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I just got a Macbook Pro for my parents, and I need to get their files from a Linux desktop machine that most likely has either reiserfs or ext3 file systems.

I would like to know if Snow Leopard can read these files if I put the HDD in an external HDD case??


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OS X definitely can't read FreeBSD UFS file systems. – Owen Feb 8 '11 at 15:28
The question text does not match the question title. – Mark Feb 8 '11 at 16:53
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It might be easier to connect the machines on a network and use rsync, nfs or ftp to copy data, no extra software would be needed.

If you want to do this you will need MacFuse which allows OSX to read other file systems. A tutorial for ext3 is on this blog.

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Thanks. I'll try the network option this coming weekend. – fnord_ix Feb 8 '11 at 19:17

If you are planning on doing this a lot, there are commecial packages too:

There is a free alternatives also though through MacFuse/FUSE:

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Mac OS X can read (but not necessarily write):

  • HFS+ (Mac OS X default format, in plain, journaled, case-sensitive, or journaled/case-sensitive varieties)
  • NTFS (but not write, by default)
  • FAT (32 and 64 as seen in Christian Correa's comment)

I would expect it can read but I haven't tested it:

  • HFS (the older Mac OS file system [Hierarchical File System])
  • UFS (Unix File System; older versions of OS X could format and be installed on UFS partitions)

I know for a fact that OS X will not read:

  • ReiserFS
  • ext* (any of the various versions of the ext Linux file system)
  • just about anything else

Check out the Mac OS X column at the incredibly complete Wikipedia article comparing file systems.

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Disk Utility can format a new hard drive using the following formats:

  • Mac OS X format
  • Mac OS X format (Journaled)
  • FAT32 (MS-DOS)
  • FAT64, also known as exFAT

I believe those would be the same file systems that the operating system can read.

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