How To Fix a Read-Only NTFS External Drive on Mac?

How to Fix a Read-Only NTFS External Drive on Mac?

What works on Windows usually doesn’t on Mac OS. The two operating systems are so different that they can get confusing. So, if you want to run an NTFS external drive on your Windows, all you have to do is plug it in. But for Mac OS, NTFS hard drives are usually read-only. So, as these are pretty commonly used, this minor inconvenience can put many people off. However, there are some easy fixes that you can do on your own.  

If you have TV and Spectrum internet deals, you can watch YouTube tutorials for a fix. But if you are old-school and only trust tech blogs, then you have come to the right place. It can be easier than you think to turn your NTFS drives to the read-and-write mode on Mac. There are three possible fixes depending upon how permanently you want this problem to go away. But before getting into the solutions, you should first know about some basics.   

What Is an NTFS External Drive?  

NTFS stands for New Technology File System, and Windows OS primarily uses this process. It is the mechanism with which Windows stores, organizes, and finds files on a hard disk. Since it is designed for Windows, it can be incompatible with other operating systems. NTFS has some distinct advantages over other file storage systems, and more people prefer it. So, if you want better performance and better security access control, you should also pick NTFS. It is reliable and utilizes more space on the disk by keeping a better log of the files.  

How to Have It on Mac?  

NTFS hard drives can be used with Mac OS as well. Let’s talk about how you can do it.  

Solution 1: When Drive Is Blank  

If your hard drive is blank, you are in luck. The solution can be fairly simple for you. So, you can format it without losing any data. Here’s how:  

  • Mount the disk on your Mac.  
  • Open Disk Utility.  
  • Head to Applications -> Utilities  
  • Or Tap Command + Space and type Desk Utility.  
  • Select the drive from the sidebar.  
  • Click on Erase.  
  • Choose a proper file system.  
  • Rename your hard disk.  

Choosing the Best Format  

Most people can get confused when choosing a format for their disks. So, it can depend upon what you want to do with the drive later on. If you wish to use Mac, or do you also want Windows compatibility? Here are some things to remember.  

#1: Time Machine Backup 

If you want to backup your drive on Mac OS with Time Machine, you should choose APFS. It can work best with Mac OS 10.13 or later. If you want the option to show up, set the Scheme to GUID Partition Map. On older systems, you can choose Mac OS Extended or HFS+.  

#2: Portable Drive 

If you want to use the same drive for Mac OS and Windows, it is possible. For this purpose, you can choose the exFAT format. As a result, it will be compatible with all of your operating systems and devices. But if you are only working between Macs, you should select APFS unless you have already used it on a 10.13 OS system.   

#3: Older PCs 

Some older Windows PCs don’t support the exFAT format. While this is rare, it can still be a possibility. So, if you have an older computer, you can choose the FAT format. However, you should keep in mind that it will reduce your disk space to 32 GB only. So, it is better to upgrade your system and choose another format.  

Solution 2: Ignore Permissions  

Sometimes, the problem might only be because of the permission settings on your Mac. Here is what you need to do:  

  • Right-click on the external hard drive.  
  • Click on Get Info.  
  • Expand the Sharing & Permissions section.  
  • Click on the lock to allow the drive permissions.  
  • Click on the box that says Ignore Ownership on this volume.  

Solution 3: One-Time Fix  

You can manually write files once on an external drive by using Terminal. However, this is experimental support, and you could end up losing data.  

  • Open Terminal and type: nano etc/fstab  
  • Copy this line into the file by replacing FILENAME with the name of the drive  
  • Hit Ctrl + O to save the file  
  • Press Ctrl + X to quit Nano  
  • Remount the drive and find it in /Volumes.  
  • Copy files to the drive.
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