Windows Harddrive compatible with Macs?

2 replies [Last post]
Ting Bibby
Joined: Dec 12 2005


I have recently bought a 300GB external harddrive for the use of video editing on my pc. It has been formatted to NTFS.

I'm on an edit at the moment and I'm working on a dual core G5 Mac Desktop. I've done all my logging and digitising in Final Cut Pro. However, I personally don't own a Mac, so I was going to copy over the digitised footage onto my harddrive and edit using Premier.

The Mac will recognise my harddrive. It even sees and plays mp3's I put on it. However, when I try and copy the footage over, the Mac gives an error message saying that the harddrive cannot be modified. I check it's property info and it says 'read only', which I cannot change.

Is there any way of being able to transfer files from a Mac to a NTFS harddrive, for use in video editing? Or am I gubbed?

Joined: Aug 31 2002

Yes gubbed :(

Microsoft hasn't put the details of their NTFS specification into the public domain, so no other operating system, like Linux or Mac OS, can safely modify an NTFS drive.

So with Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4 you can read data off the drive, but not write to it.
FAT32 drives are useable for files less than the 4GB limit, or there are programs like MacDive or Mac Opener which allow a Mac drive to be compatible with Windows.

A further point, though, is that movies captured in Final Cut Pro will have different handling of ancilliary data like timecode than Premiere would have captured, so it can be fraught with incompatibilities if you try editing with another NLE.

Ting Bibby
Joined: Dec 12 2005

Thanks Paul.

I managed to get MacDrive 6 for Windows. It allowed me to format my external NTFS harddrive to a HFS+ file system. When I got onto the Mac I was using today, I had no problems copying over the digitised footage. When I returned to my home and connected it to my PC, it read all the information on the disk. Even works with Premier Pro, and reads timecode.

Thanks again for your help and making me aware of Mac Drive. :)