Thursday, 17 January 2008

Reading and writing ntfs on Mac OS X

An external hard drive always comes in handy. Most of the time, such hard drives are formatted with the FAT32 filesystem. Most of the time that works well. A big advantage is that all operating systems can read and write such a filesystem. A big disadvantage is the fact that the maximum file size is 4GiB. That makes storing big DVD images on a FAT32 drive troublesome.

On Windows, a simple solution exists: using the newer ntfs file system. The support for ntfs is much lower. Reading ntfs is reasonably widespread (e.g. Mac OS X). Writing is much more rare. Some linux distributions support it (e.g. Ubuntu).

In my case I wanted to use my external hard drive with three different operating systems: Windows XP, Ubuntu Linux and Mac OS X. The first two have out of the box support for reading and writing to ntfs file systems. The last only has read support.

However. A solution is right around the corner. Thanks to the following open source projects:
Download the latest stable versions. I downloaded MacFUSE-Core-10.5-1.3.1.dmg and NTFS-3G_1.1120-stable-catacombae.dmg.
Install MacFuse first. Restart your mac when asked to. Next install NTFS-3G and reboot again if asked.
After that, no configuration is necessary. External hard drives formatted with NTFS will work with no extra care.

1 comment:

Saul said...

Thanks, this is what I have been looking for. I'll try it as soon as I get home!