Snow Leopard’s hidden NTFS read/write support

by Milind Alvares

Snow Leopard’s hidden NTFS read/write support

by Milind Alvares on October 2, 2009

The Mac has the tendency have surprising us every now and then, and Snow Leopard is no slouch! Some of the brains over at MacOSXHints have found that Snow Leopard has read/write support for NTFS file systems, which was previously in read only mode.

While we have had NTFS write support from third party plugins like NTFS-3g and Paragon NTFS, this one’s totally built into the OS. The guide is pretty complicated, and is obviously not ready enough for the real world. If you’re worried about data loss I’d suggest you stick to something tried and tested like Paragon’s solution, but if adventure beckons, here’s how you do it.

Here’s how to get read/write support for NTFS drives in Snow Leopard:

  1. In Terminal, type diskutil info /Volumes/volume_name, where volume_name is the name of the NTFS volume. From the output, copy the Volume UUID value to the clipboard.
  2. Back up /etc/fstab if you have it; it shouldn’t be there in a default install.
  3. Type sudo nano /etc/fstab.
  4. In the editor, type UUID=, then paste the UUID number you copied from the clipboard. Type a Space, then typenone ntfs rw. The final line should look like this: UUID=123-456-789 none ntfs rw, where 123-456-789 is the UUID you copied in the first step.
  5. Repeat the above steps for any other NTFS drives/partitions you have.
  6. Save the file and quit nano (Control-X, Y, Enter), then restart your system.

I haven’t tried it since I don’t have any NTFS drives lying around, but if you do attempt it and it goes well (or doesn’t), do let us know.

[via MacOSXHints]

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }


You just gave me more reason to work on upgrading my hackintosh to 10.6, since they’re multi-boot boxes ;D



Fair warning: When I enabled read/write on my Windows 7 partition, I started to have serious stability issues. After my machine was running for a few hours, applications would start randomly locking up and become impossible to kill. I force-restarted about half a dozen times before deleting /etc/fstab.

Clearly there’s a reason Apple left this feature out of 10.6.0 and 10.6.1.


Mike Nash

You are a legend works like a charm



Can this be used on Boot Camp drives?



Proceed with caution.
I tried using this hack to allow a Mac user to add files to an NTFS formatted external SATA drive. Very squirrely behavior showed up, including disappearing and reappearing files, and kernel panics on dismounting. I can’t prove this was the cause, but I am not taking chances.


Vijesh Shrivastava

True, Snow leopard has already read and wirte access. I just got new iMac and i had an old External hard diver in NTFS formatted. I am able to read/write from that hard drive without any problem. I didn’t even needed to hack the anything. I think this is typical apple hush hush.


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