ReFS is the new Windows 8’s file system, Microsoft explains what to expect

ReFS - Windows 8 File System

Microsoft explains Windows 8’s new file system, ReFS, or “Resilient File System.” In the past, the company talked about ReFS, and now they are implementing it.

The software giant has designed ReFS from the ground up to meet storage needs and overcome limitations from today and tomorrow. ReFS can handle large capacity volumes, share storage pools with different systems, and has resiliency to corruption. In the beginning, the next-generation file system will only be available on Windows Server 8 and only for data storage file systems, meaning servers won’t be able to boot from it, nor can it be used in removable storage media. As the technology behind ReFS evolves, Microsoft will eventually make the file system capable so Windows can boot from it.

At launch, Windows 8—the client version—won’t have this feature, but the company plans to make the new file system available for Windows users in the future.

ReFS was built from the ground up, but it is based on NTFS—the current Windows file system—and this has been done on purpose to maintain compatibility between the two. 

As you may have heard, Microsoft recently unveiled Storage Spaces, and now, with ReFS, they are working together to complete an overhaul of the storage solution in Windows 8. Users can expect from ReFS: detection of all forms of disk corruption with self-recovery, support for performance with data stripping, and an allocate on write model, a.k.a copy-on-write — this is a concept that the software maker has been using on its SQL Server products and in Shadow Copy Windows service for a long time, which will add the ability to create a rapid snapshot of a large data set.

The next-generation file system ReFS is only going to be part of Windows Server 8, but the company made it clear that Windows 8 will be able to access and read ReFS volumes.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].