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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 System
This might be something that all the experts here know about already, but I was stumped by it initially, and was happy to figure out a solution. I had an NTSF-formatted Windows XP hard drive in a PC box, and I was too lazy to plug in a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Instead, I pulled the hard drive out of the PC and plunked it into a USB2 enclosure, which I then plugged in to my Mac. I could read the disc, but when I went to Disc Utility to wipe it and reformat it, the option was greyed out.

After some futile searching, I was ready to boot up off of an OS X install disc (as one hint had suggested), but then figured I'd try one more thing -- I ejected the volume, and then, voila, I could format it as an unmounted volume. Easy!

I can now donate the PC to a youth artist group, knowing that the person who gave me the PC in the first place won't have all their data out there in the mean old world. I did a 'write 8 times format' in order to clear the drive. I point this out just in case anyone else decides to do this and accidentally puts a chunk of their personal data out into the world.
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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: macslut on Apr 21, '05 01:13:55PM

You didn't format it as NTFS if you used Disk Utility. Unless you chose a Mac /Unix format, you formated it as FAT32 (there is a world of difference).

Also, most likely you didn't need to take the steps of booting off the OS X install disc to do this. I think Disk Utility confuses most people with regards to formating a volume versus formating a drive.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: renderhead on Apr 21, '05 01:19:19PM
Maybe you should read a hint twice before you decide to comment on it.

1.) He never said that he formatted it as NTFS. He said that it was already NTFS, and he wanted to format it. Disk Utility won't let you format a volume that's already NTFS. It will, however, let you format the disk using the method he described.

2.) He didn't boot up from an install disk. He was about to, but he tried this solution first.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: macslut on Apr 21, '05 04:43:08PM

Sorry, I thought we were speaking *English* here. "Format a NTFS hard drive" means that you're going to end up with a NTFS hard drive. "Reformat a NTFS hard drive" means the format will be whatever you are capable of choosing.

This isn't a nitpick, this is about searching this site or the web in general for information on how to format a drive as NTFS in OS X, and finding this hint headline and having to read through to get an ambiguous explanation of what he was trying to achieve.

The whole post is even more ambiguous when you read that he apparently put the drive back in the PC before donating it.

The *hint* here should've been about the difference between re/formating a drive and a volume.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: madamimadam on Apr 21, '05 05:06:06PM

You are an idiot; it is quite obvious what they are saying

An adjective before a noun describes the noun in present tense.

If I said "please get me the NTFS hard drive", one would get me a hard drive formatted in NTFS, so why then would "format a NTFS hard drive" mean "get a drive and format it to the NTFS standard"?

To describe future tense one would place the adjective after the noun like in the above sentance or in "format a hard drive to NTFS".


Thanks for the tip, I'll need it in the next few days



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: kalisphoenix on Apr 21, '05 09:06:42PM

"Create a new file."

If adjectives always referred to nouns as they currently exist, then you'd be told to "create a nonexistent file." I think this is relevant given the fact that a drive can be unformatted, and the act of formatting would create an NTFS-formatted hard drive.

I understand that this might be getting a little intellectual here, but there's no reason to assault anyone.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: atter_cob on Apr 22, '05 02:56:36AM

"Create a new file" -- Create a ( new file ) -- Create a file which has the quality of being new.

"Format an NTFS disk" -- Format an ( NTFS Disk ) -- Format a disk which has the quality of being NTFS.

To make this even more clear, consider:

"Smash an NTFS disk".

The author of the original post knows English well enough to write a simple sentance. "Macslut" is both rude and ignorant.

It would be interesting to know how to "NTFS format a drive" or "format a drive with NTFS" using a mac.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: macslut on Apr 22, '05 09:41:34PM

"Macslut is both rude and ignorant."

Great, at least 3 people have posted here that they were confused about what the title meant. I'm the first to point it out, get called idiotic, and now called ignorant by you, and somehow I'm the rude one.

"It would be interesting to know how to "NTFS format a drive" or "format a drive with NTFS" using a mac."

