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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

NTFS for Mac not working


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pincrete

 
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Hi, I've tried various solutions (Paragon, -3G) to get my Macbook Pro to read/write to external USB NTFS disks, about the best seems to be Paragon, however it's functioning seems random, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

It almost always seems to work if the disk is inserted at start up, but usually comes up as 'read only' if the same disk is ejected and then re-inserted.

I have one large NTFS flash drive which seems to work all the time, but external hard disks (mostly 1Tb, if that is relevant), usually are not writable unless present at start-up (which destroys the convenience of plugging/unplugging disks).

I need to be able to move large files from Mac to PCs (XP 32 & 64 bit), and occasionally to a Power PC (though read only is ok there).

I am also trying the other route of getting the PCs to recognise Apple, but that is also problematic.

Anyone any ideas as to why the Paragon doesn't work reliably?

btw I am using OS 10.7.5 Lion.

Thanks in advance!
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Lifeisabeach

 
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I'm not sure why you are having issues. There is a possibility the drives are failing. I've also read that NTFS doesn't work reliably on USB drives in particular, but is generally OK for firewire drives. The particulars of why this is escape me. Anyway, the better way to go about this is use exFAT instead of NTFS. It is supported natively in OS X Lion and Windows XP (service pack 2) and onwards.

EDIT: As a side note... if you aren't "ejecting" (unmounting) your external drives properly before unplugging them, then that is very much a part of the problem. If I recall correctly now that I think about it, improperly disconnecting in this manner is more problematic on USB drives vs Firewire.


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Was about to say I have not experienced the issue and been using Paragon since '07.
After reading the above, thought about it - all my NTFS externals are connected via FW.
Have never yet purchased a USB only hard drive.
Might give it a go at some point with USB 3 though.

We've got quite a few others here that use Paragon... let's see if they have anything to report.

Was going to suggest Paragon's forum, but the forum appears to be pretty worthless.
Better to submit a ticket to their tech support.

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As far as I'm aware, there is no problem with Paragon NTFS and USB 2 only drives. The driver works regardless of whether the target is a flash drive or a large external drive. There is a possibility the OP is not properly ejecting the drive (as lifeisabeach pointed out) which will eventually cause data corruption.
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
As far as I'm aware, there is no problem with Paragon NTFS and USB 2 only drives. The driver works regardless of whether the target is a flash drive or a large external drive. There is a possibility the OP is not properly ejecting the drive (as lifeisabeach pointed out) which will eventually cause data corruption.
Right. The problem that I had in mind was potential data corruption when prematurely unplugging a drive. USB is apparently far more prone to that happening than Firewire, and NTFS is apparently more vulnerable to this than FAT (oddly enough). I dug up an article that touches on this briefly.

What is the proper way to safely unplug USB drives? - usbdrive unmount unplugging | Ask MetaFilter


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pincrete

 
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Reply to all!
I am ordinarily being careful to eject disks properly (except for very occasionally tripping over a cable) and the drives are all fairly new (therefore unlikely to be failing).

The reason I was avoiding ex-fat is that I read that it is more liable to data loss (I believe because it doesn't keep a copy of directory info), also since not all PCs can read ex-fat, it rather spoils the 'cross-platform' capabilities of NTFS.

It seems to be commonly said that Firewire NTFS is less problematic than USB NTFS, however it's too late for me to change all my hard drives and I would also then need to have Firewire on all the PCs (as would anyone to whom I want to lend the HDDs).

Thanks to those who replied .... in the last resort I simply have to restart to make a disk writable, though that of course is a gigantic pain.
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I don't think you mentioned which version of Paragon NTFS you are running. In any event, I agree with chscag that you should open a support ticket with Paragon. In the meanwhile, you should try some basic maintenance. Download Onyx and run its full suite of maintenance and cleaning tools. Also reinstall Paragon NTFS. Make sure the version you are running is fully updated and compatible with Lion.


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pincrete

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
I don't think you mentioned which version of Paragon NTFS you are running. In any event, I agree with chscag that you should open a support ticket with Paragon. In the meanwhile, you should try some basic maintenance. Download Onyx and run its full suite of maintenance and cleaning tools. Also reinstall Paragon NTFS. Make sure the version you are running is fully updated and compatible with Lion.
I am running the most recent (I can't find the version number but it was downloaded from the company only a few days ago and says it's good for 10.7- which I'm running - also for 10.8), and yes I am opening an account with Paragon to see if they can advise on a solution .... I'll try to find out about Onyx and see if that helps.

Paul
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pincrete

 
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Thanks to all, especially lifeisabeach (and then your computer dries?) .... it turns out that you were all right. After a great deal of moving data around, reformatting several disks to NTFS, it turns out that it was only one specific disc which consistently presented a problem, (it is older than the others but still relatively new).

