Toshiba Canvio II NTFS driver for macOS

Ok, so the company Toshiba isn't doing very well, but that doesn't change the fact that Toshiba makes pretty reliable storage products, which include their Canvio series portable hard drives. Having owned a Canvio I 500 GB portable hard drive, which still runs after more than 6 years, I purchased a blue Canvio II 3 TB portable hard drive to supplement my Linux servers and Surface Pro 4. The Canvio II includes a version of NTI Backup Now and Tuxera NTFS driver for macOS, which means you should ideally be able to use the shiny hard drive for macOS or Windows 10.

Unfortunately, users who plan to purchase the Canvio II for use with macOS and Windows machines at the same time might be disappointed. The Canvio II I purchased was manufactured and released in late 2016, but the Tuxera NTFS driver included in the portable hard drive is version 2014, which doesn't support macOS 10.11.x - 10.12.

Note: An updated and well-maintained Macbook Air would be running macOS 10.12.x.

Since most macOS users are pretty industrious about updating their version of Apple's OS, then the Tuxera NTFS driver included with the Canvio II may be absolutely useless to Mac users who also work with Windows machines. Mac devotees who only work with HFS+, however, can format the drive using Disk Utility.   Moreover, if they decide not to format the Canvio II for macOS use only, they can still read data on the NTFS-formatted portable hard drive, though they can't copy or backup files to it.

Note: Apple has always been vigilant about supporting other file systems and preventing third-party software from adding that functionality to their OS. In fairness to Apple, FreeBSD 10 and 11 have issues with ntfs-3g and using the Fuse system for accessing NTFS drives. In contrast, Linux users have absolutely no problems accessing NTFS storage, such to the point younger users aren't even aware it was an issue a decade ago.

Installation of the Tuxera NTFS driver included with the Toshiba Canvio II is straightforward with a .dmg file stored in the Mac Driver folder.

To check if the Tuxera NTFS driver included with your Canvio II supports your Mac, access Tuxera NTFS in System Preferences and click the About tab. Verify support for your macOS version in Tuxera's support page.

The Tuxera version included with the Canvio II I bought was 2014, which doesn't work with macOS Sierra.

Linux, Network Sharing, and FreeNAS/NAS4Free

Linux users, of course, should have no problems accessing the storage of the Toshiba Canvio II. Data transfer using Fedora 25 and Debian 8 Jessie machines was quick and efficient over USB 3.0.

If you work in a cross-platform environment and prefer not to limit the Canvio II to HFS+, you can always transfer files from your Mac to your Linux or Windows network shares and back them up to the Canvio II from there. Even the cheapest Wi-Fi N router can provide fast data transfers over an Ethernet connection. In addition, accessing Windows or Linux shares via SMB from macOS is pretty simple.

If you're comfortable working with FreeBSD, you can also set up a FreeBSD/FreeNAS/NAS4Free server and connect the Canvio II to that machine.

For details on setting up NAS4Free, refer to NAS4Free Basics: Setting up a basic NAS on a netbook.


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