I totally agree, which is why I clicked on the article's title in the first place (thinking it could not be done). Apparently, I'm not alone as others see the confusion as well. By the rules of our English language, it is an ambiguously written title. Disagree and call me every 4 letter word in the book, but it doesn't change the *fact* that as demonstrated, the article's title confuses people.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: meh on Apr 23, '05 03:24:44PM

I am the original poster of this hint. I see now how the title could have been confusing or misleading. Perhaps I should have called it "DE-format an NTSF hard drive in 10.3.
It was my first post on this site, and I apologize for any confusion.
That said, I do have to comment on one thing. Macslut, I can understand why you may have been confused by the title of the hint, but based on your first comment in this thread, it seems you didn't understand the hint itself either.
I guess the lesson to learn from this is to take a moment to think and proofread before clicking the SUBMIT COMMENT button.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: calroth on Apr 24, '05 09:28:41PM

"Great, at least 3 people have posted here that they were confused about what the title meant. I'm the first to point it out, get called idiotic, and now called ignorant by you, and somehow I'm the rude one."

If 3 people here think that the title is something other than what it was, then there are two non-mutually exclusive possibilities: a) The title is misleading, or b) The 3 people are ignorant.

We have established that a) is not the case, which implies that b) is the case. Please move on.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: madamimadam on Apr 22, '05 03:21:10AM

---"Create a new file."
If adjectives always referred to nouns as they currently exist, then you'd be told to "create a nonexistent file.---

The word "new" in that example is completely unnecessary. You wouldn't tell someone to create an old file or create a current file. Strictly speaking, the sentance fragment should read "create a file".

---I think this is relevant given the fact that a drive can be unformatted, and the act of formatting would create an NTFS-formatted hard drive.---

A drive could be unformatted and a drive could be formatted as NTFS but this is not relivant to the sentance in question.

---If you think it was so obvious as to what the hint said that the drive was ultimately formated as, then please tell us what the format of the drive became after the hint was applied.---

Arbitrary; the hint is completely unrelated to which format the poster needed the drive in, all the matters is that the format itself was unavailable.

---Meanwhile, this page will live in search indexes as "10.3" "format" "NTFS" "hard drive". While those of us know that you can't currently format a NTFS drive with the current version of Disk Utility, I bet many who would search and find this would be confused.---

But if I wanted to find out how to format an NTFS drive into, as an example, unpartitioned space, wouldn't I still search for "10.3", "format" and "NTFS"?

---The fact that it was originally NTFS really had nothing to do with the hint. The author was confused about the differences between formating a volume versus formating a drive. Had the drive been formated in other ways to begin with, the same problem could've occurred and the same solution could be possible.---

That is a rediculous comment, have you actually tried out what you say? If you go to Disk Utility it will show the erase option as being available in most situations whether you choose the disk or the partition unless the drive is the currently active boot drive. What the author says is that a mounted NTFS drive can not be erased until it is unmounted but non-boot HFS/+ drives certainly can be.

---Ah, but the author said the equivalent to "please get me *a* NTFS hard drive" which unlike your example, implies that *any* hard drive could be obtained and made NTFS to satisfy the request.---

The only problem with that statement is that the author didn't say "please get me a" and the sentance "format a NTFS..." is completely different.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: macslut on Apr 22, '05 10:15:03PM

-- Arbitrary; the hint is completely unrelated to which format the poster needed the drive in, all the matters is that the format itself was unavailable.

You mean that "the ability to format" was unavailable, yes? The author never discusses if the NTFS format is available or not as an option. Apparently the author either didn't know or care what the drive was formatted as when he put it back in the PC. You and I both know that the format NTFS was not available as an option, but someone coming to this hint with know prior knowledge of this, and seeing that he ended up putting the drive back in the PC, has no way of knowing that the ability to format as NTFS is not an option.

-- But if I wanted to find out how to format an NTFS drive into, as an example, unpartitioned space, wouldn't I still search for "10.3", "format" and "NTFS"?

