How to Write to NTFS Partition in OS X Yosemite

If you own a Mac, you will know that it doesn’t support NTFS partition natively. While you can mount and read a NTFS partition, you can’t write to it. This means that if you dual boot your Mac with Windows, you won’t be able to write and share files to the Windows partition. Luckily, Mac does come with the capability to write to NTFS. All you need to do is to activate the feature.

The following method doesn’t require you to install any third party software, but it requires you to use the terminal to add an entry for each and every NTFS drive.

1. Open Finder and check the name of the NTFS partition (or external disk) at the left pane. Write it down.

mac-finder-locate-ntfs-partition-name

2. Open the Terminal (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and type the following command:

This will open the fstab file. It should be blank by default.

3. Enter the command:

Replace DRIVE_NAME with the NTFS partition name that you wrote down earlier.

Note: If your DRIVE_NAME is made up of two words separated with a space, for example, “NO NAME”, you have to change the space to “\040”. For example, “NO\040NAME”.

mac-terminal-mount-ntfs

Press “Ctrl + o” to save and “Ctrl + x” to exit (Note that it is the “Ctrl” button, not “Command” button).

4. Unmount and remount your NTFS partition (alternatively, restart your Mac). Open your Finder; you will no longer find your NTFS partition in the left pane. Now, go to the “Go -> Go to Folder” and type in /Volumes. You should find the NTFS partition listed under the Volumes folder. Open it and you will be able to write to it now.

mac-finder-volumes-ntfs-partition

Note that this trick only applies to a single NTFS partition. If you have multiple USB disks in the NTFS format, you will have to add the entry for each USB disk to the /etc/fstab file. Alternatively, you can install third-party software to activate the NTFS write functionality system-wide.

1. Go to this website and download the NTFS driver for Mac.

2. Extract the archive and double-click to install the “NTFS.mpkg” file. After installation, it will prompt you to restart your Mac.

mac-ntfs-driver

After the restart, you will be able to write to NTFS partition.

Depending on your preferences, you might want to try any of the methods above. They will work for OS X Lion and all the way up to Mavericks and Yosemite. Do let us know which method is your favorite.

70 comments

  1. Is there any risk of this damaging my Yosemite installation? Is there a way to reverse it if one wants to? Thanks

  2. After unmounting and remounting/restarting my Mac I still have my Volume in the left pan with read only permissions. Everything is correct in my fstab file as well..

  3. The problem was the name of my external was “New Volume”. The space between words was messing it up, I renamed the drive to “WD” and it works perfect!

  4. Did everything in the fstab. after restarting my Mac i can’t seem to mount it. when i try mounting i get “One or more volume(s) failed to mount.”

    • Did you ensure that the correct device name (even the uppercase/lowercase) is entered in fstab? Also make sure that there is no space in your device name.

  5. Hi Damien, If there is no solution to Dannys problem how do I go about reversing the steps above … would be helpful to get 3TB worth of songs mounted again … even though it would be read-only. Many Thanks

    • The reverse steps is just to follow the instructions above in reverse order. Instead of adding the entry in fstab, simply remove it from fstab.

      • While installing, I got message:
        “NTFS.mpkg” can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.

        Your security preferences allow installation of only apps from the Mac App Store and identified developers.


        How should I do next?

        Thanks for your time explaining.

        L8-)

        • It might be too late, but I’ll answer anyway in case someone hás the same doubt.
          Go to Apple Menu (the Apple icon on the top left corner of tour screen), choose system preferences, then security and privacy.
          Click the padlock on the bottom left corner and type in your password to enable all the options. Choose allow … from anywhere, close system preferences to save, and try to install again.

  6. Question.. How do I rename the drive if it’s read only? Right now it’s called “my passport” so I’m having troubles that others seemed to have had but I can’t find a way to rename it.

  7. Well it doesn’t let me rename it the same way you can rename everything else. (By clicking the icon and pressing return and renaming it) but I’m now in disk utility, how do I go about renaming the read only external drive from here?

    • I used fstab method. If it works, does that mean that os x has ntfs driver by default? And also how to make an alias to the desktop folder or to add this ntfs volume to the finder’s favorite section.
      There is also an issue osx doesn’t see some folders on ntfs while linux and windows see them(this issue was also before I added ntfs volume in fstab).

