Transfering files to external HD

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Highgord, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. Highgord macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2008
    Hi All,
    I recently moved my WD 1Tb HD from my PC to my iMac which recognised it and it's files at once. However when I try to move any files from my iMac to the external drive, I get the following message:

    The item “ “ could not be moved because “WD My Book” cannot be modified.

    I have no idea what this means (I'm a relative Newbie to Mac) can anyone help me?
  2. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    My guess the drive is formatted as NTFS, which OS X can only read from, not write to.
  3. MarkMS macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    I think the external drive is formatted in NTFS since you used it on your PC. You can't write to the drive unless you reformat it to FAT32 (can be used on both Mac/PC), Mac OS Extended Journaled HFS (can only be used on Macs) or use a third party application to write to the NTFS drive without formatting.

    Reformatting to FAT32 is easy to do, but you will lose everything on the drive. So you need to back up the files somewhere, format the drive to FAT32, then put the files back on to the drive. But with FAT, you have limitations like not being able to save individual files over 4GB. So if you have movie files or think you will use files over 4GB, you will need to scrap this idea.

    Another solution is to format to Mac OS Extended. Same as FAT, you will need to back up the files since they get deleted during the format, format to Mac OS Extended, then drag back the old files. Only problem is that you will not be able to use the drive on a PC unless you have third party software.

    Last solution is to use third party software. Some are free and some are shareware. The good thing about this solution is that you don't have to format the drive you have. Just remove the drive before you install the application. Once you install everything, plug in the drive and then it should mount for you to be able to read and write files to it.


    Paragon's NTFS for Mac
  4. MarkCooz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2009
    Hey I'm wondering I just bought Paragon 7 for mac

    and my external hdd western digital passport 160gb is in FAT32
    and I need to transfer lots of movie files here, because I'm going on a trip this august.

    since FAT32 won't transfer files over 4gb I'm wondering If i use paragon, do i STILL NEED TO FORMAT IT? or just use it and install it, then i can transfer files bigger than 4gb?

    can anyone please tell me how it works.

  5. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Yes, you have to format it. FAT32 is limited to 4GB, no matter what. Formating it takes less than 5 minutes
  6. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Don't bother paying for Paragon. Download MacFUSE. It lets your Mac use every possible file system at full speed.

    FAT32 is incapable of >4GB files. You will need to reformat the drive into another format. Reformatting is a quick process, but will erase any existing data.
  7. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    If you want to reformat to NTFS, you can do it non-destructively from a Windows PC - attach it to a PC (or boot into a Boot Camp partition) and use:
    from a command shell - where X: is the drive letter of the external.

    When I say "non-destructively", this process is apparently very reliable. I've never heard of anyone having problems. However, as with any file system operation, if you want to be absolutely safe you should back up the drive first.
  8. MarkCooz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2009
    I need help so I just formatted the external to NTFS but it won't let me install the paragon in there
    I can only install to my MacBook
    anyone wants to help me here?

    Edit : I just tried the 3gntfs thing it's awesome, but woah the transfer thing got slow!
    but w/e
    fine with me

    what is the cap size for ntfs?
  9. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    MarkCooz, read my previous post. MacFUSE is much better and faster than NTFS-3G

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