Sure, and ideally see an article with the title "How to reformat an NTFS hard drive" or some of the other examples others have posted.

-- That is a rediculous comment, have you actually tried out what you say? If you go to Disk Utility it will show the erase option as being available in most situations whether you choose the disk or the partition unless the drive is the currently active boot drive. What the author says is that a mounted NTFS drive can not be erased until it is unmounted but non-boot HFS/+ drives certainly can be.

There are far more formats than NTFS/HFS/HFS Extended, and all kinds of partition combinations. The issue is the inability to erase a volume using Disk Utility that is in a format that Disk Utility itself can not create, unless you reformat the drive. It is at this point that you are limited to what Disk Utility can format a drive as (namely HFS, HFS Extended, FAT32 and UNIX).

-- The only problem with that statement is that the author didn't say "please get me a" and the sentance "format a NTFS..." is completely different.

You're quoting me out of context. The sentence "Format a NTFS..." is much closer to "Please get me a..." than it is to "Please get me the..." which is the point I was making as a response to the post where "Please get me the..." was used as an example.

I'm not *trying* to be pedantic here (honest, I'm not), I'm just pointing out what others have since reiterated, and that is the title of this hint is misleading.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: macslut on Apr 21, '05 09:25:43PM

I'll try this again...

If you think it was so obvious as to what the hint said that the drive was ultimately formated as, then please tell us what the format of the drive became after the hint was applied.

Meanwhile, this page will live in search indexes as "10.3" "format" "NTFS" "hard drive". While those of us know that you can't currently format a NTFS drive with the current version of Disk Utility, I bet many who would search and find this would be confused.

The fact that it was originally NTFS really had nothing to do with the hint. The author was confused about the differences between formating a volume versus formating a drive. Had the drive been formated in other ways to begin with, the same problem could've occurred and the same solution could be possible.

Now on to English 101...

'If I said "please get me the NTFS hard drive"...'

Ah, but the author said the equivalent to "please get me *a* NTFS hard drive" which unlike your example, implies that *any* hard drive could be obtained and made NTFS to satisfy the request.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: atter_cob on Apr 22, '05 02:58:59AM

> Now to English 101

Yes, you do need to go to English 101. The hint does just what the author said it does.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: pantera on Apr 22, '05 08:23:59AM

Ok, I would let this slide if, in addition to being an idiot, you didn't behave like an asshole.

Your claim that relative position of adjective vs. noun has any relation to tense is absolutely unfounded. In other words: this is complete and utter bullshit!

For those who want an argument beyond insults, I would just suggest to consider the phrase "create a NTFS hard drive".

As to the ambiguity of the title, I might add that "format" in standard nomenclature is synonymous with "create a file system". The usual interpretation of "format a NTFS hard drive" would therefore be "create a filesystem of the type NTFS" (within a partion on a hard drive). The result would be a "NTFS volume" using Macintosh terms.

From the hint it is not even clear if the poster actually "formatted the drive", whether what he did affected the partition table (which is quite different between Mac and other systems), created a new file system, etc. It is therefore not clear if the resulting disk is even usable on a PC.

I'm not saying the hint is useless. Deleting data from a disk formatted with a file system not well supported by Mac OS X can certainly be necessary in some cases. It's just not what one would expect under the title "format a NTFS drive".



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: Bruce Miller on Apr 21, '05 05:53:14PM

I was confused by the hint's intent also. Was the drive finally to go back inside Windows box or for Mac?

Additionally, I had nothing but trouble trying to install a Windows OS on any disk formatted by a Mac as FAT32.

Windows could mount as external drive, but required reformatting with Partition Magic to actually install an OS. It reported as corrupted MFT in PM otherwise. All drives for Windows use get formatted using only Windows since for me.

