I have an external usb hard drive that I used to connect on my old PC laptop. There are some files I created with the laptop on this hard drive.

Now, I can only read those files with my Mac notebook I can't write any file on the hard dirve.

How can I enable write access on my hard drive ?

2 Answers 2


You need to install 3rd-party software for this, by default OS X just support reading NTFS, not writing.

Download and install MacFUSE and NTFS-3G.


Depending on how many files you have on your external drive and how much space you have on your MacBook, you can also just copy all the files on the external drive to a temporary folder on your MacBook. Then use Disk Utility to format the drive for OS X (wont be readable by Windows machines, but will be able to use with Time Machine) or FAT32 (4GB size limit for each file). Then copy the files back to the external drive and delete the temporary folder you created on your MacBook.

  • 2
    OS X starting from 10.6.5 can also read/write/format on ExFAT. It's pretty much the same thing as FAT32 without the 4GB file limit. Mar 22, 2011 at 22:17
  • @Loic can Windows read/write/format to that as well?
    – Ryan Sharp
    Mar 22, 2011 at 22:30
  • 2
    Windows 7, at least, can. Probably also Vista and maybe XP SP3.
    – Cajunluke
    Mar 23, 2011 at 0:27
  • @CajunLuke Cool thanks, good to know. I'll probably keep at least one drive formatted in ExFAT for cross compatibility without the 4GB limit from now on.
    – Ryan Sharp
    Mar 23, 2011 at 18:08

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