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External hard drive has become read only

by NewToMacAus / January 2, 2009 5:39 AM PST

I have recently entered the world of Mac and are having difficulty with the storage for my music.

On my PC I was operating iTunes via an external hard drive without any difficulty. On my new Mac I am wanting to operate in the same way but once having set up the new iTunes to read the Music folder on my external hard drive, it has turned the external hard drive into a read only drive, not allowing me to add any more music.

The option to make to read/write in the sharing and permissions information area is not available.

Any thoughts how I am able to make the external drive read/write again and allow more music to be added?

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My guess is that the external drive
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 2, 2009 6:33 AM PST

is formatted as NTFS.
HFS+(Journaled) (OS X) can Read NTFS but cannot write to it.
NTFS cannot read or write to HFS+

Your choice, if you no longer have the PC sharing from that drive, is to archive your music library and format the drive as HFS+. On completion, replace the music library.


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External Maxtor USB Drive used on MAC AND Windows pc
by geoff_fowler / February 20, 2009 8:19 AM PST

I have a similar problem, with an added complication in that I use my new MACBook Pro at home on files pulled from my portable Maxtor drive but need to save them back onto the portable drive to access them on my work windows XP machine. I have got around this by uploading the file to my internet fileserver (mydocsonline) then downloading the file onto my Windows machine. Bit longwinded, I would like an easier way like direct saving to the Maxtor drive.

Geoff (MAC neewbie)

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 20, 2009 9:16 AM PST

There are a number of utilities that will allow the Mac to read from, and write to, an NTFS formatted disk.

Format the external as NTFS, install the software on the Mac, and you are good to go.


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External Maxtor USB Drive used on MAC AND Windows pc
by geoff_fowler / February 20, 2009 5:30 PM PST
In reply to: Reading

Thanks, which programs would you suggest?


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Reading NTFS on OS X
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 20, 2009 10:39 PM PST

Take a look at:

This one
This one

The first one is a paid, commercial, product while the second one is an open-source product which is free.

Try the second one first to see how it suits you.


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by sturner--2008 / January 20, 2011 10:22 PM PST
In reply to: Reading NTFS on OS X

Depending on your domfort with installing programs that aren't turnkey, the second method works nicely. If you aren't comfortable with it then the use of the commercial program will work nicely. I use the one mentioned by mrmacfixit, and have had absolutely no problems with it. It's easy to install, works seamlessly, and lets me work with my large files going back and forth between my portable drive.

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External hard drive has become read only
by willorox / January 20, 2011 9:30 AM PST

hi i have seen your problem and like so have the same problem the fastest way i have seen is to use a memory stick with a high data capacity like a 32 gb stick. At least then it is readable and writable on macs Happy

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I had the same problem on my imac....
by Lucy101UK / May 26, 2011 8:18 PM PDT

I just ejected my hard drive and plugged it back in and it worked fine...
My Maxtor HD was already working on my imac for running my itune and after tidying my itunes files on the HD and other files, the HD became read only...
I tried most things like system preferences and itunes preferences but it was the simplest solution that worked in the end for me..

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