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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Sep 13, 2017
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    Question Mac OS thinks NTFS drive is FAT12!
    Hello,

    When I connect one of my NTFS external drives to my MacBook Air (brand new one that I bought last week), it doesn't get mounted. When I checked Disk Utility, I saw that it was listed as a FAT12 drive (not even FAT32; but FAT12)!

    All other NTFS drives are mounted as read-only drives without problems. I also downloaded Paragon NTFS for Mac to see if that would change anything, but it didn't.

    This drive works with zero problems when I connect it to my Win10 computers.

    Can anyone help me make my Mac read the drive?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    Welcome to our forums.

    The drive may have some errors in its File Allocation Table which is causing the problem with macOS. Erase and re-format the drive with your Windows machine and then check to see if your MacBook Air will see drive correctly. Of course be sure to backup the drive first if you have data on it.

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Thank you for your response.

    I already erased and re-formatted this drive three weeks ago. Then I copied all my archived images on it. I doubt moving the images elsewhere, reformatting and moving the images back on it one more time will help.

    I also just ran chkdsk on Windows, and the no errors were found on the drive.

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've done the right things. What make and model is the drive?

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    It's a WD MyBook Essential. I have three of these (all NTFS), and my Macbook Air sees only one as FAT12.

  6. #6

    chscag's Avatar
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    I've had a lot of problems with WD MyBook drives and will not buy them any longer. Sure is a mystery why your Mac sees that particular drive as FAT-12. FAT-12 is only used on small drives. Make sure that MyBook drive does not have Western Digital software on it and you're running it clean.

  7. #7


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    It doesn't have any WD software on it. I don't know what "running it clean" means, though.

  8. #8

    Slydude's Avatar
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    I believe that "running it clean" means running it without the software that WD usually includes on their drives. Generally that software is not needed on a Mac because the functions are duplicated / delivered by other Mac software.

    BTW I assume that the drive inn question has the appropriate formatting when viewed on a Windows box?
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Yes. The drive works on several other Windows machines without any problems, shows up as a NTFS drive, and it has no WD software on it whatsoever.

  10. #10

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    Have you restarted your MBA? Next time, leave the drive connected and restart the MBA, to see if it fixes the issue. Also, an SMC, or NVRAM reset may help, read up about them to see what systems they affect.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  11. #11


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    Okay, thank you. I'll try these later today, and report back on how it goes. It's weird that I'd have to restart or reset anything on a Mac that is less than a week old, though, but if it helps me access my files, then so be it.

  12. #12

    chscag's Avatar
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    I doubt that anything is wrong with your new Mac. Like I mentioned above, I've had problems with WD MyBook external drives and even had to RMA one not too long ago. The replacement drive Western Digital sent me lasted about one week before it too crashed. I wound up throwing it in the garbage. Lately WD has had a poor track record but the same can be said for other drive manufacturers also.

    I suspect you have a WD drive that your Mac doesn't like. Just use it with your PC and keep an eye on it would be my advice.

  13. #13

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    My procedure, would be to back up everything on the drive, then format is as exFAT, this format scheme is readable and writeable by just about all PC OS versions.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

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