Windows 11 now allows in-place upgrades on ReFS setups

Windows 11 is getting closer to fully supporting ReFS and ditching NTFS.

Windows 11 ReFS in-place upgrade
Windows 11 ReFS in-place upgrade / Image: Xeno
  • Windows 11 using ReFS can now process in-place upgrades.
  • The new installation support is available starting on build 25931 and higher releases.

On Windows 11, it’s now possible to perform in-place upgrades on setups using the Resilient File System (ReFS) without failures during the process. Microsoft quietly expanded support for installing Windows 11 using ReFS in January 2023. However, in-place upgrades were not possible, which meant that if you wanted to upgrade the system, you needed to perform a clean installation, but this is changing starting with build 25931.

According to a post for Xeno on X (Twitter) (via Neowin), starting on Windows 11 build 25931 available through the Canary Channel, it is now possible to launch and process an in-place upgrade through a USB installation media or run the setup from an ISO file.

ReFS is a file system that Microsoft has been working on for many years. The company originally introduced the file system technology in 2012 as an optional choice for secondary drives on Windows Server 2012, and it was not until recent releases of Windows 11 that the company integrated ReFS into the desktop version of the operating system through the new Dev Drive feature.

Dev Drive is a feature that allows developers to create regular and virtual storage using the Resilient File System (ReFS) with custom file system optimizations, Microsoft Defender Antivirus in performance mode, and features to enable better management of performance and security profile.

The file system was designed to overcome the limitations of the NT File System (NTFS), which was first introduced in 1993 as part of the Windows NT 3.1 release. In a nutshell, ReFS is based on NTFS but with many improvements and the ability to manage large amounts of data. The new file system tackles several specific points, including compatibility, high availability, data integrity, resiliency, and scalability.

Officially, ReFS is only available through Dev Drive for secondary drives. However, unofficially, it’s also possible to install Windows 11 using ReFS instead of NTFS, and with the availability to perform in-place upgrades, the company is getting closer to fully supporting the file system on the desktop version of the operating system.

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 15 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 21 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].