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How to fix a read only mac hard drive partition

Then check the box to "ignore ownership on this volume," or toggle it off and then on if it's already enabled. If this setting is enabled and you still do not have access, you can try removing the system's volume information database, which holds this setting for external drives on the system. In here, locate the file called "volinfo.

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Once this is complete, detach and reattach your external drive, and then try toggling the setting to ignore ownership on the volume. Note that these permissions settings will only be available on drives with formats that support them, so if you are using a FATformatted drive, the option to ignore permissions will not be available. Check drive for errors Formatting errors can also cause a drive to be read-only. While in many cases formatting errors are relatively minor and tolerated by the system, there are times when the system may determine it safest to only mount the drive in a read-only state to prevent corruption to the data on it.

When this happens, you should see a warning when attaching the drive that states it is only being mounted in read-only mode, and in these cases you should first back up all contents on the drive. Then use Disk Utility or another robust disk or volume repair tool like DiskWarrior to check the drive for errors and attempt to fix them. Sometimes errors can go unnoticed on a drive, so if these tools report the drive is working OK, then consider wiping the drive and repartitioning it. This can be done with Disk Utility by selecting the drive device in the program's sidebar, then going to the Partition tab that appears and choosing "1 Partition" from the drop-down menu.

Then click the Options button and choose GUID as the partition type to use, followed by clicking Apply to save these changes. Generally read-only errors with drives are limited to their formatting, so these steps should help fix the problem, but do keep an eye on the drive; if the problem crops up again, it could be a hardware malfunction in the drive, in which case it would be best to replace it. Have a fix?

Post them below or e-mail us! Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. There is a very real chance that something could go wrong, resulting in a loss of data on the target drive. We recommend you do not rely on this method for writing to important volumes or as a long-term solution. Sometimes you may need to write some files to a locked drive only once, and you can do this with built-in Mac tools.

You need to follow these instructions for each drive you want to write to. Now disconnect and reconnect your drive. You can only get there in Finder; click Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder. Download FUSE to get started.

The program is a handler; it does not contain anything to mount and read the files themselves. That is another single command:. If that happens, run this command as well:. You need to run a few extra commands to get it working. First, find the address of your mounted read-only drive. You can get this in the Terminal using the command:.

You need to run the following commands each time that you want to mount a drive with write permissions. The devs make it clear that this opens up your Mac to potential exploitation, so this step is not for the faint of heart. You can test drive the software with a day trial too. Better still, your NTFS drives now show up in Finder normally, and you can treat them like any other drive. With a day free trial, you can put the program through its paces before shelling out. Rather than a menu bar item, Tuxera installs as a preference pane.

You can format drives from here, but not much else. Like Paragon, you can use Finder to work with the drive. Both paid options offer a painless way to mount a read-only drive on your Mac and make it writable. You can also write as much data as you need to and from your drives while trialing both paid options.


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But having a read-only drive is not the only external disk problem you can face on a Mac. Here's a troubleshooting guide to help get your external hard drive or flash drive working again.

How to solve external hard drive read-only without formatting on Mac?

Read More for tips on how to solve that issue. Your email address will not be published. Why isn't Psiphon 3 here? It can tunnel through anything in seconds! It's for free on Android, Windows, and Oh right Thank you, Justin. Doing the Paragon trial. Process could not have been easier. From my wife saying "Hey, what the hell is going on with my external drive? Thank you so much for your post, it saved my life!

I was trying to back up my files to an external drive previously used on a Windows computer, and it was read-only and I freaked out! Thanks to you, I was able to backup all my important files and make the drive compatible so I could upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion! This is BS.

1. If Your Drive Is Blank

Thanks but I prefer Windows. SO much easier. I installed this driver and not only did I not have to format wipe my hard drive, it solved the incompatibility issue in 1 minute. I backed up my hard drive just out of paranoid precaution beforehand, but looks like I didn't need to. Thanks to this info, my problem is solved in a minute with just a driver installation and a reboot.

I am using a Samsung external hard drive. Thaaaank you so much! I just got my laptop back from the genius bar at Apple. Tthey installed a new hard drive - something went wrong while I tried updating the OS earlier this year Perhaps my hard drive couldn't handle the update? Anyway, I saved most of my files on my seagate external hard drive before everything went down hill. Ran into the same problem and was literally seconds away from wiping it clean, luckily, I saw this comment!

Solved the issue in no time. Well I edited fstab per guidance and in deed my drives disappeared from Finder. It means that I cannot use native Mac and need windows on fusion. I haven't looked into this method in the rootless age, and honestly this article could use an update in any case.

I believe someone is one it. Only if you disable rootless, which is not usually advised. I highly recommend going with one of the other options.

disk utility - Brand new external hard drive formatted exFAT is mounted read only - Ask Different

I read that program NTFS corrupts data. I had no problem with my hard drives being written to until I switched to Capitan! What do I do? It seems like I'm going to have to re-do this tutorial for El Capitan, because the instructions don't work right now and I've no idea how to make them work. I get an error message saying that it's incompatible with this software version of the Mac.


  1. Case 2: Disk permissions are changed as read-only.
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  4. The link has been hacked and goes to avangate software. Type the link manually gets to the correct place! However, theres a message that popped up saying the mount wasn't completely done, and I had two options either force or abort. I chose force, and everything was fine, but I'm worried if it might delete files in the future?

    I tried plugging in another external hard drive and the message didn't appear again.

    How to Recover from External Hard Drive Read-Only Error on Mac?

    Thanks for the update, I actually haven't tried repeating these steps with El Capitan yet so this is really helpful. I'm sure there will be more comments. Please help me fix this issue or let me know how to uninstall this. So I could get access to my files. Because the messages implies you didn't though I could be wrong. I've just converted from an iMac to a Macbook My external hard drive works on the iMac, but is read only on the Macbook.

    Do you know why this is and how I can fix it? Just seeing this now for some reason, sorry about that. Did you get everything working? It might be a permissions error but it's hard to troubleshoot without being able to actually test things out. Dear Justin Pot, I'm personally amazed with your detailed solution here. Tons of gratitude would not be enough to say. Thank you very much, it works on my Macbook with OS Yosemite. Keep going on with any other solution Sir. Thanks for stopping by and reading the article!

    It means a lot to us, check out MakeUseOf. This is one real super nice blog to fix the related problems This help me a lot Thank you so much This worked beautifully. I use Yosemite OS X Did NOT want to reformat my hard drive, and this installation took maybe 10 mins.

    Thank you! Glad to hear it's still working for Yosemite, I haven't tested this in a while. Thanks for leaving a comment! You the real MVP. Thanks for the article. If you already have a working filesystem, and you get the read only situation i. I had all my user directories on the second drive first partition and my workspace on the same drive in a second partition - both were showing as read only huge hint.

    I read this, tried it, and guess what Reminding you that you still need to backup invaluable data or at least have it on box. I'm sorry my article wasn't the help you were looking for, but I'm glad you figured it out! We take cables for granted, it's often the last thing we'll think of. Bought Paragon, installed, finally read users manual that admitted that Paragon does not work with Yosemite.

    One way around it is to create a symbolic link or a shortcut on your Desktop. A shortcut should now appear on your desktop for more convenient access to your write enabled external drive. You're right Justin. My mistake. I had a few tutorials open and posted to wrong one. Feel free to delete my entry. I had a few tutorials open and I posted to the wrong one.