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I have installed snow leopard on a macbook ans selected case-sensitive file system when partitioning the disk, presuming that it's a standard thing and I'd rather have this system behaving as close as possible to *nix shell.

Although when trying to install Photoshop CS5 recently I got an error message saying that case-sensitive file system cannot be used for installation. Apparently reason is some issues in Apple installer system, which Adobe developers cannot find their way around.

So it looks like I will have to convert the case-sensitive FS to a case-insensitive one.

Are there any tools capable of doing that? Doesn't have to run under macos, anything will do, really (bootable CDs etc)

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See… for a list of programs with HSFX issues and (possible) fixes. – user588 Oct 15 '12 at 9:23
up vote 7 down vote accepted

iPartition claims to be able to do this, although I haven't tried it (and it costs money).

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Excellent, thanks! I was able to convert the file system to case-insensitive one with that tool. Had to make a bootable DVD (need to have the original MacOS installation DVD for that) – Art Jun 1 '11 at 10:59
This works for me. Converted a volume with 500Gb+ of data in around 10 minutes. It's worth noting that iPartition appears to stall at the point where it says "Unmounting..." but in fact it is working. Be patient. – billynoah Nov 29 '15 at 15:38

I don't believe its possible to convert your file system once this is selected. The reason you can't convert is because of the possibility of file name duplicates. All you can do is clone the drive to an external HFS+ that isn't case sensitive and then format your internal drive. And clone it back to the internal.

I would recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner for its ease of use and the fact its free.

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I converted the default case-sensitive HFS+ partition to a case insensitive one after discovering the problem after installing a new MacBook. I assume here that you have enough disk space on your internal hard drive to duplicate the data and system files that you already have installed.

  1. Use Disk Utility to shrink the size of your existing boot partition to just big enough to contain the existing files.
  2. Create a new partition that is only Mac OS (Journaled) and is NOT case sensitive.
  3. Backup the original drive to the new partition. I used SuperDuper! but you can use rsync.
  4. Boot holding down the Command key and select the new partition.
  5. Delete the old partition with Disk Utility and increase the size of the new one.
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There is a FUSE solution called ciopfs (case insensitive on purpose file system).

I quote:

ciopfs is a stackable or overlay linux userspace file system (implemented with fuse) which mounts a normal directory on a regular file system in case insensitive fashion.

This may be what you're looking for.

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Isn't this a kind of sandbox for dirty software to be able to run on a case sensitive filesystem? – daniel Azuelos Oct 29 '13 at 23:03
@danielAzuelos define "dirty software"... – Qix Oct 2 '15 at 8:51

It is possible to migrate a case sensitive file system onto a case insensitive file system if you don't have name like:


in which case these 2 files should be copied with the same name thus causing an overwriting. Any decent program to propose this file system migration should warn you about this name collision.

If Adobe Photoshop refuses to install on a case sensitive file system this is coming from an internal protection to avoid crashes. The truth is that Adobe Photoshop was never written to take care of the case of internal file names. This is the reason why Adobe Photoshop will never run on Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD or any other Unix.

Adobe never considered quality of software and security as serious business objectives. Their recent scandal with customers accounts is the due reward of such a bad care.

This is a shame. But… you have the freedom to pay to support them in this way.

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“Adobe never considered quality of software and security as serious business objectives.“ Oh man, I couldn't agree more to your statement. Adobe is the new Microsoft. Unfortunately they acted clever in acquiring all major competitors in their realm and I don't see that I have a choice but paying them for their bull...t. – Jpsy Dec 6 '14 at 12:58

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