How to Remove Read Only on Mac External Hard Drive without Formatting

Remove write protection from read only Mac external hard drive either by editing preference file or using FUSE package. If nothing works, use Remo Mac Data Recovery software and recover data from it before reformatting the drive.

What if, your external hard drive turned write protected on Mac? Yes, this happens when your external hard drive is formatted with NTFS file system. To make it writable on Mac, you need to reformat it. But the concern is data stored on your external drive as reformatting removes all the data present on it. Therefore, here we have explained the techniques which you can use to enable read write on read only drive without reformatting it.

Removing Write Protection on External Hard Drive without Formatting-

Method #1: Edit Preference File

  • Go to Terminal and type nano etc/fstab
  • fstab opens hidden file which is use to set user authorization on disks
  • Then, write the following line into file - LABEL=DRIVENAME none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
  • Here DRIVENAME indicates name of the read only drive
  • Then, hold down Control + O key. It exits you from nano
  • Now, detach and attach your external drive back to Mac computer

Method #2: Download FUSE for Mac OS

1. Install Homebrew software on your Mac OS. To install it on your Mac, go to terminal and type – /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL

2. After completion of installation, next step is to install NTFS-3G package. For installing NTFS-3G package type following command in the Terminal brew install ntfs-3g Then, run this command brew cask install osxfuse, to check whether you have already installed FUSE package or not

3. Then, restart your Mac computer and again run NTFS-3G package, so that you can use external drive on Mac which is formatted with NTFS file system

4. Whenever you want to mount a drive to read write, run the command mentioned below- sudo mkdir /Volumes/NTFS sudo /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g /dev/disk1s1 /Volumes/NTFS -olocal -oallow_other

These two options enable you to write on external hard drive without formatting it. In case, it won’t fix your problem, then you have to reformat the drive. Hence, before reformatting it, use Remo Data Recovery Software for Mac to restore data from your external hard drive. Once you get back all your data from external hard drive, you can easily reformat it for further use.

Recovering Data from Write Protected Mac External Hard Drive using Remo Data Recovery Software for Mac-

Remo Mac Data Recovery software scans the entire external hard drive and locates all the data. You can use this software to retrieve files from various brands of external hard drive such as, Western Digital, LaCie, Buffalo, etc. It helps to restore photos from Mac external hard drive, also you can use this software for recovering video, audio, compressed files, etc.

Complete Guide on Data Recovery from Read Only External Hard Drive on Mac without Formatting:

Download Remo Recover Mac Pro edition on your Mac system. Install by following on screen instructions. Then, attach your external hard drive to the computer on which you have installed recovery software. Now, launch your application for initializing recovery process.

Step 1: When home screen appears, click on Recover Drives option followed by Volume Recovery

Note: If you have already formatted your external drive, then select Formatted/Reformatted Recovery option

Step 2: When it displays list of drives, pick the drive which represents secondary disk and click on Next button

Step 3: It scans and shows you a list of recovered files

Step 4: Select required files and save them to any location of your choice

Once you get back all your data from external hard drive, reformat it for removing write protection from the external hard drive. Here are the steps for reformatting your Mac drive-

  • Attach your external hard drive to Mac computer
  • Navigate to Applications > Utilities
  • Select the drive from the left hand side of Disk Utility and click on it
  • Select the file system to MS-DOS(FAT) and hit “Erase” tab
  • Choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” from pop up menu which is present next to Format button
  • Select Name and click on Format option

Now, you can able to write on your Mac external hard drive. You can even use Remo Mac Data recovery software to restore data from reformatted external hard drive on Mac.