As an avid user of both Mac and Windows computers, one of the biggest challenges that I have faced is using my NTFS-formatted external hard drive on my Mac. NTFS is a file system that is commonly used on Windows computers because it’s efficient and supports large file sizes. However, Macs don’t include native support for NTFS, which makes it difficult to transfer files between the two systems when using an external hard drive that is formatted in this way. In this blog post, I’d like to walk you through different methods that you can use to enable NTFS write support on your Mac.
Why You Need to Use NTFS External Hard Drive on Mac
There are several reasons why you may need to access an NTFS-formatted external hard drive on your Mac. For example, you might need to transfer files between a Mac and a Windows computer, or you might need to access Windows-specific applications or files that are stored on the external hard drive. Without NTFS write support, your ability to copy, move, or delete files that are stored on the external drive is limited.
Method 1: Third-Party File System Drivers
One of the most popular ways to enable write support for NTFS-formatted drives on a Mac is by installing a third-party file system driver. These drivers can be used to add NTFS write support to macOS, which will allow you to write data to NTFS drives without any issues.
- Easily add write support for NTFS drives
- Most drivers are free to use
- Some drivers offer advanced features like automatic mount options and file system repair tools
- May not be as reliable as the built-in file system drivers
- Some drivers may not be compatible with newer versions of macOS
Follow these steps to use a third-party file system driver to access an NTFS-formatted external hard drive on your Mac:
- Download and install a third-party file system driver on your Mac, such as Paragon NTFS or Tuxera NTFS.
- Connect your NTFS-formatted external hard drive to your Mac.
- Your NTFS-formatted drive will now appear on your Mac, and you can read and write files to it just like any other drive.
Method 2: Use Disk Utility
If you don’t want to install any third-party software on your Mac, you can use the built-in Disk Utility tool to access your NTFS-formatted external hard drive. However, this method only allows you to read files from the drive, and you won’t be able to write any changes back to the drive.
- Built-in tool, no need to install any additional software
- Allows you to safely eject your drive before disconnecting it
- You can’t write back changes to the drive
- May not be as efficient as third-party drivers
Follow these steps to use Disk Utility to access an NTFS-formatted external hard drive:
- Connect your NTFS-formatted external hard drive to your Mac.
- Open Disk Utility, which can be found under Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
- Select your external hard drive from the list of available drives, and then click on the "Mount" button.
- Your NTFS-formatted drive will now appear in the Finder, and you can read files from it just like any other drive.
Method 3: Use Terminal
If you’re comfortable with using the Terminal, you can use a few commands to enable NTFS write support on your Mac. This method requires a bit more technical knowledge than the others, but it’s a great way to customize your system and gain more control over your external hard drive.
- You can customize the commands to suit your needs
- No need to install additional software
- Requires knowledge of Terminal commands
- May not be as user-friendly as other methods
Follow these Terminal commands to enable NTFS write support on your Mac:
- Launch the Terminal application from the Applications > Utilities folder.
- Enter the following command into Terminal: sudo nano /etc/fstab.
- Enter your administrator password when prompted.
- Add the following line to the bottom of the file: LABEL=DRIVENAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
- Replace "DRIVENAME" in the command with the name of your external hard drive.
Oand then press
Xto save and exit the file.
- Restart your Mac.
- Your NTFS-formatted drive will now appear in the Finder, and you can read and write files to it just like any other drive.
What to Do If You Can’t Use Ntfs External Hard Drive on Mac
If you’re still unable to use your NTFS-formatted external hard drive on your Mac, there are a few things that you can try:
- Make sure that your external hard drive is properly formatted as NTFS
- Check that your external hard drive is not corrupted or damaged
- Try connecting your external hard drive to a different USB port on your Mac
- Restart your Mac and try using the drive again
If you frequently work with both Mac and Windows computers, you might want to consider using a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive to store and share your files. These services are platform-independent, which means that you can access your files from anywhere using any device.
Q: Can I format my external hard drive to work with both Mac and Windows computers?
A: Yes, you can format your external hard drive as exFAT, which is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers.
Q: Is it safe to use third-party file system drivers?
A: Yes, as long as you download the drivers from a reputable source and keep them up-to-date.
Q: Can I use Terminal to enable write support for other file systems?
A: Yes, Terminal can be used to enable write support for other file systems like NTFS. However, the commands will be different.
Q: Will enabling NTFS write support on my Mac affect my ability to use the drive on a Windows computer?
A: No, enabling NTFS write support on your Mac will not affect your ability to use the drive on a Windows computer.
Q: Can I use Time Machine to back up files on an NTFS-formatted external hard drive?
A: No, Time Machine is only compatible with drives that are formatted as HFS+ or APFS.
Using an NTFS-formatted external hard drive on a Mac can be a challenge, but there are several methods that you can use to gain write support and access your files. Whether you choose to install third-party file system drivers, use Disk Utility, or use Terminal commands, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a reliable and safe method that won’t cause any data loss or corruption. With the right method and a bit of technical know-how, you can easily transfer files between Mac and Windows computers using your NTFS-formatted external hard drive.