How to Solve ‘Read Only’ External Hard Drive Problems: By Experts

Is your external hard drive showing ‘read only’ on your mac? Here is how you can fix the problem. Read on to see the step-by-step enumeration of the solution.


Today, people are finding themselves using both macOS and Windows operating systems. While both systems’ compatibility is not one of the biggest issues in the computer world, there is still one area where the operating system needs to work on.

Read Only’ errors in external hard drives can be really stressful when you need data this instant. Whenever you are using one hard drive for one operating system and then insert it in for the other, a pop message shows ‘Read Only.’ 

What Are the Cause Of ‘Read Only’ Disc Errors?

USB drives are very useful devices that can make data sharing and carry relatively easy. If I limit myself to use the USB drive for one operating system, sharing files becomes easy. But the moment I connect with the other operating system, the file is locked, and no changes can be made.

This usually happens when you are a Windows NTFS user and try to open the file in Mac. You might be able to see the files and read all the content, but you are not authorized to make any changes due to NTFS filer formatting.

So, can this problem be solved? Yes, the problem has solutions, and I will talk about the same in this article.

How to Solve ‘Read Only’ Errors?

If you are using an external drive like an SD card or USB drive, you check whether they are locked or not.

Method 1: Login as Administrator

Sometimes, you log in to your computer with a different account. Then you might have difficulty gaining access to most of your sensitive files. Check out, whether or not you are logged in as an administrator.

Here is how you can do so.

  • Click on three windows icons and select your account. 
  • Sign In to your administrator account.

Once you’re signed in as administrator, you can try opening the same file. You will see that now you can open every file and folder.

Method 2: Change the Read-Only Permission

There are times that a particular folder or file has been locked to read-only mode. If that is the case, you can check its specification to see where it is locked or not.

You can simply set the device for both reads and write. Follow the steps:

  • Start with opening the windows file explorer.
  • Connect the read-only drive with the PC.
  • Go to the properties.
  • Under the security, you find the read and write option.
  • Apply read and write settings.

This will get the job done, and you will use the drive for reading and writing.

Method 3: Take Ownership of Folders

Sometimes, your current user account does not have permission to make any changes in the drive. In that case, you simply need to take permission. 

  • Right-click read-only folder.
  • Select the context menu from the properties.
  • Click change and add the account.

Once your account is added, you can make changes in the respective drives.

Method 4: Remove Write-Protection

This method might be only for the technical geeks out there. When a drive is protected, certain command lines are in the original commons. These command lines can be removed to completely remove the write protection.

Several tools can be used to do so. However, if you are new and have only limited knowledge of the technical stuff, keep this solution for the professionals only.

Method 5: Using Third-Party application

The best way to solve the ‘read only’ method is to take help from NTFS for Mac by iBoysoft. iBoysoft NTFS for Mac acts as a processor and processes all the NTFS files and helps the macOS read and write the files.


The NTFS file system format is one of the best file formatting systems if you are sticking with the windows operating system. However, if you are shifting to a different operating system, that might pose some problems.

In this article, I have covered the details of how you can use NTFS file formatting systems on different operating systems.

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