Despite being reformatted, that drive continued the behaviour of mounting as read/write if present at startup, but read only if inserted later.

However I have discovered a work-round for the problem disk which APPEARS at present to solve the problem without the need for constant restarts.

My solution is, mount the disk normally (it mounts as read only) ...... eject the disk from the desktop, BUT DO NOT UNPLUG IT ....... then remount the disk from disk utility (selecting the disk & using the mount button). The problem disk then re-mounts as read/write.

I post this as it may offer a solution to someone else having problems with writable NTFS disks.

btw Paragon Support replied, but were unable to shed any light on the problem. I think this shows that Paragon does work, but is sensitive to any fault or oddity in the disk it is mounting.
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We appreciate the update. It always helps to know what the end result was. With your drive clearly "acting up", you really should look at replacing it, or at least testing it more thoroughly. Chances are that it is failing, and you don't want it to bite the dust at an inopportune time. If you want to test it more thoroughly, there are a couple ways to do it.

The first way, and the cheapest, is to use a SMART monitoring tool to see what the drive's self-diagnostic tests show. Normally, SMART monitoring isn't supported on external drives, but OS-X-SAT-SMART-Driver (an open source package) can enable this for some external drives. So... install that, then use a SMART monitoring tool like DriveDx (my personal favorite at this time), SMART Utility, or SMARTReporter to check on the drive health. These all have free trials. You may need to run a "long" (aka "full") self-test, which takes a few hours. Bear in mind that the drive may not be supported despite the SAT SMART Driver.

The other way to do it is use a tool that can do a surface scan to check for bad blocks. TechTool Pro is probably the best one available for OS X, but it is not cheap. Drive Genius is another alternative, but again... not cheap. However, a surface scan will be definitive on the health of the drive and these utilities all have other features that may be desirable or come in handy one day. I had a Seagate GoFlex external drive that was acting weird, and a surface scan proved it had massive numbers of bad blocks. In fact, I've been testing another drive since last night for a relative who was having trouble with her external drive and I'm finding large numbers of bad blocks.

A little tip worth adding... I often see TechTool Pro in bundles offered by MacUpdate and others for a fraction of what TTP costs on its own ($100). I picked it up myself for something like $30 along with other software in the bundle.

If a surface scan proves that the drive itself is ok, then there is also the possibility that the controller in the enclosure itself is faulty. In that case, you can always try removing the drive and trying another enclosure. For Seagate's GoFlex line, there is no controller in the enclosure itself. The dock is the controller.


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Thanks ofr the mention of the other tools Van. I have Drive Genius and in the last few days it has started throwing up bad block errors on the boot drive. A routine verification shows no errors with either Drive Genius or Disk Utility. S.M.A.R.t status is showing as verified so I will be running a full scan latter and one of the other SMART tools may prove useful.

Glad to know that SMART testing of externals is sometimes possible. I've got a couple of older drives I need to check. I bet the enclosure that I swap them into does not support it though. They never show SMART status in Disk Utility.

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pincrete

 
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Thanks again to lifeisabeach, just to let you know that DriveDX showed no errors EXCEPT a slightly slow spin up speed ... perhaps that is the root cause of the anomaly and perhaps explains why REMOUNTING works.

Incidentally, the trial DriveDX includes links to drivers for testing external drives (Drivers SAT?) which worked for me .... Smartontools proved inaccessible (overloaded source?)

The disk itself is 12mm therefore difficult to move into a new enclosure (the enclosure incidentally was bought separately from the drive) .... the hard drive is relatively new (15 months and little used), but it was slightly 'end of line' at the time of purchase.

I'm going to do a full surface scan overnight, I did a partial one earlier which revealed no errors.

However I think that probably, if the 'double mount' solution proves to be stable, I can live with that inconvenience on this one drive ... the others behave perfectly.
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Thanks ofr the mention of the other tools Van.
Van? *sigh* Fine fine... I'll change my avatar. LOL!


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Originally Posted by pincrete View Post
Incidentally, the trial DriveDX includes links to drivers for testing external drives (Drivers SAT?) which worked for me .... Smartontools proved inaccessible (overloaded source?)
I just realized a MAJOR goof on my part in the link I provided. Smartmontools isn't the driver for adding support to some external drives. It's the open source software that the other tools (SMART Utility, etc) are built on. The correct driver for adding support to monitor external drives is OS-X-SAT-SMART-Driver. Sorry about the mixup!


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Van? *sigh* Fine fine... I'll change my avatar. LOL!
Like that one better anyway - puts it in line with my kid watching cartoons timeline. I don't even know who that other one is.

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