3 Replies Latest reply: May 28, 2010 8:32 PM by Fortuny
Moon-Lilly Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello ,
I was wondering if someone had a little knowledge on why my Maxtor external hard drive is 'read only' when I plug it in, and won't let me change it under permissions - unless I am doing something wrong?

Could this hard drive be specifically for windows(?) or is this just a general problem with external hard drives or any external devices?

Thanks
Sam.

Macbook, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • 1. Re: External Hard drive - Read Only?
    Fortuny Level 7 Level 7 (21,415 points)
    Hi Sam,

    most likely that external harddisk uses the NT File System (NTFS).
    Do a right-click on the drive icon - Get Information to verify.

    While mac OSX can read from NTFS harddisks it cannot write to it without additional help.
    NTFS-3G http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/ is such a helper and it is free to use.
    Others like Paragon NTFS for Mac or Tuxera NTFS for Mac cost money.

    Depending on your useage and what you already have on the external HD you might consider another solution.
    If you only use this external HD with your Mac and not with a Windows PC, you can reformat/repartition the external HD to use the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system which is the default file system for Macs.

    Be aware that reformating erases everything that is on that HD right now.

    Hope it helps

    Stefan
  • 2. Re: External Hard drive - Read Only?
    Moon-Lilly Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello,
    Thanks so much for your help. I'm kind of a bit confused , but I'll have a read at the link you sent!

    My external hard drive was originally on my old PC , but then I got the mac...but I'd like to use it to store files from both computers , is that actually possible?
  • 3. Re: External Hard drive - Read Only?
    Fortuny Level 7 Level 7 (21,415 points)
    Hi,

    Moon-Lilly wrote:
    Hello,
    Thanks so much for your help. I'm kind of a bit confused , but I'll have a read at the link you sent!


    The different file systems used by different computers can be confusing

    Windows PC usually use of the following file system:
    FAT32 (the older one) which Mac OSX can read and write without additional helper tools.
    FAT32 however has a built-in single-file size limitation of 4GB.

    NTFS (the newer and better one) which OSX can read itself, but needs a helper tool to write to it.

    Mac OSX usually uses MacOS Extended (Journaled) as file system.
    Windows PC can not handle this file system at all and usually don't even recognize harddisks that use this file system.
    There is MacDrive http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive/ that enables Windows PC to read and write the MacOS file system.

    My external hard drive was originally on my old PC , but then I got the mac...but I'd like to use it to store files from both computers , is that actually possible?


    Like said, keep the external HD at using NTFS and install NTFS-3G in OSX to enable full access to it from OSX.
    Windows PCs can use your external HD with NTFS fully.

    Hope it helps

    Stefan