Hopefully, that donation receipient doesn't go through what I did if that drive was meant to be put back inside the Windows tower.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: meh on Apr 23, '05 03:55:59PM

Just one more comment here to clarify.
I was given a PC with XP on it and I knew of a group that would benefit from having the machine. I didn't want to just give the computer to them, because the hard drive still had all the data on it from the original donor.
Being lazy and a Mac snob, I didn't want to have to plug in everything to the PC only to boot if off a floppy and then format the hard drive, so I took the hard drive out of the PC and put it in an external enclosure, with plans on wiping the drive in OS X.
I wasn't able to do so, since NTFS drives are read only when mounted in OS X. I looked around on the web for solutions, and the only one I had found was to boot up off of a Mac OS install CD and then wipe the drive from there (which, in hindsite, is probably just doing the same thing that I described in the hint - formatting an unmounted drive).
That seemed to be too much work for me, so I experimented a bit and discovered the solution I posted about.
Now that the drive is wiped clean, I can give it (and the rest of the computer) to the youth group. I'll let them know that the drive needs to be formatted and that Windows needs to be installed.
My concern was in securing the donor's data (by destroying this copy of it), and in not having to do much. I accomplished both goals.
To remove the hard drive from the PC, I had to undo 6 screws in total, and 2 cables (power and IDE). To use my external USB2 enclosure, I just popped the lid off and plugged the drive in to power and IDE (didn't bother closing the enclosure). Now that the drive is wiped, I put it back into the PC (4 mounting screws, power and IDE cables, 2 screws to hold the case panel in place) and all is well.
Now back to being lazy...



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: jeremyp on Apr 22, '05 04:52:25AM

The point is that the title leads one to expect an article about how to put an NTFS file system on a disk using Mac OS X. You can argue as much as you like that technically that is not what the title says, but the fact is that I and probably lots of other people clicked on the link expecting to be shown how to create an NTFS file system on Mac OS X.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3 - NOT
Authored by: silicontrip on Apr 21, '05 09:49:30PM

I agree with Macslut.

The title appears to imply creation of an NTFS, well that's what I assumed. Reading the paragraph explains what is actually happening.

Personally I would use the term "Erase" rather than "Format."

This reminds me of the old days of floppy disks where you could format a disk then initialize a filesystem. Most people assumed that they were the one thing. Erasing the disk first and then creating the filesystem are two seperate steps.
Nowadays you don't need to low level format IDE disks.

Being a unix person I would erase a disk using DD

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/diskX

of course you still have to eject the disk before doing this.

you could also use /dev/random as the source device, to make the data even more confusing but I have found that /dev/random only produces 6 meg per second.

Gotta love unix as there is always more than one way to do it!!!



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Definition from: man diskutil
Authored by: hamarkus on Jul 28, '06 05:33:27AM

From man diskutil:
reformat device
Reformat an existing device in the same name and format.

I think this makes it obvious what reformat means. It precisely means the opposite of what some people were claiming (format a disk in a different format). By deduction, 'Format an (NTFS, HFS, UFS,...) disk' simply means the disk is being formatted, it does not specify in which format it is going to be formatted. If that information is important simply use the short and very convenient word 'as', as in ''format [a disk] as NTSF'.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: LC on Apr 21, '05 05:32:45PM

When I use OS X to clear a disk device, I use Disk Utility's Erase command (on the entire disk or volume), single partition setup, and the format option of writing zeroes. I never used the 8-times random write, since I assumed that would take longer (than zeroes). How much of a security risk is associated with just writing zeroes?

Also, I myself get thrown off by the terminology at times. On a disk device, using OS X's Disk Utility you can "erase" one selected partition (slice) at a time. Or, you can select the entire device, optionally modify the partition map, and recreate/erase all of its slices. I'm pretty sure that Disk Utility won't let you do anything to (i.e. modify or repair) any filesystem on the same disk device that booted the currently running system, even if you want to touch a different one (i.e. I booted slice 10, but I want to erase slice 12).

The confusing thing (for me) here is that what OS X calls a "volume" is one partition of the disk device, i.e. a slice. I don't know whether they mean that a "volume" is the same as a "filesystem", but the way I see it is that the storage device (disk) can contain volumes, and each volume can contain a filesystem. OS X doesn't talk about filesystems per se (keeping the language simpler); Larry.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: Carnildo on Apr 21, '05 07:58:05PM

If you format by writing zeroes to the disk, an expensive (tens of thousands of dollars) data recovery company could get most of the data back. If you format with the "write eight times" option, a data recovery company won't be able to get any of it back, and it's unlikely that even the CIA would be able to do anything with it.

