How To Enable Native Read/Write NTFS for Snow Leopard

Starting from OSX 10.6 , it seems that Apple is included  read/write support for NTFS partitions. However its disabled by default (I’m not sure why they have disabled it but knowing Apple they may have silly or a solid reason to do. Remember , MMS for iPhone 2G – The hardware is capable of doing so , however they decided to drop support for MMS). In this guide , i would teach you on how to enable NTFS read/write support for Snow leopard. Its way better then using NTFS-3G or using other third party alternative as the system supports natively. Whats the catch you ask ? – Its simple , nobody knows what are the adverse effects. So far – I’ve tried with read/write support on my NTFS partitions and OSX seems to be stable and there aren’t any corruption or what-so-ever with the partition

Shall we get started. Firstly , you’ll have to fire up Terminal (You can run Terminal by clicking on Spotlight and simply type Terminal or alternatively look in Utilities folder , its located in Applications). Once you’ve it , you’ll see a command prompt. For your information , if you’re a Mac user (Hack users should be familiar with Terminal) , its the core of your system .You’re able to mess the system. So don’t blame me , I’ve warned you. First thing is first. This is done manually as in you are able to set which you want to give read/write access. There isn’t a system-wide on/off switch for all NTFS partition.

First thing is to take note of is your UUID ID. UUID is unique , it identifies your hard disk regarldess of its name , what kind of partition , how many times you’ve formatted it. Even if you make it external or internal. It would be the same. To do this type

diskutil info /Volumes/<name of the disk>

Hint : You can use auto-complete to complete the hard disk’s name for you. Just type up to /Volumes/ and then type first few letters of your NTFS Partition that you would like to get its UUID , and hit tab twice. Voila , Terminal completes for you. Its handy !

For instance , i’ve a partition which I call it as Games. So therefore its

diskutil info /Volumes/Games/

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 6.47.51 PM
Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 6.47.51 PM

You’ll see a bunch of information. Do take note of your UUID. If you don’t see your UUID , don’t worry. There is an alternative method. Now copy that

Now type

sudo nano /etc/fstab

or use

sudo vifs

Reminder : Make sure you’ve removed NTFS-3G and/or other similar tools for your Snow Leopard first. If you don’t have it installed , dont worry !

NOTE : If this is the first time that you’re using Terminal , OSX would ask you to create a root password. Just create a password , I would personally recommend you for it to match your Administrators password or your current password that you’re using. However its still up to you , if you plan to have a different root password.

WARNING : It may corrupt your NTFS partition. I’ve received a number of reports from folks saying that it corrupts NTFS Partition. Use it at your own risk !


Copy and paste this line (either one of them)

If you’ve UUID , then use this

UUID=your uuid none ntfs rw

Mine becomes “UUID=243A736A-66FD-46BC-AE67-88AC48643CB2 none ntfs rw”

If you don’t have your UUID. You may use this instead

LABEL=volume_name none ntfs rw

So in my case its “LABEL=Games none ntfs rw” (without the quotes that is). Keep in mind that its case-sensetive. Games ? GaMeS

Paste this to the first line of your fstab or write it manually. Its your call. Do make sure that it looks something like this.

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 6.58.21 PM
Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 6.58.21 PM

Hit control + K to exit and type y (or yes) to save. Voila , thats it you’re done. Simply reboot and if you’ve done it right. You’re able to copy files to your NTFS partition , rename files , remove files – just like you would do in Windows. It makes sense if you want to move files from OSX to your windows partition and move it back. This is great if you have an external USB hard disk and you want to have read/write access for it. I’ve seen a lot of Mac users in Malaysia , who still work in windows environment and they have trouble moving files across different platform as FAT32 has its own limitation and Windows wouldn’t read HFS+ partition !

Finally , credits. I would like to express it in French to my friend –

Krazubu pour toi –

Je tiens à vous exprimer notre gratitude. C’est bon eh !

In other words , I would like to thank Krazubu and the #snowleopard team for this hint.

10 thoughts on “How To Enable Native Read/Write NTFS for Snow Leopard”

  1. I have tried both the label and uuid command in the fstab. Is there any syntax that I am not doing correct (i.e. does the line need to end in a character? this is my first mac and I want to have read/write to a USB drive that is formatted with NTFS. I am a fairly competent Windows user, but as I said this is my first MAC. Please advise. I have rebooted several times and still the drive is read-only.

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