How To Read/Write Files From Windows On Mac OS X

While Apple’s Bootcamp allows users to install and dual boot Windows on their Mac, it does not allows users to exchange files between the two OS. While virtualization software such as VMware and Parallels Desktop allow file sharing and reading/writing, bootcamp doesn’t. The reason being, Windows exists as a separate partition from the primary OS X partition and its NTFS format is of different structure from the HFS+ format in OS X. While OS X can read NTFS format, it is not possible to write to it. For Windows, it can’t even recognize HFS+ format, not to mention reading and writing.

In order to get the both OS to talk to each other, external software is required.

Mediafour’s MacDrive can be used on Windows to access to the Mac drive. Installation is easy with its Windows Installer. Once installed, it will open an explorer-like window where you can drag and drop files to and from the Mac drive. Windows Vista only works with version 7 of MacDrive.

A free alternative to MacDrive is HFS+ Explorer that also allows you to access OS X partition from Windows.

On the OS X side, the real issue lies in writing to NTFS partition (since it is already able to read NTFS partition). NTFS-3G driver provides the solution to this. It is an open source, freely available read/write NTFS driver for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, NetBSD, and Haiku. It provides safe and fast handling of the Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista file systems. You will need to install MacFuse for this to work.

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