I have a "new" 2gb Seagate external hdd. I used it to copy files off of my old Macbook pro, circa 2014, which worked fine.

I just plugged in the drive into my new Macbook pro, circa 2018. I can read files off the external drive. However, I can't copy files onto the drive from the new Macbook. I grabbed my friend's Macbook (circa 2014 so same model as my old laptop) and same issue, I can read files from the external drive but I can't copy files onto the drive. I don't have my old laptop anymore so I can't try to copy things to it.

I plugged the hdd into a Windows 7 laptop, and I'm able to copy files onto the drive, create a new folder, etc.

I found several links that said I need to reformat the hdd to make it usable with my Macbook but it makes no sense since my old Macbook was able to read/write to the drive without being reformatted but now with any other Macbook, it doesn't allow me to write, only read.

What happened? How come I can only read files from the hdd from any new Macbooks but a Windows laptop I can read and write? Why does it seem like the drive is married to my old Macbook? If it is married to it, how to I break this bond so I can use it with my new Macbook?

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    If the drive is NTFS MacOS default is read/only. You probably have installed a driver at one time that provide read/write. Frequently came with harddisks. Feb 13, 2019 at 23:39
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    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen, if you make this comment an answer, i'll upvote and accept. I don't have the drive on me to test right now but I remember the Paragon NTFS for Mac program on my old laptop. I'm willing to bet you're right.
    – Classified
    Feb 14, 2019 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


If the drive is NTFS the MacOS default driver is read/only.

You probably have installed a driver at one time on your old system that provide read/write.

Such a driver frequently come with external harddisks. I have personally found this preloaded on recently purchased Seagate drives formatted as NTFS, but that only supported Seagate drives. Paragon sells the full driver from https://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/ (they also have for other filesystems).

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