Learn-a-holic Geek Notes

Human compiled Brainwork by Kornelije Sajler.

Enable NTFS Write on Mac OS X Mavericks for Free and Geeky Way

By default Mac OS X Mavericks (same goes for older distribution) has Microsoft file system NTFS read-only. There are proprietary software like Tuxera that can enable to write to NTFS. Interesting point is that you don’t need to buy it is for free, you just need to geek a bit to make it writable.

Are you geeky enough?

Surely you guessed it, this will not go without console application in Mac this is Terminal, and some of us may us better one iTerm2, either way you’ll need to know how to open it.

Easiest way is to use Spotlight just hit Cmd + Space and write Terminal and here we go… The other way is in your Finder Applications > Utilities > Terminal. (Those who use iTerm2, I bet they know how to open it :D)

Before we start on, MAKE SURE that your USB stick, external HDD, has single name to it, or better yet without spaces in name! e.g. ”MyPrecious” is fine, ”My Precious” is not!
And what I mean by name is the label name that you get in Finder or Desktop when you plug your device, that is underneath the HDD icon, this is mostly set by manufacture, and if you know how to format on Windows, you can also set custom name!

In Terminal create /etc/fstab with nano, easier for most users, others can use vim, emacs… (it will ask you for your username password if you have it, write it, if not just hit enter):

sudo nano /etc/fstab

When is created enter this content inside of /etc/fstab, be sure that you know the name of your device:

In my case in image is Elements, be sure to change below “device-name” to name you got, and there is no spaces in name!!!

LABEL=device-name  none    ntfs    rw,auto,nobrowse

When you finished entering content, use Ctrl + X (it is lowercase x), it will prompt you to save it or not, enter y, you’ll get another prompt to write to file, just hit enter.
And that’s essentially it, I will not even try to explain what we just did, it will melt brain for most users, just believe me… I know what I’m doing!

The only problem is now, when you plug your device, you’re not gonna get a icon on Desktop or Finder.
Mac stores its mounted devices in hidden folder /Volumes, so while we have Terminal up and running, make symbolic link of it to the Desktop:

sudo ln -s /Volumes ~/Desktop/Volumes

Afterwards unmount your device (right click on device icon and choose Eject), sometimes is needed to reboot (restart) your Mac, so it is safe to do so!

Now on your Desktop, you’ll have a “folder” named Volumes, and when you plug your NTFS device, go into this folder, and you’ll find there your device armed and ready!
If you want to save from some other application, when the dialog is open, got to Desktop > Volumes > [Name of Device] and save it!

And best thing is, if you are in no need to have support for NTFS anymore, remove /etc/fstab:

sudo rm /etc/fstab

… and everything is as before and live happily ever after!

This is how you can have writable NTFS support on your Mac, totally for free, and for bonus feeling geeky :)

But nevertheless, if you want to buy the software that does it for you, sure, be my guest… nobody is geek!