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Weekly Utilities Updates and Review: NTFS-3G

A weekly list of the Mac troubleshooting utilities that have been updated, along with a mini review for NTFS-3G.

Every week I try to list the updates for utilities that can help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems, an outline one that I've not discussed before. This week NTFS-3G was updated, which is a driver that adds full NTFS support to OS X.

As long as Microsoft and Apple use different filesystems for their products, we will need a way to read and write to these filesystems. Apple offers the ability to read NTFS, but in order to write to the filesystem you will need to use a third-party NTFS driver.

NTFS-3G is one of several available options, which will give you full NTFS support in OS X. Once installed you will be able to read and write to NTFS filesystems, as well as format drives in NTFS. This can be useful for managing Boot Camp partitions, as well as for using external drives with Windows computers. It is the open-source option available from Tuxera, who develop a commercial version of the driver. Being open source and free, NTFS-3G for OS X will not have full support like the commercial version (available here), but should offer similar features.

To use NTFS-3G, all you need to do is download and install it. For Leopard and Snow Leopard, the installation gives you an additional format option in Disk Utility for formatting a disk to NTFS.

Installing NTFS-3G adds NTFS to Disk Utility as a filesystem option when formatting drives.

I've used the driver for a while now, and while I have not used NTFS volumes extensively I have not run into any problems with the driver. The latest version of NTFS-3G adds a slew of support for ACLs and other permissions features, filesystem encryption and compression, and some small but useful features such as NTFS junction points. Version 2009.11.14 can be downloaded from the Mac NTFS-3G webpage:

Other Utilities Updates this Week

  • CleanMyMac 1.7.2 - Clean up your Mac & free up hard drive space with a few clicks.
  • Maintenance 1.3 - System maintenance & cleaning utility.
  • Cocktail 4.6.2 - (Snow Leopard Edition) General purpose system modify/repair utility.
  • Socks 1.3.2 - Optimization, maintenance and customization app.
  • Display Maestro 1.1 - Access all display resolutions and bit depths.
  • MacCleanse 1.5.2 - Scan and delete unnecessary files on your Mac.
  • Webmin 1.5 - Web-based interface for Unix system administration.
  • MacClean 1.0 - Clean your Mac's cache and verifies or repair the permissions.

Keep in mind that while utilities can help in a vast majority of cases, as with any software, they can be buggy. Since these utilities were recently updated, these are actively being developed and are currently assumed to work. However, developers cannot take into account all system configurations, so be sure to back up your system before running any utilities for the first time. Additionally, double-check with the developer's Web site to be sure they are compatible with your system version. Incompatibilities with system software are the main reason why utilities and programs function improperly.

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