Why can I access my external hard drive on my Mac?

Meka Kumar May 29, 2013

I have a Seagate 500gb external hard drive which i am unable to share my files from my mac to the hard drive. My hard drive is showing read-only. Please help me to the solution in detail as i am a new user to mac. How can I change the options so as to make it read and write? I have also connected to windows; its working… but for my mac it isn’t!


  1. Scott Kupferman
    June 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Is the source of the data Windows, another Mac or a Linux distro? I had the same issue mounting my portable Seagate (used to store Mac files) when I mounted the drive under Ubuntu. I was able to resolve by mounting the drive as root using Nautilus. Best way is gksudo nautilus. This way, you don't have to chmod files or reformat your drive (I presume this isn't an option). Your perms are probably correct for the way the drive is used when you backed up your source data. Just because your target can't avail itself of the drive isn't a reason to muck with the perms until you try all your options.

  2. Harshdeep Hura
    June 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Connect your HDD, go to Disk Utility and reformat the drive to Mac OS Journaled Extended partition. It will make it readable again

  3. Justin Pot
    May 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    As others are saying here: your hard drive is formatting NTFS, which because of some lovely Microsoft patents Macs can read but not write to (Apple has similar patents protecting its own file formats, meaning we're all stuck.)

    Following the advice of others here, you should back up everything on your external drive, then re-format the drive to exFAT. Do this and you'll be able to use the drive to move files between a PC and a Mac (but Linux sadly will continue to not work).

    If that's not an option, check out NTFS-3G. This free app allows your Mac to write to NTFS partitions, but be warned: there's a slim chance it also might mess up your disk.


  4. ha14
    May 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

    perhaps you have permisssion problems?


    BatChmod allows you to change any specific privilege or ownership without affecting the others (ie, changing the group without affecting the owner, or adding or removing a specific privilege without affecting all the others).

    Disk utilities - Format, Verify, Repair (local disks.)

  5. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 30, 2013 at 2:18 am

    This article should guide and resolve the issue for you :


  6. Jan Fritsch
    May 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Your external hard drive is most likely formatted as NTFS which OS X can only read by default.

    You can either reformat it in exFAT which is supported by both, Windows and OS X (this will delete all existing data on the drive!) or you can use an NTFS driver for OS X.



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