How To Write NTFS Drive On Mac with Parallels and Windows 10

Mac does not allow write files to NTFS file format drive, it has been like this for many years. While some of this are due to technical limitations, majority of the reasons are bounded by the business decisions not supporting the most popular Windows file system format, NTFS. There are many ways you can overcome this limitation if what you need is not only to read files from NTFS, which Mac OS X supports natively out of the box.

This guide will leverage Parallels and Windows VM/Bootcamp as a bridge to allow user perform write operations to NTFS file format drives. After all, if you are running a Windows Virtual Machine on your Mac, you should be allowed to write files to NTFS. Since Parallels doesn’t have a straightforward documentation explaining how to do this, I will take this opportunity to share with you.

How To Leverage Parallels To Write Files to NTFS File System Drive

In this case, assuming you have an external USB drive with NTFS file format using Parallels and a running Windows virtual machine you can write files to NTFS file format straight from your Mac.

First, make sure Parallel’s preference is set to allow you pick and choose which OS to point to when you plugin your USB drive.

Go to Parallels > Preferences .. > Devices (tab) to make sure you are selecting “Ask me what to do” when a new external device is detected.

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

Now before you start up your Windows Virtual Machine, go to Configure

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

Under Hardware Tab, you need to add a new hard disk.

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

When prompt for the type, select “Boot Camp”

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

At this point if you already have the external USB plugged in, it should recognize and populate the drive for you under Location.

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

Select OK to finish adding the Hard Disk.

Make sure to uncheck Connected, check box for the newly added Hard Disk. For some reason, if you have that checked, I’m not able to get this to work after power on the virtual machine.

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

Before Power On your virtual machine., go to your Disk Utility > (I’m running the latest Mac OS X El Capitan Developer preview, it could look different if you are running this on older Mac) ensure to Unmount the actual partition(s)

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

After the partition ejected from Mac, you should see the NTFS drive grey’d out.

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

Now Power On your virtual machine from Parallels, in my case, I have Windows 10 running. With any luck your Windows NTFS formatted Drive should show up in your Virtual Machine’s Windows OS.

Parallels Configuration to enable NTFS Write via Mac

From there you can treat this as any normal hard drive / partition. You will have all access to write and read files on this partition. Enable file sharing between Mac OS X host and Virtual Machines, would allow you to copy files from Mac into NTFS files system.

Jonathan Hu

Programming by day, Web Development, Canucks & Movies for spare time!
Co-founder of Next of Windows and a cool geek 🙂

Last updated: 06/22/2015

Posted in: How to , Virtualization
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