I have an old Macbook Pro on which I'd like to try Mavericks. Before doing so I want to make a back-up of my current Mac OS X install (10.6.8).

I will use the disk utility option (and not the time machine option), as outlined here, since I already have a 1TB NTFS disk, that I use for other back-ups as well. However, NTFS is mounted read-only, by default. Since I don't feel like creating a FAT partition on this disk, nor feel like purchasing another HDD (because 1TB is more than enough for my back-up needs) I want to mount the disk writable.

Now, I know I should be able to mount NTFS drives by tinkering with /etc/fstab. However, I assume that /etc/fstab will not be read when booting from the install disk. Is that correct?

If so, my question is: can I mount an external NTFS drive as writable when running the install DVD?

1 Answer 1


I figured it out:

I opened a terminal window and executed mount_ntfs similar to this:

mount_ntfs -s -o rw /dev/diskXsY /Volumes/SomeMountDirectory


  1. -o rw is the crucial part and means use the readwrite option;
  2. -s means mount case sensitive;
  3. /dev/diskXsY represents the actual partition to mount (in my case /dev/disk8s5);
  4. /Volumes/SomeMountDirectory represents the mount point.
  • This may let you copy files to NTFS (with loss of some info e.g. file owner etc) BUT it won't let you restore OSX
    – Milliways
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 4:31
  • I've created a complete .dmg disk copy of Macintosh HD on that NTFS disk. That should be sufficient to completely restore from, shouldn't it? Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 4:39

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