How To Copy Files From Mac To USB Hard Drive

When I copy files from macOS X to a USB external hard drive disk with both command or drag and drop action, the operation can not be processed. After some time investigate with google, I finally found the reason. This article will tell you how to resolve can not copy files from macOS to USB external hard drive disk issue.

1. Format The USB Disk With ExFat File Format.

The main reason for this issue is macOS can only read NTFS format files but can not write files to NTFS disk. So if the USB disk is NTFS format, then the copy and paste operation can not be operated. So we should change the USB Disk file format to others such as FAT or ExFAT. And ExFat is a more good choice.

1.1 Change USB Disk File Format Steps.

  1. Open macOS Finder —> Applications —> Utilities —> Disk Utility.
    double-click-disk-utility-app
  2. Select the USB disk in the left panel.
    mac-os-use-disk-utility-to-change-usb-disk-format
  3. Then click the Erase button at the top of the right panel. Select ExFAT in the Format drop-down list and begin to format.
    mac-os-use-disk-utility-to-change-usb-disk-format-to-extfat
  4. After the format process complete successfully, you can copy files from macOS to USB disk successfully.

2. Install NTFS-3G To Make MacOS Support Read-Write Microsoft Windows NTFS File System.

  1. Open a terminal and run the command $ brew install ntfs-3g to install NTFS-3G.
    $ brew install ntfs-3g
    Updating Homebrew...
    Warning: ntfs-3g has been deprecated because it requires FUSE!
    ==> Downloading https://homebrew.bintray.com/bottles/gettext-0.21.catalina.bottle.tar
    ==> Downloading from https://d29vzk4ow07wi7.cloudfront.net/cdea54f52b7c36ebcb5fe26a1c
    ######################################################################## 100.0%
    ==> Downloading https://homebrew.bintray.com/bottles/ntfs-3g-2017.3.23_3.catalina.bot
    ==> Downloading from https://d29vzk4ow07wi7.cloudfront.net/512daef6a2d9d74416ebb67c08
    ######################################################################## 100.0%
    ==> Installing dependencies for ntfs-3g: gettext
    ==> Installing ntfs-3g dependency: gettext
    ==> Pouring gettext-0.21.catalina.bottle.tar.gz
    🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/gettext/0.21: 1,953 files, 19.0MB
    ==> Installing ntfs-3g
    ==> Pouring ntfs-3g-2017.3.23_3.catalina.bottle.1.tar.gz
    🍺  /usr/local/Cellar/ntfs-3g/2017.3.23_3: 94 files, 2MB
  2. Unmount the existing NTFS format partition if needed.
    sudo diskutil unmount /dev/ntfs-disk1
  3. Create a directory as the mount point volume label for the NTFS partition.
    sudo mkdir /Volumes/NTFS
  4. Run /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g command to mount the NTFS disk partition with the above mount point manually in read-write mode.
    sudo /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g /dev/ntfs-disk1 /Volumes/NTFS -o local -o allow_other -o auto_xattr -o auto_cache
  5. You can also run the /usr/local/bin/mount_ntfs command to mount the NTFS disk partition as below.
    sudo /usr/local/bin/mount_ntfs /dev/ntfs-disk1 /Volumes/NTFS
  6. Learn more at NTFS 3G Official Github Website.

3. How To Copy Files From macOS To USB External Hard Drive In Command-Line.

  1. Open a terminal and run the command cp -R Documents /usb.
  2. The -R parameter will copy all the subdirectories under the Documents directory to the USB external hard drive.
  3. But above command may raise an error message such as usb/Pics: No such file or directory.
  4. This is because the USB external hard drive is mounted under /Volumes folder, so you should add the /Volumes directory before USB disk name when you run the cp command.
    cp -R Documents /Volumes/usb-name

Reference

  1. What’s the Difference Between FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS?
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Alyssa
Alyssa

thank you !! bye bye ☺️

Gregory LEDGER
Gregory LEDGER

I have an app that allows me to transfer data to and from an NTFS (Windows drive); is it still necessary to do the Ex-FAT setup?

Toussaint
Toussaint

Thanks !

nifras ulms
nifras ulms

THANK YOU SO MUCH

kulpreet singh sandhu
kulpreet singh sandhu

Thanks so much, Dear it really works
now I can paste items

Asad Hanif
Asad Hanif

After formatting the disk like this, is it still usable on windows machines?

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