Files on Mac can be copied into an external hard drive to create a backup of the system files or create space for more data to be stored on the system. In the instance where it becomes impossible to do this, some solutions have been provided in this article to help you fix the problem.
Why won’t Mac Files Copy to External Hard Drive?
Different factors are responsible for Mac files being unable to copy to external hard drive. These factors include the following:
· HARD DRIVE IS FULL: This is the most common reason why Mac files won’t copy to external hard drive.
· THE FILE SIZE IS TOO BIG: Even if the hard drive has a large space, it may not be able to accept file from your Mac if the size of the file is larger than the external drive.
· MALFUNCTIONING OR MISALIGNED CABLES: This usually occurs most especially if there are errors in the external drive while trying to read. It also occurs due to connection errors or damages to the drive.
· DRIVE IS IN READ-ONLY MODE: It is possible that the external hard drive is in this state hence, you cannot make any modifications or copy files to it.
· THE EXTERNAL DRIVE HAS BEEN LOCKED UP: You may encounter an error telling you that “USB-HDD” can’t be modified and so, it prevents the files from being copied into the drive. It means that the drive has been formatted as NTFS and it can be used for Windows OS. Although such a drive can be read by an OS X, it cannot be written into.
1. Format the Hard Disk with File System Supported by Mac
These are the features of the different file system supported by Mac:
For FAT32 (File Allocation Table):
· This file can be written and read from both native Mac OS X and Windows OS. Maximum file size is 4GB
· Volume must be at most 2TB
For HFS+ (Hierarchical File System or Mac OS Extended):
· Can be written and read from a native Mac OS X
· This is the required file type for Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper!, Time Machine backups made from Mac internal hard drive
· Maximum size of volume: 8EiB
· Maximum size of file: 8EiB
· NTFS can be written and read from native Windows OS
· It can only be read from native Mac OS X. Alternatively, you can read/format/write NTFS from Mac through these:
1. For Mac OS X version 10.4 or later with 64 or 32-bit, install Paragon app (Best Choice for Lion).
2. For specifically 32-bit Mac OS X, download and install the NTFS-3G for Mac OS X. This is free but cannot work in a 64-bit mode.
3. There may be problems using Tuxera, so watch out for that
4. It is possible to enable native NTFS support in both Lion and Snow Leopard, but they can be unstable hence, it is not advisable to do so.
· Note that both Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme (802. 11n) do not support NTFS file system
· Maximum volume size is 256TB
· Maximum file size is 16TB
For exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table FAT64):
The following applies:
· It’s supported in the Mac OS X version 10.6.5 or later
· Unfortunately, it is not all Windows OS versions that support exFAT
· Both AirPort Extreme (802. 11n) and Time Capsule don’t support the exFAT file system
· Maximum size of file: 16 EiB
· Maximum size of volume: 64 ZiB
Now that you have seen the features of the different file systems that are supported by Mac, it is time to learn how to format a hard drive on Mac. The steps below will guide you, using exFAT file system as an example:
· Connect the portable hard drive to your Mac system
· Launch the “Disk Utility” window
· Go to the left segment and choose “External Disk”.
· Tap on “ERASE”, then choose to format it as an exFAT file system. Simple right?
2. Third Party Software for NTFS Support on Mac
Choose third-party software that allows NTFS drivers for Mac i.e. supports NTFS file system. Download and install the app to your Mac OS and use it to add drivers that will let you read and write NTFS files on your Mac.
3. NTFS Write Support for MAC with Some Simple OS X Tweaks
Follow these steps carefully:
· Connect the NTFS drive to your Mac system.
· Launch the “Terminal” app.
· To find your External NTFS Hard Disk UUID, run this command:
diskutil info /Volumes/TOSHIBA | grep UUID
Here, “TOSHIBA” is the name of the NTFS HDD; replace with the name of your own Mac’s HDD
· Using your own UUID Disk Volume, run the command below to enable the hard drive’s read/write support:
sudo echo “UUID=<UUID> none ntfs
rw,auto,nobrowse” >> /etc/fstab
· With this command, the read/write attribute will be added to /etc/fstab. Perform such to the hard drive you have formatted from Mac.
More Tips to Fix Mac Files Won’t Copy to External Hard Drive
Below, you will find more tips on how to fix the error of Mac files not copying to external hard drive. These are physical methods that will come in handy even for the novice user:
As stated above, a misaligned cable or a cable that is malfunctioning can cause errors in reading files from an external drive.
· To fix this, go to the Finder window and choose the button to eject beside the name of the external drive.
· Now, completely disconnect the cable. Again, connect it back to the drive, then to the Mac’s USB, Thunderbolt, or Firewire port.
· Change the cable to a new one if this doesn’t work.
Determine Space Free
Check if the space is the issue and if it is, create more.
· Start by clicking on the disk once in the Finder section. Open the “File” menu and from there, choose “Get Info”
· Check the space after the “Available” label to be certain there is space. This can be found in the “General” segment of the “Get Info” window.
· Ensure that the size of the external hard drive is larger than that of the file
Try Drive Repair
· Use “Disk Utility” to repair or verify the drive you cannot write. Note that if you cannot still write the drive to the software, then you cannot repair it.
· Try to copy the files off the hard drive, reformat it and check if it’s fixed.
· If the errors found on the drive from using Utility Check are too many, just replace the drive with another one as reformatting cannot permanently fix the problem.