I have an NTFS external hard drive with ~300GB of data on it, and I'd like to be able to start writing to this drive without having to use any third-party software or other hacks/workarounds. I've recently purchased a second external hard drive, and so now that I finally have something that's large enough to hold all of the data from my old drive, I want to copy everything over to this new drive so that I can format the old drive to use a file system that my Macbook Pro is capable of writing to without having to use any extra tricks.

My instinct was to just copy all of the files from the old drive and paste them into the new drive, but I figured this would take a long time so I wanted to see if there was a more efficient way to do this. But then when I started looking into this, I found all this stuff about people using things like "rsync" or some different types of third-party software to transfer large amounts of data between drives, and people being worried about the transfer process failing midway through and leaving them with no easy way of figuring out where to start back up from, and all kinds of other stuff like this that made me feel anxious about this whole undertaking.

Nonetheless, I still haven't been able to come across any source that gives a definitive, bottom-line answer for what the "best" way to transfer large of amounts of data like this is, which is why I'm asking this question here now.

Essentially, all I need to know is (i) Am I safe to just copy and paste all of the files from the old drive to the new drive through Finder?, and (ii) If I'm safe to copy and paste with finder, what method should I use to transfer all of these files?

The one promising method I did come across was to use the "restore" function in disk utility, but I'm not sure this will work here given that my source drive is NTFS, so it seems like restoring my new drive from the old drive would just leave me with the same problem of now not being able to write to my new drive. Is this correct?


If you would like to copy drive A to drive B exactly you can do this with Disk Utility.

We will be using Disk Utility's restore function. Some background on the different between Restoring vs copy and pasting:

The Restore function in Disk Utility makes use of a block copy function that can speed up the copy process. It also makes an almost exact copy of the source device. When we say "almost exact," we don't mean to imply that useful data may get left behind, because that's not the case. What it means is that a block copy copies everything in a data block from one device to the other. The results are almost an exact copy of the original. A file copy, on the other hand, copies data file by file, and while the file data remains the same, the location of the file on the source and destination devices will likely be very different.

Using a block copy is faster, but it does have some limits that affect when it can be used, the most important being that copying block by block requires that both the source and destination devices be first unmounted from your Mac. This ensures that block data doesn't change during the copy process. Don’t worry, though; you don’t have to do the unmounting. Disk Utility’s Restore function takes care of that for you. But it does mean that neither the source nor the destination can be in use when you use the Restore capabilities.

Source: https://www.lifewire.com/use-disk-utility-to-clone-macs-drive-4042367


for copying all files from Device A to Device B

WARNING: When you restore one volume to another, all the files on the destination volume are erased. Before you restore a volume, copy any files on the destination volume that you want to save to a different volume.

  1. Choose View > Show All Devices.
  2. Select the volume in the sidebar you want to restore, then click the Restore button enter image description here or choose Edit > Restore.

This is the volume that is erased and becomes the exact copy. [Device B]

  1. Click the Restore pop-up menu, then choose the volume you want to copy [Device A].
  2. Click Restore, then click Done.

Source: https://support.apple.com/guide/disk-utility/restore-a-disk-dskutl14062/mac

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