Read and Write to NTFS for Mac in OS X, Or Use ExFAT Instead

Learn how you can use NTFS for Mac with an formatted Windows drive.

If you recently switched from Windows to Mac OS X you may have a NTFS drive with some files lying around. We have several solutions available for making the drive work in Mac OS X with full read / write support.

Make sure you have ejected the NTFS drive from your Windows computer correctly before removing the USB / FW cable. It can be done by right clicking the drive in My Computer and select eject. If the drive is an external one.

Get back to your Mac OS X computer where you first have to download and install MacFUSE. This application will allow Mac OS X to extend the supported filesystems with 3rd party drivers.

You can get MacFUSE here: http://code.google.com/p/macfuse/ After installing you will have to restart your computer.

After the reboot go here: http://mac.softpedia.com/get/System-Utilities/NTFS-3G.shtml and download the ntfs-3g driver.

Install the driver, and when everything is installed you can plug in your NTFS formatted drive with full read / write support !

You also have a commercial solution here: Paragon NTFS for Mac, I have used it myself and it is really fast and stable. Highly recommend it. 

You should be aware that the above instructions about macfuse and ntfs-3g are beginning to be a bit out of date. As far as I know there is no free NTFS for Mac solution in development.

Know that if you only are going to read from your Windows drive you don’t have to install anything extra. OS X can read from an NTFS drive without any driver. But not WRITE to it.

Consider Using ExFAT Instead

One of the reasons for using NTFS and not FAT is because NTFS can hold files that are larger than 4GB. It is also a more stable filesystem. We have another option though and that is using ExFAT instead of third party software. If you use an up to date Windows 7 / 8 OS or the latest Mac OS X version this would be a good choice if you often move large files between Windows and OSX. This is a partition format that works natively in both Windows and OSX.

To format a drive with exFAT you fire up Disk Utility and select ExFAT in the tab where you create a partition on your disk.

exfat

And it should be read/writable in both os without having to buy or use some third party application.

exFAT Windows 7

2 thoughts on “Read and Write to NTFS for Mac in OS X, Or Use ExFAT Instead

    • Strange,

      If you try formatting the drive as exfat in Windows instead, then try accessing it in OS X. Does it work then?

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