How does an NTFS partition affect computer performance?
December 31, 2015 12:30 PM   Subscribe

I have a late-2008 MacBook running Yosemite with 2GB of RAM. For years I have had two external hard drives, one for my Surface Pro 2, and one for this Mac, or so I thought. But after plugging my Mac hard drive into my PC to look at the file list, I found that I could no longer mount the hard drive on my Mac (?!). All the files are still there, accessible and editable on my PC. This seems like witchcraft, but I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation.

I only recently upgraded to Yosemite (hard drive issue predates this) and I understand that I can purchase Paragon to enable NTFS file handling. If I understand correctly, Paragon creates a partition in the internal hard drive to enable NTFS files to be read and accessed. If that's the case, what are the implications for running Photoshop CS6 on 2GB of RAM, which is already frustratingly slow on Yosemite, though it was fine on Snow Leopard. Should I upgrade to 8GB of RAM before even attempting to install Paragon, or does a partition not affect performance in this way?

Ultimately, I need to be able to access these files in Photoshop. Is Paragon is the correct tool for this? If not, suggestions are welcome. Paid software is fine.

Here's the current error message I get when I plug in either of the external drives:

NTFS-3G could not mount /dev/disk2s1
at /Volumes/Backup because the following problem occurred:

dyld: Library not loaded: /usr/local/lib/libfuse.2.dylib
Referenced from: /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g
Reason: image not found

Thank you, computer gurus of MeFi!
posted by ananci to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
YMMV, but I use Tuxera NTFS to allow read/write of external drives on my two Macs. I have a Early 2008 MacBook Pro running Yosemite and a late 2011 MacBook Pro running Mavericks. Works for me. I used to use Macfuse but switched to Tuxera when it came free with a Toshiba external drive
posted by Zedcaster at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2015

Best answer: No, it's not a partitioning thing (well, as far as your hard drives and such are concerned). What the Paragon utility does (and the aforementioned Tuxera NTFS one as well) is installs a set of drivers that allow OS X to read and write to NTFS-formatted drives/partitions. It's not re-partitioning anything on your computer or anything like that, it's just simply adding in the ability to read those kinds of disks. It's pretty deep system-level stuff that it installs.

It looks like, from the error message, that your system had/has NTFS-3G installed on it, which is why you were able to do this under Snow Leopard. The problem here is that it relies on a thing called MacFUSE to work its magic, and MacFUSE was never updated to work past Snow Leopard. Because of that, it's not getting loaded, and your stuff's not working. The good news there is that there's a fork of MacFUSE called FUSE for OS X that supersedes it and has been updated to work all the way up to El Capitan, which is the latest version of OS X. The homepage is here, there's specific instructions for NTFS-3G here, and here's a handy FAQ about the whole thing. Be advised that updating your system to use the newer versions of FUSE and NTFS-3G will (very much) likely require you to use the command line. You may be able to get away with just installing FUSE for OS X (with the MacFUSE layer enabled as per the instructions), since the problem is that you already have NTFS-3G on there, but it's failing because FUSE is not there. I can't be 100% sure of that, though.

The easier options would be to use either the Tuxera NTFS product or the Paragon one you've mentioned. They will have the benefit of having actual installers and such and people actually supporting it. For what it's worth, the Tuxera thing actually is based on the FUSE for OS X and NTFS-3G bits, but they claim it's faster than the open-source/free version. However, you will need to remove NTFS-3G from your system to run either of these. Here's some info on that.

2GB may be decent enough for CS6 for light use or such but you might as well bite the bullet and max the machine out, if you have the means. RAM is pretty cheap at the moment. I'd also move all the way up to El Capitan as well, if your machine supports it (you said it's a late '08 so if that's late '08 in Apple parlance then you should be OK - you need at least a Mid '07 MacBook Pro to run El Cap). El Cap in my experience does better with the battery and performance and such - my '09 iMac was noticeably faster with it than with Yosemite - and if you do go with El Cap it would be a good idea to do all that bit of it now and then load the NTFS tools as there's a bunch of new system-level protection type stuff there that will need to be fiddled with to make the NTFS stuff work.

I will also note that I run Photoshop CS5.5 on Windows 10 on a 4GB VM on my Mac and it runs pretty well, but also that I'm a pretty novice user as far as all that goes and my machine is a whole lot newer and faster than yours so my perception may be skewed a bit there.
posted by mrg at 1:14 PM on December 31, 2015 [7 favorites]

Note that installing NTFS-3G (or anything) via the Homebrew package manager is kinda tricky in El Capitan due to new security features. See this page for some details and a fix.

It looks like you had installed it via Homebrew previously (it normally lives in /usr/local) but Homebrew got nuked at some point, probably during an OS upgrade.
posted by neckro23 at 2:01 PM on December 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'm going to max out my RAM and install Paragon. I will look into upgrading the OS if Photoshop is still laggy.

I probably did have something installed that allowed NTFS to work in my old set-up, which was done by a previous boyfriend. I had a techy friend do the upgrade to Yosemite a few months ago, but he is in Africa right now and can't help with my current issues. So it's MeFi to the rescue instead :)
posted by ananci at 6:41 PM on December 31, 2015

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