Format NTFS to HFS+ without loosing data

hard drivehfs+ntfspartitioning

I wish to plug my external hard drive which is formatted as NTFS into my Apple Airport Extreme Basestation.

It will only take HFS+ or FAT32. I don't have any other devices to store data. I have managed to backup all the crucial data but I would like to keep the other data too.

Is it possible to "convert" NTFS to HFS+ without loosing the data?…and what are the chances of success? If it helps, over half the drive is free space.

Best Answer

You could probably do something like this:

Initial situation:
[-NTFS partition-----------------------------------------]

Shrink that partition to half the disk size
[-NTFS partition----------][ Unpartitioned---------------]

Now create a HFS partition in the unpartitioned space:
[-NTFS partition----------][ HFS+------------------------]

Copy over all data from the NTFS volume to the HFS volume.
Delete the NTFS volume, resulting in this:
[-unpartitioned-----------][ HFS+------------------------]

And finally grow the HFS volume

However I would never try this without having a backup.

And if you already have a backup then it is much faster to just delete the NTFS volume and create a HFS volume. Which means the best solution is to borrow some extra storage space.

Shrinking a NTFS volume can be done with windows (7 and upward) build in utilities or with external tools such as gparted, Ntfsresize, Symantec partition magic or many other tools.

Growing a HFS+ volume is possible with OS X,using the included Disk Utility app, located in /Applications/Utilities.

Copying over the data either requires an OS which has drivers for both NTFS and for HFS, or a third location with is understood by both. (e.g. a pen drive formatted to FAT32). Apple has a Bootcamp HFS driver which might be the easiest solution.