With switchers making up vocal minority in the Mac installed base, the demand for better support for NTFS, the primary file system of Windows XP and Vista, keeps growing. Now a third-party developer has come to the rescue. Utility vendor Paragon Software Group on Thursday released a Mac OS X version of its NTFS driver for Linux.
Mac OS X uses the home-grown HFS+ (Hierarchical File System) but has offered mostly read-only support for NTFS volumes. However, Paragon says that NTFS for Mac OS X 6.0 "breaks down the barriers" between Windows and the Mac. It will cost $39.95 and is available now with a $10 discount.
The driver lets Mac users read and write your data to any Windows NTFS partition; transfer data between external drives including thumb drives; and mount NTFS partitions directly without SAMBA or AFP services, Paragon said.
The new driver supports compressed files and folders, symbolic links and POSIX file attributes. The beta of the software was announced earlier in the fall.
In a Paragon-sponsored benchmark test between HFS+, Mac OS X's native NTFS driver and the beta Paragon driver, the company said:
Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X has the same performance as the native (read only) NTFS driver for all read operations. As regards the native Apple HFS+ driver, Paragon NTFS for Mac OS X has also almost the same performance, in some cases we are better in some we are not.
John Rizzo, editor-in-chief of MacWindows.com, said this capability was something that former Windows users have been looking for.
"I don't understand why [either] Apple or Microsoft haven't come up with something like this before. People have been asking for this for a long time," he said.
Now, I haven't tested the Paragon driver but this company knows what it's doing in the compatibility and storage department. This release sounds like good news for Windows switchers and thus for the Mac in the business market.