Skip navigation

How to format external drive as NTFS?

5080 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2011 5:24 PM by Allan Eckert RSS
sridvijay Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 21, 2010 4:10 PM
I have a lot of files on my mac, and my external drive is formatted in FAT32. I can't put files larger the 4 GB on there. How can I format the drive as NTFS? All help appreciated!
Macbook Pro 13" 2.26 Ghz 2 GB RAM and iPod Touch 2G 8GB and iPad 16 GB WiFi, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (234,450 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2010 4:24 PM (in response to sridvijay)
    This can't be done from Mac OS X. Use Windows to format the drive; if you won't be using the drive with Windows, format it as Mac OS Extended instead.

    iMac Late 2007 Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Kurt Lang Level 7 Level 7 (31,485 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2010 4:47 PM (in response to sridvijay)
    Also note that even if you do use a Windows computer to format the drive as NTFS and then put it back in your Mac, you can't write to it without installing third party software. As installed, OS X can only read NTFS.

    As Niel noted, Mac OS Extended is the best choice, as long as there's no reason for the drive to be accessible from a Windows computer. If it must be NTFS, then you have these choices for the Mac to enable write access.

    A commercial product is Paragon NTFS for Mac.

    There are now two versions of the open source NTFS-3G software for OS X. NTFS-3G is the free version, which only works with the 32 bit boot kernel. This version also requires installing MacFUSE. A separate component needed for the free NTFS-3G software.

    Tuxera, which provides the funding for the free NTFS-3G has their own paid version. Tuxera NTFS for Mac. This version supports both 32 and 64 bit boot kernels. But NOT the newer 64 bit only kernel of some newer Macs. Tuxera's version eliminates the need for the separate MacFUSE installation, and is faster at accessing NTFS drives.

    Edit: Checking Tuxera's site, it looks like they've fixed the issue with the newer Macs which will only boot 64 bit. The note they had on their site at one time about it not working seems to be gone.
    Mac Pro 8 core Xeon, 14GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Creo Eversmart Supreme II, Epson Stylus Pro 4000
  • Burn65 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2011 5:01 PM (in response to sridvijay)
    what if you used the free NTFS-3G driver off the apple site? can you format a drive with this? can seem to find the answer. the driver will allow you to read and write to an ntfs formatted drive

    G4 450Mhz; 17" PowerBook 1.5 Ghz OS10.4.10; iMac 24" Alm 2.4Ghz OS10.5.2, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Allan Eckert Level 8 Level 8 (39,345 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2011 5:24 PM (in response to sridvijay)
    My suggestion is instead of messing around with either FAT or NTFS format the drive as HFS+.

    If you need an external for a PC then get another drive format one for the PC and the other one as HFS+ for the Mac.

    It is a much better to have the drive formatted for the platform that is going to use it rather then attempting to use one format for both a PC and a Mac. Drive today are to cheap to both with using one for both a PC and a Mac
    MacBook Pro, Mac Pro,, Mac OS X (10.6.6), 3.5 TB, iPhone 4, Nikon N80, D70 and D300 Nikon Coolscan 5000ED


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.