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What is the best, easiest, preferably cheapest way to make OS X write to NTFS-formatted drives in Mac OS X?

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

Updated at May 2015, with current solutions.

Free solutions

FUSE for OS X - Successor to MacFUSE

NTFS-3G
Last updated 2010, pretty much abandoned in favour of the Paid version, Tuxera, unless you want to build from source. Last version linked from http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/ntfs-3g-for-mac-os-x-2010102.html

Paid solutions

Paragon NTFS

Tuxera NTFS


MacFuse is abandonware, and hasn't been updated since 2009.

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Fuse for OS X and NTFS-3G must be installed together. Full installation is tricky on El Capitan: See my answer apple.stackexchange.com/a/213575/62697 – Cœur Oct 30 '15 at 23:26

I tested this on Mountain lion and it is free and you don't need to reboot. It uses OS X's native NTFS drivers.

  1. Plug-in your device

  2. Write in Terminal diskutil list and look for IDENTIFIER where TYPE is Windows_NTFS.

    In this case it is disk1s1

  3. Then run the following:

    diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s1
    cd /Volumes
    mkdir Elements
    sudo mount -w -t ntfs -o rw,nobrowse /dev/disk1s1 /Volumes/Elements
    open /Volumes/Elements
    
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I tried this on 10.8.4 and a 10.8 VM, but I couldn't get it to work. I got an error like Read-only file system when I for example tried to run mkdir /Volumes/HD-HCU2/aa. Is there some reason why you used nobrowse? – user495470 Jul 27 '13 at 18:57
    
You are creating the folder on wrong path. You should create the folder under /Volumes. – Codler Jul 28 '13 at 7:28
    
nobrowse are needed to make ntfs writable. – Codler Jul 28 '13 at 7:32
2  
+1, Be aware that this feature is not complete and well-tested. It's not enabled by default for some reason. Worth mentioning that the force-write-enabled driver simply damaged an NTFS volume while I was playing with it. – fardjad Oct 25 '13 at 21:52
    
So there is a capability within OS X to mount NTFS for read and write support. But this is disabled. Is there a way to do a 'defaults write' to activate this feature? – CousinCocaine Aug 5 '14 at 14:42

The simplest solution would be to use MacFUSE and NTFS-3G for MacFUSE, though as of this post only Tuxera NTFS ( ~$35 USD) and PARAGON Software NTFS for OS X v.9.0 ($19.95 USD) support 10.7. You can grab the source for free from Tuxera for free, however.

As of OS X 10.6 you can natively enable NTFS support, though your mileage may vary. Follow this writeup by Mac OS X Hints if you're interested but I'd use the MacFUSE method over this one. Keep in mind that neither of these methods are fully supported.

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1  
Just to note—I've had some problems with NTFS-3G & Lion lately, which might be because the OS X binary is a bit outdated (2010.10.2 versus 2011.4.12) – koiyu Aug 8 '11 at 17:08
    
Paragon NTFS for Mac v9 IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH LION. Double-click the package gives "The operation couldn't be completed" – user17657 Jan 24 '12 at 3:42
    
any disadvantages of using Tuxera NTFS for the new macbook pro retina ? – Render Jul 23 '12 at 13:29
    
MacFUSE got replaced by FUSE for OS X – Cœur Oct 29 '15 at 16:03

Can't say that using MacFUSE and NTFS-3G for MacFUSE is the easiest way, but they are free and that's great!:) I've used them for about a year until bought 500GB external Seagate HDD and got Paragon NTFS for Mac driver for free from Seagate site: http://www.seagate.com/support/downloads/item/ntfs-driver-for-mac-os-master-dl/. Works stable for a month, no problems happened yet. Anybody knows, will users of Seagate HDDs get free NTFS driver upgrade for new OS X when Apple will release it?

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1  
does the seagate version of paragon 14 work for drives other than seagate? – malhal Dec 30 '15 at 15:45

Before we start. Make sure your external name label is ONE word. That means there is no space in between.

my disk = WRONG

my_disk or my-disk or mydisk = CORRECT

Now

  1. Open Terminal [Command+Space+"terminal"]
  2. Type: sudo nano /etc/fstab
  3. In nano, type: LABEL=my_disk none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse Note: my_disk is your disk name
  4. To save and exit Control+X and Enter and Enter
  5. [optional] For ease of access, we create a sym-link to desktop: In terminal -> sudo ln -s /Volumes ~/Desktop/Volumes

Later

When you don't need it anymore. It is as simple as:

In terminal sudo rm /etc/fstab

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4  
Removing /etc/fstab is only an option if it doesn't contain any other important entries – patrix Jul 11 '14 at 5:03
1  
@AFwcxx, The Label can contain spaces, you just have to substitute \040 for the ' ' (space). See example in man fstab: LABEL=The\040Volume\040Name\040Is\040This none msdos ro – user3439894 Nov 10 '15 at 15:03

This answer is aimed at latest compatibility for OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

  1. Install latest osxfuse (3.x.x) from https://github.com/osxfuse/osxfuse/releases.

  2. Install latest NTFS-3G (2015.3.14) from Homebrew (http://brew.sh/).

As follow:

brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g
  1. Link NTFS-3G to boot after temporary disabling System Integrity Protection.

As follow:

[reboot by holding CMD+R to get in recovery mode]
csrutil disable
[reboot normally]
sudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.original
sudo ln -s /usr/local/sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs
[reboot by holding CMD+R to get in recovery mode]
csrutil enable
[reboot normally]
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Ok, After doing all this will the NTFS vol automatically be mounted? – Mohammed Fawzan Dec 23 '15 at 6:30
    
@MohammedFawzan Yes, that's the goal. – Cœur Dec 23 '15 at 13:56
    
I tried all the steps. still I cannot write to the volumes. :/ – Mohammed Fawzan Dec 23 '15 at 13:57
    
Be sure that the brew install homebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g was successfull (read carefully). Also if you had previous versions of osxfuse or ntfs-3G, you need to uninstall them. – Cœur Dec 23 '15 at 14:00
    
I tried to re run the command I got the following message. omebrew/fuse/ntfs-3g-2015.3.14 already installed, it's just not linked – Mohammed Fawzan Dec 23 '15 at 14:01

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