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  1. #1


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    Why is my hard drive read only on one mac?
    Basically I have a problem and after trying to do some research of my own I still have not found a solution.

    I have a WD 500gb external hard drive. The problem is that its read and write on one of my Macbook's but only read only on the other. I just don't understand why?! The format is 'NTFS-3g (MacFUSE)'.
    On the one of the Macbook's it works, the sharing permissions are 'you have custom access' the other will say 'read only'

    If anyone could give me an idea of what to do. Or if necessary how to back the WD hard drive on to my 1TB so I can re-format it that would be great.

  2. #2

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jake1357 View Post
    Basically I have a problem and after trying to do some research of my own I still have not found a solution.

    I have a WD 500gb external hard drive. The problem is that its read and write on one of my Macbook's but only read only on the other. I just don't understand why?! The format is 'NTFS-3g (MacFUSE)'.
    On the one of the Macbook's it works, the sharing permissions are 'you have custom access' the other will say 'read only'

    If anyone could give me an idea of what to do. Or if necessary how to back the WD hard drive on to my 1TB so I can re-format it that would be great.
    NTFS is a Windows format and is not read/write compatible with Macs without 3rd Party Software.

    The easiest answer IMO if you don't need Windows compatibility, providing you have space on your 1TB drive is to drag the external to it to copy it, then reformat your external to Mac OS Extended Journaled.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  3. #3

    vansmith's Avatar
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    It would seem that NTFS read/write support has been added to your MacBook (OS X, by default, doesn't have r/w support for NTFS). This would explain why you can write to it from the MB and not from another Mac.

    Do you plan on using this HD with Windows or another operating system? If so, it might be easier to do as you suggested - back the drive up and format it as "FAT."
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  4. #4


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    Yeah I wasn't sure if it was because the Macbook it does not work on has 10.5 and the one it does work with has 10.6. If that has anything to do with it, I don't recall installing any sort of NTFS support on my mac but I may have at some point in the past.

    I would prefer if it was compatible with both windows and mac. What exactly can I download to the mac so it will support NTFS?

  5. #5


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    Macfuse?? I think this may have been what I installed.

  6. #6

    vansmith's Avatar
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    It's probably easier to format the drive as FAT - no need to install software and you get full Windows and OS X support. The only limitation with FAT is that it can't handle files larger than 4GB (which probably isn't going to be an issue).

    As noted, backup the drive and format it using Disk Utility.
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  7. #7


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    Alright I will probably do that when I have a bit more time. For the short-term I downloaded and installed NFTS-3G and Macfuse. It now allows me to read & write on the other Mac.

    Thanks for your replies. Appreciate it.

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