If you format by deleting the directory information (a Windows-style quick format), someone with a $50 piece of software could get the contents back.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Apr 22, '05 03:22:09AM

Though there may be different terminology with *nix-based systems, the terms "volume" and "partition" have, on the Mac, from what I've seen since 1984, been two interchangeable terms for the same thing--all formatters for the Mac have used these terms to mean the same thing. I don't know the answer to the question as to whether volumes/partitions can also be called "filesystems", or if that's a term that applies to some other characteristic of the whole disk mechanism itself.

Disk Utility WILL let you erase, repair, etc. secondary volumes/partitions that are on the same disk drive as the Mac is currently booted from (meaning, not the volume the Mac is currently booted from, naturally), but Disk Utility won't give you the options to "zero all data" or the "8-way random write format" on any individual volume, whether that volume resides on the currently booted disk drive or on another disk drive--these two options are available only when you select the entire disk drive. Disk Utility also won't let you remove or resize existing individual volumes on any disk drive, except by erasing the whole drive.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: jeremyp on Apr 22, '05 05:01:26AM

File systems and partitions are not the same thing. A partition is a block of space on a disk. A file system is a way of organising the data in a partition.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: LC on Apr 22, '05 01:53:09PM

Right ... the area within a particular partition (slice) may contain a filesystem, or may not. Also, there may be a logical volume in that partition, or not. In Mac OS, Disk Utility is employed to create HFS or HFS+ volumes, so there you have the "filesystem" (the "FS" in HFS).

In another case, in Unix when we use a disk device simply for paging (i.e. a "swap device"), since it's the entire disk then you don't need any partition map or label. But under LVM, we need to "initialize" (partition etc.) each disk device.



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Format a NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: numpins on Apr 22, '05 01:09:34PM

Section 2
http://www.usenix.org/publications/library/proceedings/sec96/full_papers/gutmann/



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Format _an_ NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: marklark on Apr 22, '05 09:49:11AM

(Adding to the silliness, pedantishness, and general nitpickery here :^) The proper title to this hint should be "Format an NTFS hard drive in 10.3."

Thank you.



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Format _an_ NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: meh on Apr 23, '05 03:38:31PM

I've never been sure of this one.
When using an acronym in writing should you use the first letter of the acronym, or the first sound of the acronym in spoken form?
In some cases, this could be a problem if the acronym doesn't have a standard pronunciation. For example, if talking about a SQL database, some people would pronounce each letter and say it as "Ess Kyuu El" while others would say "Sequel".
I knew NTFS is an acronym for something, but I didn't know what (though I just Googled it: New Technology File System).
Anyhoo, I'm not sure if there is a hard and fast rule for this kind of thing, but I admit I prefer "an" in this situtation, and failed to do it only because I was so excited to be posting my first ever hint here that I was just overwhelmed with emotion.



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Format _an_ NTFS hard drive in 10.3
Authored by: pub3abn on Jan 03, '06 01:48:17PM

"An" is the correct article. The key point is that the article ("a" or "an") is determined by the leading sound, not by the leading character.

In this case, NTFS is pronounced by speaking its letters. It starts with the lettern "N" which is pronounced "en," which begins with a vowel sound, so it takes the article "an." Some letters in the alphabet have names that begin with vowel sounds, others with consonant sounds, so care must be taken to think about how the acronym is pronounced.

Some examples: "an NTFS volume," "a U.S. court," "an IRS document," "a PBS special." If you are a native speaker of English, those should all sound normal to you.

Some acronyms are pronounced like words (GIF, for example, which is pronounced "jiff" ... or some people say "giff" ... both pronunciations require the article "a"). Again, a writer simply needs to think about how the acronym is spoken.



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