OS X: Enable write support for NTFS partitions

OS X Mavericks can read NTFS partitions. They are mounted as read-only by default. But it turns out the OS can also write to those volumes. To do so, follow these 3 steps:

1. Get the name of the NTFS volume

Plug in your external hard drive which has the NTFS volume. As OS X will automatically mount it, an icon for it will appear on the Desktop or in Finder’s sidebar under “Devices.”

Note the name of that volume and its capitalisation. Then, eject the volume and unplug the drive. For the following steps, the name MyNTFS will be used as the example.

2. Tell OS X to mount that NTFS volume as read-write

Open the Terminal. Using Vim, edit a new fstab file as root if not already present:

$ sudo vi /etc/fstab

Add the following line to the file. Take care of using the volume name you noted:

LABEL=MyNTFS none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse

Save the file and exit Vim with :wq.

3. Mount and access the volume

Plug in the external hard drive. OS X will take care of mounting the volume for you, but its icon may not appear on the Desktop. If that is the case, open the folder with all the mounted volumes in Finder from the Terminal:

$ open /Volumes

The NTFS volume should show up as an icon in that folder, like MyNTFS. You should now be able to write files and create folders in that volume.

Unmount the volume

When you are done with the NTFS volume, unmount it safely to make sure all the drive’s buffers are flushed and all the files are written in the medium.

If you have an icon for the volume on the Desktop already, it’s simply a matter of dragging the icon and dropping it in the Trash on the Dock.

If there is no icon, unmount the volume from the Terminal:

diskutil unmount /Volumes/MyNTFS

Once the volume is unmounted, it is safe to unplug the drive.

If you do not plan to write to that volume again, you can always remove the line we added earlier in /etc/fstab, and then delete the file if it is empty:

sudo rm /etc/fstab

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