I’m perfectly capable of changing the oil in my truck, but I’d rather pay someone to do it. Sometimes the same holds for making a DIY system change to OS X or simply purchasing a utility to do it for you.
That came up recently when I tried to connect a NTFS-formatted external hard drive to my Mac Book Pro. I was surprised to discover that El Capitan does not fully support Microsoft’s standard format by default. My USB-connected Seagate FreeAgent drive was set to read-only. That’s a pain for anyone who moves many gigabytes of Windows and Mac files onto and off of the same portable drive. (A chore I haven’t had needed to do recently. Most of the file transfers happen over the local network.)
A bit of research on the Web turned up two options: making a change in the OS X Terminal or buying a utility that would add NTFS support. I decided to try the free option first (perhaps a result of my Scottish ancestry). The instructions are given in a TechRepublic article.
I tried them, but it did not immediately work. So I jumped to option two. (I blame my impatience on my Irish ancestors.) There are two commonly listed apps that will do the job: Paragon’s NTFS for Mac (more info) and Tuxera’s similarly named product (site). Tuxera’s version is U.S. $31; but I downloaded and installed Paragon’s app because it’s $20 and I had used it in the distant past. (Both products offer a free trial period.)
Installation was quick and easy, and after a system reboot, my Seagate drive was now read/write. I have only one complaint about Paragon; I kept getting incorrect product-key errors when I tried to validate the purchase. Turns out the printed instructions truncated the key. Fortunately, the emailed instructions had the full combination of letters and numbers. (I also had trouble closing out of the MyParagon Customer Portal dialog box.)
That brings up a final gripe. Due to printed and screen fonts, given keys should never contain certain letters. For example, is a character the number zero (0) or the capital letter “O” — it can be hard to tell. That goes also for the number one (1) and capital “I.” I wasted about 15 minutes trying different combinations, until I discovered that the key was incomplete.