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.

1 Answer 1


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.

  • I am doing this with Parted Magic and it appears to be working...just taking a while to do the transfer of files...
    – Cheetah
    Jul 21, 2013 at 11:59
  • If the disk is reasonably full (and your was about half full IIRC) then it will take a while. Especially if you use an external drive with a slow connection (e.g. USB rather then eSATA). But as long as the power does not fail it should eventually finish the task.
    – Hennes
    Jul 21, 2013 at 12:01
  • Right. Its done. However I know have the problem with resizing the HFS+ partition so that it takes the whole disk. I've deleted the NTFS partition but I can't seem to resize the HFS+ partition. PArt of the problem is that the partition table is msdos so I can't resize in OSX....any ideas?
    – Cheetah
    Jul 21, 2013 at 13:36
  • I think this post has the answer to that part of the question.
    – Hennes
    Jul 21, 2013 at 15:18
  • 1
    A bit late question, but did the moving to the top of the disk work? If so, which commands/tools did you use. (Or can you edit the answer to add that information) ?
    – Hennes
    Sep 13, 2014 at 10:01

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