Tech

Microsoft continues to work on ReFS, the file system called to replace NTFS in Windows

Of all the old technology that Microsoft has been dragging along for years, one of the elements that does not seem like it will ever get the chance to prove its worth beyond professional environments is the ReFS file system, in which the company has been around for years. But there are again signs of a step forward that points to Windows 11.

Summing up the story, NTFS is the default file system for all versions of Windows. since the appearance on the scene of Windows NT, which this 2023 will be 30 years since its launch. In fact, NTFS came to light a year earlier, in 1992, and since then there is no version of Windows that has not adopted it as its own, from the aforementioned NT series to Windows 05, Windows X or Windows 10 and 11, as well as everything what arose in between.

And it’s not that NTFS is a bad file system, proof of this is that it’s still being used, with much better alternatives; but all the evolution that it brought in its day has been buried by everything that has come after and, today, NTFS is a hindrance, not a technology with a future. Without going any further, the annoying need to defragment hard drives that Windows suffered from has only disappeared -or has been reduced- thanks to the arrival of SSD drives.

Be that as it may, it’s been a long time since Microsoft has prepared its alternative to replace NTFS: ReFS (or Resilient File System, as opposed to NTFS’s New Technology File System). This alternative is so prepared that ReFS was put to the test in production environments with Windows Server 2012. The possibility of using it as a Windows 8 file system was even raised, although the idea was eventually discarded due to…

Windows 11 on ReFS | Image: Windows Latest

Well, because ReFS, even with all the advantages it provides compared to NTFS, also presents some limitations that NTFS does not have. Regarding these advantages and limitations of one or the other file system, this Wikipedia article indicates the main ones, reasons which are still valid today, although Microsoft continues to work on polishing some of the most delicate ones for a desktop operating system, whose requirements and needs are not the same as those of a server.

We put the reference to the Wikipedia article because this file system is a very technically complex issue, as those who use Linux or Unix-type systems know, where both the offer of alternatives and the technology in this regard is more advanced. than in the realm of Windows. However, the signs of a possible change in Windows and the possible adoption of ReFS, it is worth repeating, are ringing again.

This is how they collect it in Windows Latest, where they echo the introduction of support for ReFS in the latest development builds of Windows 11. Which, beware, only means that they are testing, as almost always. But it is not very common to receive news of this type and who knows if they go beyond simply providing support for the new version of your operating system.

After all, what it has been possible to do with versions like Windows 8, but also Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 is to format the storage with ReFS and install the system on top. On your own, yes. Hence the news has its interest. In case you’re wondering, two of the advantages of ReFS over NTS are data availability and storage scalability.

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