Time Machine backup to NTFS without installing anything

Here’s a way to use an NTFS drive for Time Machine backups, even though it is used for other purposes too.

Find out the NTFS drive volume’s UUID:

diskutil info /Volumes/DRIVENAME | grep UUID

Put this in fstab: (Replace ENTED_UUID_HERE with the one you found from the previous command.)

sudo echo "UUID=ENTER_UUID_HERE none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse" >> /etc/fstab

Eject, plug out and back in. MAKE SURE THE DRIVE WAS SAFELY REMOVED FROM WINDOWS, or it will not mount RW in Mac (See dmesg when plugging in).

Find your RW mounted volume

open /Volumes

Now we will create a Mac OS disk image on the NTFS volume.

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Click New Image
  3. Select a large enough size
  4. Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  5. Partitions: Single Partition - Apple Partition Map
  6. When done, mount this image

Now we will tell Time Machine to use this disk. It does not show up in the list of available drives, so we will use a command:

sudo tmutil setdestination /Volumes/MOUNTED-DISK-IMAGE

(Replace MOUNTED-DISK-IMAGE with the disk image you created, NOT the NTFS drive)

Now just test backing up and see that it works.


I use this for backing up to my NAS via SMB/NFS