How to Write to NTFS External Disk Drives from OS X 10.9 Mavericks

By default you can’t write to Windows NTFS hard disk and USB drives as they appear as read only on the Desktop’s of OS X 10.9 users workstations – which is a bit of a pain in the ass!

You can write to these disks with a few installs and tweaks in the Terminal, which will make all NTFS drives writeable – there are also some commercial point and click apps that can get the job done if you don’t fancy wading into the Terminal.

This has been tested in OSX 10.9 Mavericks. OSX 10.8 guide here.

This guide is updated March 2014, the package ntfs-3g is updated and you have to sym link the mount_ntfs file to a new destination, so if you have set up before and have updated your brew you may need to unlink a few dependencies and definitely link to the new destination mount_ntfs destination. Also on completion when a ntfs disk is mounted a new error is displayed but the disk still mounts and is read/writable.

 

Get Xcode and Brewed Up

To start with you are going to need Xcode and some Unix style application packages  - and what makes this easy on OSX is Homebrew, a package manager for OSX, follow this guide if you haven’t already got it, it will get you up to speed on both Xcode and Homebrew first, after that come back here and tackle the rest below which involves installing a couple of apps and tweaking a couple of files.

Once you have Xcode and Homebrew the following will allow you to write to NTFS disks. Launch Terminal:

Install fuse4x

brew install fuse4x

Any necessary dependant software will also get installed by this installation  including autoconf, automake  libtool and gett

Unlink fuse4x

brew unlink fuse4x

 

Install ntfs-3g

brew install ntfs-3g

brew-ntfs3g

At this point you need to  change the mount_ntfs file, the new file will allow the writes to NTFS disks, these commands will back up the original and then link to the modified mount_ntfs file as supplied by Brew/ntfs-3g

Back up the original

sudo mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig

Link to the new

sudo ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/ntfs-3g/2014.2.15/sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs

The last install is the fuse4x

Install fuse4x kernel instructions

To see the commands required use the command below or simply run the 2 commands below the screen grab.

If you already have an older version of fuse4x you’ll need to also to run the other commands listed before installing this version.

brew info fuse4x-kext

install fuse4x for ntfs

Follow the 2 commands as highlighted

sudo cp -rfX /usr/local/Cellar/fuse4x-kext/0.9.2/Library/Extensions/fuse4x.kext /Library/Extensions
sudo chmod +s /Library/Extensions/fuse4x.kext/Support/load_fuse4x

Re-Attach/Mount Your NTFS Drive

ntfs3g

You will get this warning but the disk will still load

 

read-write-ntfs-disk

Thats it, now all mounted NTFS drives can be written to, if it doesn’t work just disconnect/connect the NTFS drive. Some users end up with a numbered suffix like UNTITLED 2, it still works fine, however I am not aware of a fix for it.