Most Mac switchers still have some Windows NTFS-formatted drives around. Maybe it’s an external USB disk. Or maybe you’re using Boot Camp. Whatever the reason, Mac users often want to access NTFS volumes within OS X. There are two popular ways to accomplish this:
- Use the excellent and free NTFS-3G driver
- Buy Paragon Software’s Paragon NTFS
I’ve been using the NTFS-3G driver myself for quite some time. It works as advertised: Install it and you can read and write to NTFS-formatted drives with ease. These drives are integrated right into the Finder, appearing just like Mac-standard HFS+ disks. This is the method I used to assign custom drive icon for my Boot Camp volume and USB drives, for example.
Note: Snow Leopard’s NTFS driver is read/write capable. See my post, How To Write To Windows NTFS Drives In Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard”
NTFS is a userspace (FUSE) driver, so installing it requires the installation of mac-fuse as well. It’s been nicely packaged for install over at MacNTFS-3G, or you can install it with MacPorts, along with lots of other great UNIX software.
Paragon NTFS functions similarly to NTFS-3G. The latest versions also include an HFS+ driver for Windows, allowing your Boot Camp instance to read your Mac drive, which is pretty cool. I was initially interested in Paragon’s software, thinking it would be more stable and supported than the open source NTFS-3G. But at $40, it’s hard to justify the cost when a free alternative is available. Once I tried the free version from Giveaway-of-the-Day, I know I would have felt cheated if I had spent the money on it. The MacNTFS-3G package is so nicely integrated, there is really no need to fear it. And I’ve had no trouble with it in over a year of use.
The Paragon Giveaway didn’t include the HFS+ driver for Windows, but reports are that Apple will introduce a similar driver with Snow Leopard. I think I’m liking free and bundled software more and more!