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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Can't save to external HDD
    I used my Freecom external hard drive with no problems on Windows. I used it straight out of the box, with no formatting. Since switching to Mac, however, I'm no longer allowed to save files. I keep getting a 'read only' message or a suggestion to make sure the drive isn't 'write-protected' or full (no chance at 500Gb).

    Can anyone help please?

  2. #2

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    is it formatted NTFS?
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  3. #3

    Ekim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philipdru View Post
    I used my Freecom external hard drive with no problems on Windows. I used it straight out of the box, with no formatting. Since switching to Mac, however, I'm no longer allowed to save files. I keep getting a 'read only' message or a suggestion to make sure the drive isn't 'write-protected' or full (no chance at 500Gb).

    Can anyone help please?
    Your external is most likely formatted with the file system known as NFTS. That is a windows filing system, and although OS X can read the files, it is unable to write to it. What you will have to do (if you want to use your mac to write to it), find somewhere to store the files on your external temporarily and format it with either FAT32 (not ideal) or HFS+ (os x filing structure). Until you do this you will be unable to write to that hard drive using your mac.

    Sorry bro =/

  4. #4

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Ekim is correct, up to a point.

    You can write to NTFS with the addition of either NTFS 3g (free, but can be a pain) or Paragon's NTFS for Mac (not free, but on sale for $20 right now instead of $40... well worth the $20 imho).
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  5. #5

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    That all being said, has anyone actually seen an external drive formatted NTFS out of the box? Everyone I've seen has been FAT32.
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekim View Post
    Your external is most likely formatted with the file system known as NFTS. That is a windows filing system, and although OS X can read the files, it is unable to write to it. What you will have to do (if you want to use your mac to write to it), find somewhere to store the files on your external temporarily and format it with either FAT32 (not ideal) or HFS+ (os x filing structure). Until you do this you will be unable to write to that hard drive using your mac.

    Sorry bro =/
    Is it formatted NTFS? - Mike
    No idea Mike. As I say I used it straight out of the box. I'd heard some discussion about the necessity of formatting with NTFS so my (probably mistaken) understanding was that Freecom sell them unformatted, leaving it to the buyer to do the rest.

    Ekim - yes, I suspect you're right. Are there any plans for across the board compatibility - you know, being able to write Mac files to NTFS and vice versa?

    Thanks for the advice lads. Much appreciated.

  7. #7

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Typically not here in the U.S., but there are some formatted NTFS out of the box - particularly some of those marketed as media drives.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  8. #8

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    Well, either issuing a quick mount command in terminal, or looking in disk utility (drive must be connected either way) will let you know..

    Code:
    mikeMbp:~ mike$ mount
    /dev/disk0s2 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
    devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
    map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
    map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
    the first column in the parens indicates the filesystem type

    BTW, I don't believe you'll ever see apple support NTFS out of the box, nor Windows support HFS+ out of the box. There are third party apps for both though
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    I have most files backed up on DVD. If I reformat the external to HFS+ can I then transfer the Window files from DVD to hard disk and be able to write to them?

  10. #10

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    Windows can't read or write HFS+... but both will happily read and write FAT32, which would be (and to be honest is) my choice for external drives (except for time machine and super duper backup purposes).. but yes, you could do that and transfer from your Mac...
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  11. #11

    Ekim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philipdru View Post
    I have most files backed up on DVD. If I reformat the external to HFS+ can I then transfer the Window files from DVD to hard disk and be able to write to them?
    Yes you'll be able to rip them to your external.. but depending on what file types they are you wont be able to read them without the proper software... for example, if you have .docs saved you wont be able to read them without office 08 or open office.

  12. #12


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekim View Post
    Yes you'll be able to rip them to your external.. but depending on what file types they are you wont be able to read them without the proper software... for example, if you have .docs saved you wont be able to read them without office 08 or open office.
    Mostly they're text files. I usually save as rich text format (RTF). There are picture files (JPG, GIF etc.) and some video and audio files (Google video, flash, mpg).

    I never expected this sort of bother when I first thought about switching. All that interested me was the improved security after three runs on my bank account.

    I hear FAT32 is unstable but if it can be used as a bridge between the two OS maybe I should use that instead.

  13. #13

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    I'm curious about the instability comment. I suppose that FAT32 is somewhat less robust than NTFS, but what sort of stability are you concerned about on an external drive? The same can be said about security, while I understand the additional security levels of NTFS, they can all be bypassed quite easily on an external drive
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  14. #14

    Ekim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philipdru View Post
    Mostly they're text files. I usually save as rich text format (RTF). There are picture files (JPG, GIF etc.) and some video and audio files (Google video, flash, mpg).

    I never expected this sort of bother when I first thought about switching. All that interested me was the improved security after three runs on my bank account.

    I hear FAT32 is unstable but if it can be used as a bridge between the two OS maybe I should use that instead.
    I wouldnt advise using FAT32.. plus if you have any files >4gb you wont be able to save them. If you're truly worried about interoperability in regards to filing run a virtual NAT server when you're doing file transfers.

  15. #15


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dysfunction View Post
    I'm curious about the instability comment. I suppose that FAT32 is somewhat less robust than NTFS, but what sort of stability are you concerned about on an external drive? The same can be said about security, while I understand the additional security levels of NTFS, they can all be bypassed quite easily on an external drive
    You understand more than me! I'm a computer boob and a Mac newbie all rolled into one. Indeed really I'm just parroting what I've heard. I dare say most of it comes courtesy of Redmond during the period when they were justifying the switch to NTFS, which is a few years back now. Is there any (free) software available that will allow me to reformat using FAT32? I rather thought the file system would have disappeared from the scene altogether by now.

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