Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

How to read and write to NTFS partitions on Mac OS X

If you have a Mac and have Boot Camp installed, you’ll notice that you can access the NTFS partition used by Windows while booted to Mac OS X. However, access is read-only – you can open files and copy files from it, but you can’t save to it. This makes sharing files between OS X and Windows difficult as there isn’t a common place that both operating systems can read and write to (unless you have an extra FAT partition or an external drive).

The purpose of this good is to get around this technical limitation by using some extra software in Mac OS X to make your NTFS partition writeable as well as readable – that way any files on your NTFS volume can be read and written by both Windows and OS X.
We’re going to use 3 packages – Google’s MacFUSE (which I mentioned yesterday), and MacFUSE Tools and NTFS-3G.

Quick warning: Remember that this is entirely at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible if following these instructions renders your hard disk useless. NTFS is a proprietary file system and any non-native access method may result in data loss or make the partition unbootable. You have been warned!

First of all, install MacFUSE from the Google Code page – you need the file called MacFUSE-Core-0.3.0.dmg. Download and install this, and then restart your computer when instructed. MacFUSE is a generic library that allows a variety of different file systems to be mounted on Mac OS X, and is a Mac port of FUSE for Linux.

Next, download the NTFS-3G package. This includes MacFUSE Tools so you won’t need to download that as well, but you will need to install it first, before then installing the NTFS-3G package. Once you’ve installed these two, all that is left to do is restart your computer again.
You should now find that the NTFS partition is writeable, and that you can use it like you would use any other drive!

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