Windows 11, Microsoft adds support for ReFS, what is it?

Microsoft is quietly adding support for ReFS to Windows 11. This is not new. ReFS was introduced with Windows Server 2012. ReFS is short for Resilient File System.

It is a proprietary file system developed by Microsoft. It has been around for ten years now. Microsoft explains that its goal is to ” maximize data availability, scale efficiently to large datasets across diverse workloads, and ensure data integrity with resilience to corruption. ยป

To achieve this, this advance improves certain features of the NTFS file system but also removes some. We therefore have major differences between the two file systems.

The ReFS, the highlights

For example, ReFS is capable of handling file and volume sizes up to 35 petabytes where NTFS is limited to 256 terabytes. One petabyte equals 1024 terabytes. ReFS stands out with exclusive features such as Block clone, Sparse VDL, Mirror-accelerated parity or File-level snapshots.

Block clone converts physical file copy operations into logical operations. This advance results in faster processing, and a reduction in system resource requirements, particularly on the I/O (input/output) side.

In the same spirit Sparse VDL reduces the creation time of fixed virtual hard disks. For its part, Mirror-accelerated parity works to ensure high performance and capacity-efficient storage, while File-level snapshots allow the creation of a new file containing the data and attributes of a source file.

Wikipedia clarifies that ReFS does not support named streams, object IDs, 8.3 filenames, NTFS compression, Encrypting File System (EFS), transactional NTFS, hard links, extended attributes, and disk quotas. Finally Windows cannot be booted from a ReFS volume.

Windows 11 and ReFS.

This addition of ReFS was done discreetly so that some information is not known. The discovery was made through a version Windows 11 Professional. However, ReFS may only be possible with certain editions. We can cite the Enterprise, Education and Workstation editions for example.

Note that there is no tool to convert a unit in NTFS format to ReFS. This means that you have to choose ReFS during the initial disk configuration. To activate its support, you must use the ViVeTool utility ID42189933. This concerns only Windows 11 previews released as part of the Windows Insider program.

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