Windows USB/External HDD on OSX

It is such a pain to open any external hard drive or USB stick that has been written and formatted on a windows machine when trying to open it up on a macbook.  I was trying to access photos on my external hard disk that had been originally formatted using a Windows 7 OS (thus NTFS file system) and I could only read the files on my macbook but make no edits to them.  I read online that there are some paid tools that allow you to access the files on such drives but I try not to pay for tools that I’ve never heard of.  The other option is to re-format the drive on mac but that causes wiping out all data on the drive.

I came across the following steps that allow you to enable Mac OSX 10 to access files on such external hard drive without formatting it or losing any data.  Note: You need to have sudo rights (or be the administrator with root privilege) to perform the operation.

Run the following steps on mac OS terminal (can be started by pressing Command + space and typing terminal) :

$> sudo vi /etc/fstab

In the vi editor, add the following line:
LABEL=WESTERNDIGITAL none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse

and then type :wq! to exit the vi editor window. On the terminal run:

$> diskutil unmount WESTERNDIGITAL
$> diskutil mount WESTERNDIGITAL

Note:  Replace WESTERNDIGITAL with the name of your drive in all lines above with the drive name as showing up in finder window.  If your drive name contains spaces, use quotes around the name e.g. “WD DRIVE”.  You can also find the name by running :

$> ls /Volumes/

There will be a Macintosh HD and the other will be your USB/External HDD. It might happen that the finder window will not show your drive once you have made the change mentioned above.  To open the drive with RW mode, run following in your terminal window:

$> open /Volumes/WESTERNDIGITAL