NTFS external hard drive on MAC: back up then initialize?

I bought a 15" Macbook Pro a few days ago and I’m now transferring my files over to it. I have a Lacie D2 Quadra External Hard Drive, but I just found out that it’s formatted NTFS, so it’s read only on my Mac. I went to the hard drive site’s FAQ section, and it said that I have to either initialize or reformat the drive in order to not make it read-only. I’m very new to these kind of things, and the FAQ said that doing so would wipe the drive, so I thought that perhaps backing up my external hard drive, save the back up onto my Mac’s harddrive, then initialize the harddrive and restoring my backup onto it would “fix” my external harddrive without losing all of my data. Am I correct in thinking so? Is there an easier way to do this?

Short version: Me have new Macbook. External harddrive NTSF, read only on Macbook. Back up external harddrive, initialize it and change it it to FAT32/MAC Extended, then restore backup?

You can’t fix it in place, so you’ll need to do as you plan: backup, reformat and restore your data.

You can also install the FUSE FS plus the NTFS-3G extensions and then read and write to your NTFS hard disk from MacOS X.

They 're free.

Link, by the way.

Thank you very much for that, AHunter3. Also, thank you Tacoloco for assuring me that what I had in mind wouldn’t melt my computer.

Whoa. That’s cool. I’ll be looking into that tonight. Thanks for posting it.

How do I “manually create a mountpoint”?

Under your Utilities folder is terminal.app, run that and you get a command line and can issue the commands on that page, like:

sudo mkdir /Volumes/“Windows”

I prefer Paragon Software’s NTFS for Mac to NTFS-3G, though they both accomplish the same thing.

Before going this route, consider what you want to do with the external drive.

If you plan on using it solely for Mac-related things, I would consider backing it up, reformatting it with HFS+, and then restoring the data to it.

If, however, you want a drive that works well on Mac and PC, then the NTFS route is, IMHO, better than FAT32.

Keep in mind that HFS+ supports lots of metadata about files (extended attributes), and many OS X applications really prefer working on an HFS+ drive. OS X will try to emulate this behavior on a different filesystem by creating lots of “.something” hidden files, but it isn’t exactly the same.

I use it mostly for situations in which I have been handed or otherwise inherit a drive already full of data, already formatted NTFS, and I need to do something with it. Usually a favor for a PC-using frield (I’ve never owned a PC).