can read information on an NTFS drive, but it cannot write to it. You are best to format the drive to FAT32. FAT32 works on both PC and Mac..only downside is that it cannot write a file over 4GB (this may or may not be an issue).

    If it is an issue, then you could partition part of the drive to FAT32, and the other part Apple OS Extended Journal..........

    My drive was NTFS and when I switched to mac I had to move the files from the drive to my mac, format it to FAT32 and I transferred it back to my ext. hd, and it's been great ever since.
  3. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    This is slightly more complicated than a FAT32 approach, but I would recommend using EXT3. You can install Windows and OS X drivers to allow full read and write access to any EXT3 formatted volumes. EXT3 supports UNIX file permissions, as well as being generally more stable and having less fragmentation than FAT32. Not only do I recommend this approach, I use it myself. Hopefully Apple will port the ntfs-3g driver to Leopard, but I haven't heard anything about this.
  4. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    I can write to a shared ntfs drive on my xp pro workstation from my mbp.
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    MacFUSE is a recent development so that you can read and write several different file systems, including NTFS, but it's fairly new so it's probably not as reliable as you'd like.
  6. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    That's shared, going through (most likely) samba, so OS X doesn't have to deal with ntfs.

    MACFuse with ntfs-3g is the way of the future but I would a while before using it. I've used ntfs-3g for several months now without any trouble with Linux, but it's new to OS X.
  7. Kuraudo macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2007
    I was thinking of doing that but what concerns me is the amount of partitiions one has to create!
    I mean all those little 32GB partitions all over littering my desktop! 400GB /32GB = 12 partitions! Who wants to maintain and eject all of those!

    As to the other solution, how and where do you find support for EXT3? I dont see it in the apple utility nor do i find it in discwizard for western digital or the disk thing for Seagate.

    What I am doing right now is I have the Mac HD, and windows 32gb Partition. I just use the partition as a "BRIDGE" to store files and move those over to my 400GB seagate usb drive. I hope this helps.

    And sorry If I am not knowledgeable, but I would like to know how you all are formatting larger than 32GB partitions with fat and how to use EXT3. This is a nice learning experience :)
  8. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    You don't have to partition the drive like that, you can allocate so much space to Extended Journal, and the rest for FAT32......

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