Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mount NTFS disk to Mac OS X

All portable/external had disks currently support legacy FAT (or VFAT as Linux so calls it) from DOS era. The file system is ugly in a sense that it is a 'greedy FS which consumes more space than many other file systems. We can easily use up all the space in our harddisk just by putting many video files into this FAT-formatted harddisk.

Started in NT, a new format was introduced: NTFS (Next-Technology File System). It is quite decent FS, except it seems doesn't fully support journaling (I heard it does, but not sure about that since it is a proprietary format from Microsoft).

Anyway, I don't want to talk too long about the FS, but I just want to talk more about how could the harddisk possibly be mounted to a OS-X based Mac machines? The answer is: use MacFUSE and NTFS-3g!
These opensources were originally targetting the development for Linux, but some folks have ported them to OS-X.

To install, first you need to install MacFUSE (search google to find the location), and after it is successfuly installed, install the OSX version of NTFS-3g. It may require you to reboot. After reboot, try to connect an NTFS-formatted external hard disk to Mac's available USB port. If the system can recognize and mount it, you're done.

I have a 2.5" "WD Passport" 250 GB external hard disk which was I reformatted in NTFS after I bought it. In the beginning, out of curiousity I attached it to my Linux machine running OpenSUSE 10.3. Out of my suprise, It could recognized and mounted it with no issues. I then found out that on my Linux has NTFS-3g in it installed by default. After googling, I found the ported Mac version. Now, all my machines (OSX, Linux, XP) are able to read/write files into this small-but-nice device.

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