A Windows-user asked me to put some file on his external harddisk, but when I try to do so, I get a message that I only have ‘read-only’ permissions to the harddisk.
How can I copy the files over ?
If you get this problem, it usually caused by the fact that MacOSX does not support NTFS-formatted disks ‘out of the box’. [ NTFS = Windows NT File System ; a format that, mainly for server, has replaced the old DOS-originating formats FAT16 and FAT32, which are fully supported by MacOSX, but are less suited for use on large volume harddisks ]
There are 2 main solutions to this :
– 1 –
If you are going to frequently swap this external harddisk between your Mac and a Windows-PC, you’ll be best off reformatting it to FAT32 :
– connect the external harddisk to your Mac
– copy the entire contents over to your Mac (or to another external harddisk or to a diskimage on your Mac)
– check and make sure you have copied everything over
– then reformat the external harddisk to DOS-format (= FAT32) using OSX’s Disk Utility app
– when finished, copy all content that originally was on the external harddisk back on to it
– that’s it !
– 2 –
If it’s only a one-off for you to use this NTFS-formatted harddrive, you’re probably better off installing a special NTFS-driver/utility for OSX.
– download Tuxera NTFS (to use in demo-mode) :
– install Tuxera NTFS, and open it (NOTE : it’s not a regular application, so it can’t be found in your Applications folder, but it’s a Control Panel in the System Preferences)
– now the external NTFS-disk should appear on your Mac in read&write-mode, and you can start copying files onto it
If you run into problems using Tuxera NTFS, read the FAQ :
And if you do exceed the 15 day free Demo-mode of Tuxera NTFS and are not willing to upgrade to the full payed version, you can start using the FREE open source program that is at the origin of Tuxera NTFS ; it’s called NTFS-3G and can be downloaded here :