How-To: Write to NTFS Partition in Mac

How-To: Write to NTFS Partition in Mac

(I have quite a few how-tos i wanted to write about, usually to document something i did with the servers. Most of it gets lost in my mind afterwards. So that leaves me with mostly Mac stuff.)

This how-to documents what i have done, including all faults, repetitions, and miracles — you’ll find out later.

By default, NTFS partitions are readable in Mac OS X; but not writable. I have a bootcamp partition and i can see it via Finder. I also have an external drive, where i sync important files from my desktop PC. Before, it was ok to just have it in read-only since the same files are also sync’ed in the MBP. The mobile drive’s main purpose is really when i’m working at home on my PC (or other remote places, w/c is very rare).

Lately though, i’m running out of space on the MBP. The solution is either to delete *unimportant but fun/entertaining* stuff OR unload *important but boring* stuff and locate it somewhere. Anyway, these *important stuff are not for use in the mac. I’m just so OC to want to have a copy of everything.  (Good reasoning, eh?!)

So now that the story has been told, here’s the real tutorial. As with all of my other how-tos, this is not original. I have a lot of help from geniuses lurking and sharing their minds on the net.

First, install MacFuse. This is quite easy. Just go over to their google code page, download the latest stable version (1.7.1 as of writing). Versions for tiger and leopard are available, so choose yours. MacFuse installation should be in /Library/Filesystems/fusefs.fs/

Next, install ntfs-3g. There are two (or more) ways to do this. (1) Use Fink, or (2) Get the DMG Package.

My first instinct was to do the 2nd option. The installer (.dmg) version is 1.2712 as of July 15. After installation then reboot, the external hard disk won’t show up in the Finder anymore. Additionally, a window pops up with the error found in the pic below. I tried the suggested actions, but to no avail. For one, the volume was not mounted on my Windows partition. It’s not even running in VMWare. Choice #2 is no good either. Command “mount -t ntfs-3g” is not recognized. Although i do have “mount_ntfs” and “mount_ntfs-3g” commands, it can’t mount the drive.

So i resorted to the 1st option. To install via Fink, you should of course have Fink properly installed first. (Fink is a download package manager ported for mac; similar to apt-get and yum.) For that, i borrowed most of this tutorial here. Actually, i have Fink installed before (for i dunno what purpose), but it can’t locate any ntfs-3g package. So i decided to re-install hoping that it will solve the problem.

– /sw/bin/fink configure. Use defaults, except answer YES to use the unstable tree.
– /sw/bin/fink selfupdate
– /sw/bin/fink index
– /sw/bin/fink scanpackages
– /sw/bin/fink install ntfs-3g

Unfortunately for me, this didn’t work out either. It can’t find the package. (Probably because of my choice of mirror/sources.) So i retried Option 2 (w/o removing Fink; it doesn’t matter). Btw, there should be ntfs-3g.fs folder under /System/Library/Filesystems/.

Out of frustration, i booted XP thru VMWare and started playing TextTwist. 😀 At the back of my mind, i wanted to mount the external hard drive on Windows (have the OS detect it), then unmount .. just to start off on a clean slate. Remember, i was getting “Mount is denied because NTFS is marked to be in use” warning. Now i noticed the (readable) Bootcamp partition is no longer in Finder, similar to how my external drive is now gone. That’s a good sign for me.

Now i powered off the virtual machine, expectant. But nope, the partition didn’t show up. I opted for a reboot, then lo and behold, upon reboot, the NTFS partition is back. I tried copying a file into it, and it was ok. Yey! *that was the sort of miracle part and i don’t understand it at all. I have theories, but nothing conclusive.*

That solved my little NTFS mounting problem. Thank you to all sources. 🙂

  • Mariuz

    Hey thanks mate! It works for me like a charm, no errors just install those 2 programs and reboot.

  • Maria

    The simple way worked for me! Thanks!

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