Windows 11 is the latest version of the popular operating system from Microsoft. One of the key new features in this release is support for ReFS, or Resilient File System. This advanced file system is designed to provide improved performance, reliability, and data integrity for large-scale storage solutions.
What Is ReFS?
Resilient File System (ReFS) is a file system developed by Microsoft that was first introduced in Windows Server 2012. It is designed to be a replacement for the older NTFS file system and offers a number of advanced features that make it more suitable for certain types of storage solutions. ReFS uses advanced algorithms to detect and correct data corruption in real time, and it also supports large files and volumes, data deduplication, data mirroring, and virtualization. Additionally, ReFS allows for the creation of storage spaces, which are virtual disks that can be used to combine multiple physical storage devices into a single logical storage pool. It is designed to improve the performance, reliability, and data integrity of storage systems.
Why ReFS Is An Optimal File System?
ReFS provides support for large files and volumes. NTFS has a maximum file size of 16 TB and a maximum volume size of 256 TB. ReFS, on the other hand, supports files up to 16 exabytes and volumes up to 1 yottabyte. That’s huge, right?
This makes it ideal for use in large-scale storage solutions such as data centers and cloud storage. ReFS has built-in support for data deduplication, which can help to reduce the amount of storage space required. This feature works by identifying and removing duplicate data, which can help to save space on storage devices.
ReFS supports virtualization as well. This allows for multiple virtual machines to share the same storage space, which can help to reduce the amount of storage space required. These virtual disks can be used to combine multiple physical storage devices into a single logical storage pool. This makes it easy to create large, highly available storage solutions.
NTFS vs ReFS: Head-To-Head Comparison
NTFS (New Technology File System) and ReFS (Resilient File System) are two of the most popular options available on the Windows operating system. Both file systems have their own unique features and advantages, making it difficult to determine which one is the better option. Let’s compare NTFS and ReFS and discuss their key features, benefits, and use cases to help you decide which file system is best for your needs.
- NTFS is the default file system for Windows operating systems and has been in use for over two decades. While ReFS was first introduced in Windows Server 2012.
- NTFS supports file sizes up to 16 TB and volume sizes up to 256 TB. On the other hand, ReFS supports file sizes up to 16 exabytes and volume sizes up to 1 yottabyte.
- NTFS does not have any built-in data corruption detection and correction capabilities. Meanwhile, ReFS uses advanced algorithms to detect and correct data corruption in real time.
- NTFS offers robust features such as file and folder permissions, encryption, and compression. ReFS, however, offers advanced features such as data deduplication, data mirroring, and virtualization support.
- NTFS is supported by most third-party software and tools. Contradictory, ReFS is a newer file system that may not be as widely supported by third-party software and tools.
- NTFS is a mature and stable file system that is ideal for most storage needs. Meanwhile, ReFS is ideal for large-scale storage solutions where data integrity is of the utmost importance.
- NTFS does not support features like space-efficient snapshots. However, ReFS supports features like space-efficient snapshots.
- NTFS does not support features like data tiering. But ReFS does support features like data tiering.
- NTFS does not support features like online data scrubbing. When it comes to ReFS, it supports features like online data scrubbing
- NTFS does not support features like storage pools. While ReFS supports features like storage pools.
ReFS Compatibility In Windows 11
Windows 11 operating system will include support for ReFS as a new option, but it may only be available in certain editions such as Enterprise, Education, and Workstation. However, it has been reported that a Pro version of Windows 11 also has this support. Additionally, it is likely that ReFS can only be chosen during initial setup and not while the system is running due to the lack of direct NTFS to ReFS conversion. Windows 11 administrators can enable ReFS on Insider builds using ViVeTool and ID 42189933, but it is recommended to create a full system backup before installing Windows 11 on ReFS.
How To Install Windows 11 on ReFS
Microsoft is in the process of developing the ability to format a drive to ReFS during the Windows 11 setup process. This allows the operating system to run on the latest file system. The feature is currently under development and not publicly available. However, some tech enthusiasts have found a way to activate it and have successfully installed Windows 11 on a ReFS partition. Let’s examine the process of installing Windows 11 on a ReFS partition.
With the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft eliminated the option to format drives to ReFS for consumer versions. This limited it to only “workstation pro” and Enterprise editions. However, Windows 11 Build 25281 has included support for ReFS as a target file system for the system drive. Although it is currently hidden and not officially listed in the release notes.
Enabling velocity ID 42189933 in the component store allowed Twitter users @XenoPanther and @PhantomOfEarth to install Windows 11 on ReFS directly. The screenshots are attached below:
They stated that the installation process was smooth, but they encountered a green screen of death.
However, here’s how to enable support for ReFS during the Windows Setup process.
- Download ViveTool from GitHub.
- Extract the app to the “c:\vivetool” folder.
- Open the Terminal as an Administrator by pressing Win + X and selecting “Terminal (Admin)“.
- Type in the command:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id 42189933.
- Restart Windows 11.
- Double-click the ISO file of your Windows 11 (build 25281 or above). If you don’t have one, you can download here.
- In the File Explorer window that opens, double-click setup.exe file and proceed with the installation. Make sure to select the ReFS partition as the target drive for the operating system.
You’re all set!
At present, ReFS support is not available in the official version of Windows 11 and it is primarily intended for specific use cases. NTFS will remain the primary file system and it is unlikely that it will be replaced by ReFS in the near future. However, having the option to use ReFS can provide additional choices for users and organizations. If you like living on the edge you may give it a go and share your experience.