How To

How to write to NTFS Drives in macOS High Sierra

How to Write to NTFS Drive in macOS High Sierra
Written by John

The macOS High Sierra is here with us and it is packed with even more features than ever before. Accessing files and folders is easier on this new OS from Apple. But there is a concern that is at the back of the mind of Mac users when it comes to handling drives on the macOS High Sierra 10.13. Can Mac read and write NTFS? The answer to this is very important because there are times when one will need to create folders, save files to and perform other write activities on Windows NTFS formatted drives. Will this operating system allow you to write to ntfs drives?

Natively, the macOS High Sierra will be able to read NTFS formatted drives but it will not be able to write to NTFS Drive. This is not to mean that it is impossible to use NTFS drive on Mac. It can be done successfully by using various means that allow write to NTFS drive in macOS High Sierra. By using either of these methods users of this operating system will be able to access files stored on NTFS files and add more, edit them and perform other activities.

What are these ways that allow users to use NTFS on Mac?

Third Party NTFS Drivers

These are drivers developed by companies other than Apple and NTFS drive makers. There is quite a number of such drivers that people can use to enable mac writing to NTFS. The best of these drivers come at a fee but for the service they offer they are worth the money. What are the options that you have?

Paragon NTFS for Mac

Paragon NTFS for Mac, with this you will be able to write to NTFS drive as well as read from them on your macOS High Sierra. You will be able to make as many changes to the drive as you wish. It gives you full control over any NTFS drive that you will plug into the computer. What is even more impressive about the Paragon NTFS 15 for macOS 10.13 is the speed at which it enables users to access to the NTFS drive. To give you a hint of what you can expect, the speed when using the NTFS drive with Paragon rivals that of the native HTS+ formatted drives.

NTFS for Mac Menu

This driver is very easy to install. Once it is in the computer it will allow the users to transfer files easily from Windows PC to the Mac and vice versa. This means that with this you will be able to read and write NTFS formatted drives.

The Paragon NTFS 15 for Mac is sold at $19.95 with a 10-day free trial. Be the first to go to the Paragon NTFS Page.

Using the Terminal in macOS High Sierra

macOS High Sierra users can turn NTFS write on in the settings that can be accessed via the Terminal. This feature is off by default but it can be switched on. To warn you, this is not an easy thing to do and it is not always successful. If you would like to give it a try, follow the steps below:

1. Insert the NTFS drive and ensure it has a single word name (ex: drive).

2. To launch the Terminal you can either; go to Applications then Utilities then click on Terminal or press the Command and Space keys on the keyboard simultaneously then type Terminal and then press enter.

Open Terminal in macOS High Sierra

3. Once the terminal is open, type in the command below:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Press Enter and then type in the command below (replace NAME with the NTFS Drive name)

LABEL=NAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse

4. Press Ctrl + O to save the file. Close the GNU by pressing Ctrl + X.

5. Unplug the drive and then reconnect it. To access the drive with write capabilities open it by clicking on “Go” than the “Go To folder”. When this is open type “/volumes” in the box.

Go To Folder on macOS

To reverse these changes, one needs to go to the Terminal again and delete the lines added to the nano editor.

Change the drive format from NTFS to exFAT

ExFAT is a kind of drive formatting that is neither default in Windows nor Mac but it is supported by both platforms. macOS High Sierra will be able to read and write the drive in this formatting and so will Windows.

How can you change a drive from NTFS to exFAT formatting? Follow these steps:

1. Open disk utility.

Change the Drive’s formatting to exFAT

2. Select the drive to change formatting. Select the erase tab and choose the EXFAT option in the drop down box. Click on Erase.

This drive can now be used to transfer files from a Mac running on macOS High Sierra to any Windows PC and vice versa.

Choose any of the three methods and you will be able to enable mac writing to NTFS. However, the last two can fail and require too much work. The easiest, most reliable and best way to write to NTFS drive in macOS High Sierra is by using third party software.

10 Comments

  • I need help. I tried doing the command, then the drive kept connecting and disconnecting. Now it won’t detect. My drive detects fine on my Windows PC. What can I do?

  • For those using the terminal, you can create a shortcut in the desktop to the /Volumes/ folder. You can do it in the terminal.

  • It works, but since High Sierra for some reason I have some issues with some files: they appear grey as if they were being copied, and cannot be used.

      • So I’m referring to the fstab trick that worked like a charm before High Sierra. Now, some files seem to have their permissions messed up. Finder recognizes them as busy with something else. For some zip files for instance, when I try to open them (so by default Archive utility is used), nothing happens. When I use another program, The Unarchiver, I have an error message “not possible, used by MacOS”. When I try to copy back the files on my internal hard drives, an error message reads “the file is busy with another program, that will probably cause a problem, continue?” When I click yes, it looks like it is being copied, but nothing appears in the destination folder…I talked with a Senior Mac advisor, he told me that might be due to the fact that High Sierra involves a new format for the flash drives (e.g., my internal drive), i.e., APFS.

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