Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?

Started Nov 22, 2022 | Discussions
CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 19,550
Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?

Wondering if my exFAT formatted SSD will function properly on MacOS Ventura 13, I searched the web and found this:

https://threedots.ovh/blog/2022/06/quick-look-at-user-mode-file-systems-on-macos-ventura/

Presumably "kext" means kernel extension, which was formerly used for NTFS read I believe, maybe for exFAT as well. Reading between the lines, it seems that this mechanism was replaced by user-space filesystem support, possibly similar to FUSE.

Does this mean I will be able to write NTFS formatted disk after upgrading to Ventura 13?

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 21,269
Re: Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?

I doubt if Apple has added built-in support for writing to NTFS-formatted disks. From my recollections of what I've read elsewhere,

  • NTFS isn't fully documented
  • macOS has code to write to NTFS, but that code is intentionally disabled
  • the most likely reason why it is disabled is that Apple does not have confidence in it, and does not want to risk corrupting customers' NTFS disks

What you really seem to be asking is more along the lines of "Will my third-party NTFS drivers continue to work, now that Apple is trying to move people from writing kernel extensions that run in system space, to writing drivers that run in user space?"

I don't know offhand if Ventura will force that change, but even if it doesn't, that's the way that things seem to be headed.  It probably wouldn't hurt to ask the vendor who supplied your current NTFS driver if their driver will work as-is under Ventura, or, if it won't, when they are planning to release one that does.

By the way, I believe that running extensions in user space was one of the goals of the original CMU Mach microkernel project. The problem with moving stuff to user space (for security/stability reasons) is the performance cost of all the extra context switches. Now that processors are so much faster than they were "back in the day", there's a bit more willingness to take that hit.

CAcreeks
OP CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 19,550
Re: Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?

Tom_N wrote:

I doubt if Apple has added built-in support for writing to NTFS-formatted disks. From my recollections of what I've read elsewhere,

  • NTFS isn't fully documented
  • macOS has code to write to NTFS, but that code is intentionally disabled
  • the most likely reason why it is disabled is that Apple does not have confidence in it, and does not want to risk corrupting customers' NTFS disks

Thanks Tom. If user-space NTFS support is new in Ventura 13, Apple documentation certainly doesn't say so. See the snippet below. The Kazakh headers don't give me great confidence, but it's good to see they still claim support for exFAT. This is the only forum I found where Ventura users claimed to be having problems with exFAT.

What you really seem to be asking is more along the lines of "Will my third-party NTFS drivers continue to work, now that Apple is trying to move people from writing kernel extensions that run in system space, to writing drivers that run in user space?"

It would be nice if an API offered support for user-space filesystems, like FUSE on Linux.

From the apple in the horse's mouth:

TonyGN10 Contributing Member • Posts: 651
Re: exFAT and Ventura - Apple's Release Notes
3

CAcreeks wrote:

Tom_N wrote:

I doubt if Apple has added built-in support for writing to NTFS-formatted disks. From my recollections of what I've read elsewhere,

  • NTFS isn't fully documented
  • macOS has code to write to NTFS, but that code is intentionally disabled
  • the most likely reason why it is disabled is that Apple does not have confidence in it, and does not want to risk corrupting customers' NTFS disks

Thanks Tom. If user-space NTFS support is new in Ventura 13, Apple documentation certainly doesn't say so. See the snippet below. The Kazakh headers don't give me great confidence, but it's good to see that exFAT is still supported. This is the only forum I found where posters claimed to be having problems with exFAT on Ventura.

What you really seem to be asking is more along the lines of "Will my third-party NTFS drivers continue to work, now that Apple is trying to move people from writing kernel extensions that run in system space, to writing drivers that run in user space?"

It would be nice if an API offered support for user-space filesystems, like FUSE on Linux.

From the apple in the horse's mouth:

Re exFAT - I'm way out of my knowledge zone really but Apple's macOS Ventura Release Notes in the section File System New Features state: "There’s a change to the implementation of the msdos and exfat file systems. Apps that check for those specific file system formats might not detect them."

Backblaze and Affinity Photo, after I recently upgraded to Ventura, both had problems accessing an exFAT formatted external SSD attached to my iMac - although Backblaze said they had developed a new beta of their app to workaround this change, they suggested it would be better/easier if I could reformat to APFS or macOS Extended - in my case I've been able to do that and Backblaze and Affinity are now back working fine with this SSD.

I'm not sure of this information has any relevance to the issue you are discussing but I noticed exFAT had been mentioned so thought I'd pass on this information. Please ignore if irrelevant!

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CAcreeks
OP CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 19,550
Re: exFAT and Ventura - Apple's Release Notes

TonyGN10 wrote:

Re exFAT - I'm way out of my knowledge zone really but Apple's macOS Ventura Release Notes in the section File System New Features state: "There’s a change to the implementation of the msdos and exfat file systems. Apps that check for those specific file system formats might not detect them."

Backblaze and Affinity Photo, after I recently upgraded to Ventura, both had problems accessing an exFAT formatted external SSD attached to my iMac - although Backblaze said they had developed a new beta of their app to workaround this change, they suggested it would be better/easier if I could reformat to APFS or macOS Extended - in my case I've been able to do that and Backblaze and Affinity are now back working fine with this SSD.

Thanks a lot Tony, that's good information.

This kinda fits with my theory that exFAT and FAT32 are now implemented in user space instead of as a kernel extension.

