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Using NTFS format on external drives

1223 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Dec 9, 2013 2:27 PM by JohnFreitag RSS
Stridr8808 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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Dec 7, 2013 5:11 PM

I have a lot of data that I need to keep on an external drive and the thought occurred to me that it would be convenient to keep this on an NTFS-formatted drive because we also use Windows PC’s and a Chromebook.   Although NTFS isn’t natively supported by Mavericks, the Paragon NTFS driver fills this gap nicely.

So I got a very large TB Western Digital My Book external that has encryption (I want my data to be encrypted, not matter what the format) and I'm putting a ton of data on it.

But of course I need to back this up.

For my backup I'm planning on using a Seagate drive in equivalent size and format it in the Mac Encrypted format. The reason for this is to have greater redundancy in software and hardware. (I’m gun-shy because some of the  Western Digital software reacted badly  to the new Mavericks OS and a bunch of people ended up losing huge amounts of data--it basically tanked their drives! )  So that's why I'm thinking of using the Mac format in the second drive.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan? Or am I seeting myself up for unanticipated problems later?

Are there any downsides you can think of to backing up the NTFS drive in Mac format? Should I keep things simple and just get another WD My Book and use in NFTS format? 

I already bought the Seagate drive, but haven’t used it yet and could still return it.


Thanks in advance!

Mac mini, OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,865 points)
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    Dec 7, 2013 5:22 PM (in response to Stridr8808)

    It was the WD software that caused the problem. That is pretty standard. For some reason, people who make hardware are notoriously bad at software. If you use WD hardware without installing any of their software, it will run fine. It is always a good idea to be very stingy about giving out your admin password to some random installer. You are thereby giving those software developers complete control over your machine and all of your data.


    The big question here is how you are going to do those backups. Time Machine prefers to have a disk that it three times the size of all of the data you are backing up. I have no idea if you can backup an NTFS drive to Time Machine. I have no idea if any of the cloning tools support that either. I don't know what kind of encryption your current My Book is using. If it is WD encryption, then that would be bad.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,865 points)
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    Dec 8, 2013 7:27 AM (in response to Stridr8808)
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,865 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 8, 2013 11:58 AM (in response to Stridr8808)

    That is just a reason to avoid installing any software that you don't absolutely require - especially if it requires an administrator password to install. That stuff physically changes your operating system. You aren't running OS X anymore, you are running some hybrid. From that point forward, you can no longer install any OS update without checking with those 3rd party software developers first. And except in rare cases, they will not begin to look at developing for a new operating system until after it is officially released. Even then, they might require that you buy their updated hardware to get an updated driver.


    I don't know about your specific case to give decent advice. It seems like a whole of needless complexity. What do you really need out of this setup? How much daily hassle do you want to accept? OS X now uses Windows-native networking as its default file sharing. Would that work?

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,250 points)
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    Dec 8, 2013 12:22 PM (in response to Stridr8808)

    Time Machine will not backup an NTFS formatted drive (from or to), the plan stops there.


    Frankly I would use HFS formatted drivers and HFS Plus for Windows so they can read it. (Paragon again)

  • JohnFreitag Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Dec 8, 2013 12:49 PM (in response to Stridr8808)

    Frankly your best bet is to set both drives up as RAID 1 using the MAC software. This will give you 100% redundancy effortlessly. In the event that either drive craps out you simply swap in a new formatted drive and let it go for about 24 hours and it will rebuild the RAID set and you are again backed. I use it for my photos (28,000 RAW) and music colection as well as documents and financial data.


    Format in the standard MAC HTFS+ system. A Wintel machine can read these disks but not write to them. In the kind of set up you discribe encription would be a hassle to say the least and you danger of data loss goes up tremendously. Just safeguard you disks.

  • JohnFreitag Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 9, 2013 2:27 PM (in response to Stridr8808)


    I use the RAID for my data. I use Time Machine to BU my Sysdisk. I additionally back both to a portable drive using Super Duper on a weekly basis. After each BU I disconnect and store the drive in a safe place.


    Over the top? Maybe, but safe.


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