  8. I used fstab method. If it works, does that mean that os x has ntfs driver by default? And also how to make an alias to the desktop folder or to add this ntfs volume to the finder’s favorite section.
    There is also an issue osx doesn’t see some folders on ntfs while linux and windows see them(this issue was also before I added ntfs volume in fstab).

  9. i also do like you, but it doesn’t work. i have 1 wd elements 1 TB, i also try it many times, but it doesn’t work. Please help me.
    i type the command: LABEL=Elements none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse.
    My mac is macbook pro retina 13”, model number A1502. Is there any problem with my mac? Thanks

    • Try the below command emily…

      LABEL=elements none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse

      You have mentioned drive name is “elements” but you have entered as “Elements”, this could be an issue…

      All the best !!!

  10. Thanks for the non-3rd party solution. I have only one NTFS partition that I primarily use and this makes it easy to access the drive without burdening my system with two more softwares/drivers.

    It would be great if you could expound on the options ‘none ntfs rw, auto, nobrowse’ in the command LABEL command.

    • Open a terminal. Type “man fstab” (without the quotes). There you’ll find the meaning of each option.

  11. Perfect! Highly recommend, going to try the second solution as well, have a couple of drives just bought online, and I want to use them wisely.

  12. I’m using 1st solution: sudo nano /etc/fstab

    It worked for a few days, but now it doesn’t. When I connect the USB, in /volumes, the drive mounts for <1 second and disappears. The drive is listed in Disk Utility, all options are disabled.

    The Disk Utility Log:
    2015-07-19 21:25:12 -0400: Disk Utility started.
    2015-07-19 21:25:26 -0400: Mount of “MyPassport” failed

    Help please!!!

      • I was hitting this exact same problem and safely unmounting from Windows solved it! Thanks a lot for posting back with the fix!

      • Thank you to Yumi Chan and Joe for the Windows “Safely Remove Tip.” My external drive was not showing up after implementing the fstab method. After plugging back into windows, safely removing using the toolbar and plugging back into Mac, the drive showed up. Not sure how I would have figured that out without reading the comments, thanks again!

  13. Thanks for this. After i hit ctrl+o it asks me something else in the bottom of the screen – file name to write /etc/fstab. It doesnt let me git cntr+x. What should I do at that point?

  14. I have been use the first option but now, i want to now how I can view my partition mounted at the left pane on my Finder ? I mean, now when I insert my usb memory with NTFS partition it doesn’t appear! tell me how can I do it please !!

  15. OMG, in the second attempt it worked thanks to Joe instructions about remove safely the driver from Windows. I can now write in my WD 2TB without any problems using the steps of Demian. Thanks for all for the great work, instructions and support. Succesfully done in Mac book air OS X YOSEMITE 10.1. Thanks again.

  16. Anyone tell me how to reverse it please? Cuz it doesn’t work for me. I may need specified steps. Thanksss!

  17. This was awesome! I will add that I tried to use the disk name Untitled, which would not work. (I thought that was the name) When I put the drive back into windows I noticed it was actually blank. I renamed it to Drive and the process worked flawlessly! Thanks so much!

  18. Here is what i found from osxdaily website, and it works!
    its about the space in name. instead of “\ ” use this “\040”
    eg. “External HDD” as “External\040HDD”

    James says:
    December 29, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Here I found an easy way to do that.

    By default Mac OS can only read NTFS, it cannot write to it.
    Follow these steps to write on your NTFS disk(tested with MAC 10.8.5).
    1. open Terminal
    2. ls /Volumes/
    you can see all available Disks name.
    3. Now I assume your external hard-disk name is “Mantosh Harddisk”.
    diskutil info /Volumes/Mantosh Harddisk
    Now you must be seeing all the info related with your disk.
    4. sudo vi /etc/fstab
    This is a system file, that’s why you need to use sudo.
    5. write the below line in this file.
    LABEL=Mantosh\040Harddisk none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
    \040 is for space in hard-disk name.
    6. Quit Terminal and Now, just unmount and re-mount the disk.

    Wait a minute, I don’t see my disk listed in the Finder window!
    As of Mountain Lion, the “nobrowse” mount option is required for this to work. This means that the partition will not show up on your desktop. However, you can access it normally through Finder by doing the following:
    Open Terminal and type “open /Volumes/THE_NAME_OF_YOUR_VOLUME” (without the quotes)
    The Finder pops up automatically and you can see your disk listed there.