Therefore applications such as MacFUSE and Paragon, which formerly relied on kernel extensions, probably stopped working. One workaround is to install a Linux virtual machine and use it to read the NTFS drive (says the Internet; not verified by me).

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 21,269
Re: Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?

Most non-technical users wouldn’t know or care about the difference between built-in read-only kernel-space drivers for NTFS and built-in read-only user-space drivers for NTFS.

So if Apple did move their NTFS code to user space, the documentation might not make a big deal of that.

rokoko
rokoko Senior Member • Posts: 2,814
Re: Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?
1

No. I just tried.

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Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 21,269
Re: exFAT and Ventura - Apple's Release Notes

CAcreeks wrote:

Thanks a lot Tony, that's good information.

This kinda fits with my theory that exFAT and FAT32 are now implemented in user space instead of as a kernel extension.

Therefore applications such as MacFUSE and Paragon, which formerly relied on kernel extensions, probably stopped working. One workaround is to install a Linux virtual machine and use it to read the NTFS drive (says the Internet; not verified by me).

Paragon is advertising that the current version of their software is "macOS Ventura Compatible."

https://www.paragon-software.com/us/home/ntfs-mac/

The page says that "Macs based on Apple M1/M2 chip require additional installation steps to run NTFS for Mac." You've basically got to jump through Recovery Manager and System Preferences hoops to reduce security levels enough to allow their NTFS extension to run.

Apple says on one of their development pages that "Software that supports a broad range of macOS versions should continue to use kernel extensions for older versions and run system extensions where supported."  It's possible that "Microsoft NTFS for Mac 15" (which supports everything from Sierra through Ventura) takes this approach, though Paragon's site does not describe their implementation in this much detail.

For macFUSE, see this thread:

https://github.com/osxfuse/osxfuse/issues/924

JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 4,146
Do not understand question

CAcreeks wrote:

Wondering if my exFAT formatted SSD will function properly on MacOS Ventura 13, I searched the web and found this:

https://threedots.ovh/blog/2022/06/quick-look-at-user-mode-file-systems-on-macos-ventura/

Presumably "kext" means kernel extension, which was formerly used for NTFS read I believe, maybe for exFAT as well. Reading between the lines, it seems that this mechanism was replaced by user-space filesystem support, possibly similar to FUSE.

Does this mean I will be able to write NTFS formatted disk after upgrading to Ventura 13?

I don't understand your question. You asked in the post title "allow writes to NTFS" and then in the body you said "if my exFAT formatted SSD".

So what are you asking about, exFAT or NTFS???

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CAcreeks
OP CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 19,550
Re: Do not understand question

JasonTheBirder wrote:

I don't understand your question. You asked in the post title "allow writes to NTFS" and then in the body you said "if my exFAT formatted SSD".

So what are you asking about, exFAT or NTFS???

Both.

Ventura 13 has official support for exFAT, although some posters here (not elsewhere) have claimed problems with it. Ventura 13 also still supports NTFS read.

Paragon and iBoySoft are commercial products that claim to support writes to NTFS, though apparently only after reducing security in some way. Free MacFUSE perhaps also.

P.S. Thanks rokoko for trying an NTFS write.

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 21,269
Re: Do not understand question

CAcreeks wrote:

Paragon and iBoySoft are commercial products that claim to support writes to NTFS, though apparently only after reducing security in some way.

They need to install drivers in the form of kernel extensions or system extensions.  Used to be, if you had Admin privileges to install a kernel extension in the appropriate system directory, it would load.  Now Ventura and/or Apple Silicon based Macs lock things down so tight that the default is “no third-party extensions for you!”  Hence the requirement to reduce security to the point where the system is willing to load third-party extensions.

JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 4,146
Re: Do not understand question

CAcreeks wrote:

JasonTheBirder wrote:

I don't understand your question. You asked in the post title "allow writes to NTFS" and then in the body you said "if my exFAT formatted SSD".

So what are you asking about, exFAT or NTFS???

Both.

Ventura 13 has official support for exFAT, although some posters here (not elsewhere) have claimed problems with it. Ventura 13 also still supports NTFS read.

Paragon and iBoySoft are commercial products that claim to support writes to NTFS, though apparently only after reducing security in some way. Free MacFUSE perhaps also.

P.S. Thanks rokoko for trying an NTFS write.

Oh well I tried an exFAT read/write today on Ventura and it worked.

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CAcreeks
OP CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 19,550
Re: Kudos to NTFS
1

Tom_N wrote:

CAcreeks wrote:

Paragon and iBoySoft are commercial products that claim to support writes to NTFS, though apparently only after reducing security in some way.

They need to install drivers in the form of kernel extensions or system extensions. Used to be, if you had Admin privileges to install a kernel extension in the appropriate system directory, it would load. Now Ventura and/or Apple Silicon based Macs lock things down so tight that the default is “no third-party extensions for you!” Hence the requirement to reduce security to the point where the system is willing to load third-party extensions.

Thanks for the technical explanation.

NTFS is a remarkable for its longevity. No other filesystem in the list below has been in continuous use for so long. In the meantime Apple has implemented 3 (or more) filesystems. Even today NTFS has no major drawbacks. Fragmentation was an issue with HDD but doesn't matter much with SSD. It showed a lot of foresight in 1993 to make file size limit 16TB.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_systems

John_Hoffman
John_Hoffman Senior Member • Posts: 2,280
Re: Does Ventura allow writes to NTFS?
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