Want Full NTFS Support on Your Mac?  Check Out MacFUSE and NTFS-3G!

| Monday's Mac Gadget

Product Link : MacFUSE 2.0.3 (Freeware)
Product Link : NTFS-3G for Mac OS X (Freeware)

The Mac has certainly come a long way when it comes to interaction with other platforms. Whereas early machines limited themselves to proprietary file and network protocols, today's Mac is a pretty good citizen when it comes to talking to others. However, there are still some areas where the Mac is lacking. One is support of the NTFS file system. At this point, Mac OS X only allows read-only access to NTFS volumes. Fortunately, you can extend the file systems that your Mac supports with a product like MacFUSE.

MacFUSE implements a mechanism that makes it possible to support a fully functional file system in a user-space program on Mac OS X (10.4 and above). It provides multiple APIs, one of which is a superset of the FUSE (File-system in USEr space) API that originated on Linux. There are many resources to get you up to speed on MacFUSE, including a Google Tech Talk video, and you can even check out the MacFUSE Framework documentation if you'd like to create your own extension. Installation of MacFUSE results in a Pref Pane which shows that it is installed. If you'd like, you can remove MacFUSE via the Pref Pane.

NTFS-3G Pref Pane

Once you install MacFUSE, you now have access to a wide variety of file systems. One of the more popular add-ons is NTFS-3G, an NTFS file system that will allow you to both read and write NTFS volumes on your Mac. You can choose from a stable, but slower version, or a version that uses caching, but runs a risk of corruption in the event of a crash. The NTFS-3G pane allows you to enable or disable caching, provide filename normalization, and enable debug logging. An added bonus is that you can also format an NTFS volume. Just go to Disk Utility, and NTFS will appear along with the other file systems you can format a partition with.

Have any other gadgets that let you talk to other systems. Send an email to John, and he'll check it.

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How about a head-to-head with the $40 “NTFS for Mac OS X” that was recently released.  Is it any faster (without corrupting data? as an aside, why would ANYONE want to risk that?!) or are there any other features that justify its $40 vs Free price tag?

How abut a TMO Shoot Out between the two, eh fellas?


Any caching mechanism risks data corruption in the case of a crash. The risks are likely a bit greater with MacFUSE & NTFS-3G since there is another layer of abstraction between you & the disk.


I’ve used NTFS for OS X from Paragon since February, 2008 (over a year now) without any problem whatsoever. I use it to have read/write access to my boot camp (WinXP) partition. I also have VMWare Fusion and Virtual Box installed. There is no danger involved unless you start mucking around with system folders and startup files. If you don’t know what to avoid, you should not be playing with read access to a Windows partition. If you are just using it to access files in the Documents and Settings or a downloads folder, the danger is minimal.

Yes, if you have files on the NTFS partition open and power cycle the Mac you might hose something.


That’s a good way to enable NTFS-writing option on Mac. BUT TOO SLOW! I was bored and purchased Paragon NTFS for Mac (for it’s price to be honest, it was the cheapest one). Now I’m satisfied, it takes the same time to write a 2GB DVD-film on external HDD with NTFS as to the HFS one. smile

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