    OR simply format your hard-disk to FAT file system.

  19. I tried this because my iphoto library was on an external hard disk in nfts. I can write to my external hard disk, but i still can’t open my iphoto library in photos. Still the same error message.

  20. Damien,

    I got as far as entering the “LABEL” command in /etc/fstab with
    LABEL=My\ Passport none ntfs rw,auto,no browse
    for my WD brand My Passport Ultra. (The formal device name from Finder was “My Passport”, without the “Ultra”)

    Recalling the nano to /etc/fstab, the command statement LABEL as entered above is present.

    After dismounting and remounting, the drive did show in /Volumes from Finder, Go To, and the drive did mount, according to Disk Utility. However, the “Ultra” external drive remains Read Only. Similar results after restarting the Mac.

    I am using Yosemite version 10.10.5. Did I make a mistake ?

    Paul

    As an aside, your instructions indicated “Ctrl-O” and “Ctrl-S”, which might be better distinguished in your instructions from using Command-0 and Command-S; most Mac users interpret “Ctrl-” to mean Command when reading instructions.

    • Paul, try using “\040” instead. The fstab entry would now be LABEL=My\040Passport none ntfs rw,auto,no browse.

      This is a Mac tutorial, so when I write “Ctrl”, it really means “Ctrl”, not “Command”.

  21. Damien,

    I re-entered the “LABEL” command in /etc/fstab with
    LABEL=My\040Passport none ntfs rw,auto,no browse
    for my WD brand My Passport Ultra as you suggested. However, no joy. The drive can be seen in Finder and Disk Utility, where it shows as “Not mounted”.

    Attempts in Disk Utility to mount the drive failed and attempts to Eject, of course, also failed. Turning off the Mac and a cold boot without the new drive attached and attaching it via its USB after booting also failed to mount this drive.

    Is Yosemite angry with me ?
    Any further suggestions ?

    • After fstab save the file using Ctrl+o and then hit enter button and then use Ctrl+x for exit

  22. Just a followup… I noticed that the instructions call for \040 in place of spaces but actually it is more exactly the \040 AND a space if the instructions are read more precisely. My earlier attempts for “My Passport” were:

    LABEL=My\040Passport none….. but should be

    LABEL= My\040 Passport none…. and now this drive will mount.

    That being said, I am still unable to write to this drive.

    Paul

  23. I have used the first method like 10 times the disk stops appearing at the desktop after applying the method. But doesn’t even show up in volumes folder either. What can I do about it

  24. Hi,

    After I hit ‘ctrl+o’ then return key I get an error ‘ [ Error writing /ect/fstab: No such file or directory ] ‘

    heres what I am writing above = ‘ LABEL=SAMSUNG none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse ‘

    I have tried samsung with small letters too but my drive is called ‘SAMSUNG’

    please help :)

    Thanks!

  25. After installing the NTFS driver my drive disappeared completely and I can’t even uninstall the thing! What can I do?

    • Simply run this command in terminal “open /Volume/Drive\ name” add \ as escape character before every space if there any and then see your drive :)

  26. Hey Damien,
    Thanks for help, It simply worked with single word name drive while it failed for two or more names /040 is not before but is space in system lang, then it din’t show up in quick links on left but when I ran command “open /Volumes/Drive\ Name” opened it successfully as per Dr. Sapam Chingkhei please update tutorial thanks.

  27. Hi, Damian

    So my Lacie external drive decided not to let me write anything on it after I installed Yosemite. I did try your steps above, but they didn’t work (nothing seems to have happened). Now I downloaded the NTFS driver for Mac but my computer tells me it’s incompatible with my OS and may cause the system to crash – is this a failsafe or should I take it seriously?

    Thanks!

  28. Here’s what I have for a USB drive connected to Yosemite and it works. Notice you have to do \040 instead of a space.

    LABEL=WD\040Passport none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse

  29. Hi Guys,

    The first method seemed to be working, but after I saved some files with it to my external hdd, now I can not get them back… OSX gives a message like “file still in use” and kills the copy process back to my Mac…

    Someone please help!

    This process f@cked up my backups a lot….

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