Windows 8 file system gets upgraded, named ReFS

Windows 8 fans will have heard about Protogon at some point. The new file system has been spotted lurking in developer builds, but details are a little on the murky side. The important facts are these: disks can only be formatted in Protogon from the command line, Windows 7 and earlier can't read it, and it shares a lot of features with NTFS.

It looks like from here on out Protogon is no more. WinUnleaked has found that latest builds have removed Protogon support and replaced it with a new file system. Be prepared to hear "ReFS" a lot from now on, as this new system is better supported than Protogon ever was. For a start, the disk formatting utility actually lists it as an option.

At the moment, Windows 8's installer doesn't play nice with ReFS. Users are told that the system can only be installed on NTFS-formatted drives. It's entirely possible that installation isn't supported because the feature is incomplete though, so at this stage it's hard to say how finished versions of Windows 8 will treat ReFS drives.

Signs are pointing to Windows 8 seeing a 2012 release. At this stage in development, ReFS could stick as a final name: it's short, simple and easy to remember. The question now is when Microsoft will release some details on the new system.

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Joey S said,
That's incorrect. In terms of the fragmentation to used space ratio, NTFS is probably the worst file system currently in use. You only need to do a fresh install of Windows itself to see that the NTFS file system is immediately highly fragmented.

That's the Win32 NTFS driver's fault, not NTFS's.


-The average Joe doesn't care about data integrity ; if somehow one of his holiday pictures has one odd pixel, he won't notice it. ZFS's data integrity features are useful for data centers, not PCs.
-JBOD has no point for your average Joe. Remember, he only has one hard drive...plus maybe one backup drive.
-ZFS can address disks that cannot be created, unlike NTFS which is technically limited by its 64 bit addressing....well...we'll talk about that the day we have exabyte drives.
-ZFS uses checksums and fancy things that take up hard drive space to maintain data integrity...how nice. Joe called, he wants you to explain why his hard drive suddenly lost a tenth of its capacity.
-The rest is mostly technical stuff.

Aethec said,

-The average Joe doesn't care about data integrity ; if somehow one of his holiday pictures has one odd pixel, he won't notice it. ZFS's data integrity features are useful for data centers, not PCs.

I feel I have to object: yes, they do care. A broken pixel in an image is surely a sign of catastrophic failure - a broken pixel is not far off a completely broken file. But, I'm not sure that's much of a differentiating factor to NTFS, because it's not like people actually get those issues much.

Kirkburn said,

I feel I have to object: yes, they do care. A broken pixel in an image is surely a sign of catastrophic failure - a broken pixel is not far off a completely broken file. But, I'm not sure that's much of a differentiating factor to NTFS, because it's not like people actually get those issues much.

If a file is corrupt, ZFS will be able to say "hey, your file is broken".
Then what? Either it's not visible (e.g. broken pixel in file) and the user will not notice it and think the OS is acting weird, or it's visible (e.g. completely corrupt file) and the user will have lost data and blame the OS.

MiukuMac said,

Except NTFS has been proven time after time again to be slower (than ext4) _and_ has much heavier fragmentation after extended period of use. You should also compare things like Ext4 disk checking vs NTFS when the structure is damaged and which is easier to recover/repair.

Or shall we take out ZFS and compare that to NTFS? Makes NTFS look pretty laughable in comparison.

The performance differences are bit over stated.

As for comparing ZFS to NTFS, it is laughable, as ZFS is good theory, horrible implementation.

As for feature to feature comparison, when ZFS was started, it had some gains on NTFS, but with the changes in Vista/Win7, there are truly few advantages to ZFS, for example the 16EiB size advantage that NTFS also supports now.

Addtitionally because of the duality nature of NTFS's model, it supports things ZFS does not and probably will not. These can be important things that deal with things like Compression and other higher layer features of NTFS that do not exist in ZFS.

If you go by the FS comparison guides on most sites like Wiki, it will show that NTFS doesn't support things like last archive timestamps; however, this is a bit misleading as some of these 'features' are irrelevant on NTFS especially when running under NT. Specifically, even look at 'block journaling' which is misleading, as NTFS is essentially doing block journaling, but in a different way. I think the Wiki Site eventually put a * on this for NTFS, but it is still misleading to try to define NTFS by technical defintions of other traditional FS technology terminology. Another example 'Allocate on Flush'... Windows does this on NTFS, but it is not a part of NTFS's specific feature set.

ZFS in theory has promise, but outside of Sun/Oracle's marketing spin, it some super FS beyond the reach of NTFS. Just as the Vista release of NT and the NTFS additions, there is not many concrete reasons Microsoft cannot provide an equal and full complimentary feature set to ZFS - the only limitations are in write structures, which is where the new FS technology Microsoft is working with probably is playing a role in advancing NTFS, as it still behaves and works much like NTFS as a FS model.

thenetavenger

Addtitionally because of the duality nature of NTFS's model, it supports things ZFS does not and probably will not. These can be important things that deal with things like Compression and other higher layer features of NTFS that do not exist in ZFS.

ZFS in theory has promise, but outside of Sun/Oracle's marketing spin, it some super FS beyond the reach of NTFS. Just as the Vista release of NT and the NTFS additions, there is not many concrete reasons Microsoft cannot provide an equal and full complimentary feature set to ZFS - the only limitations are in write structures, which is where the new FS technology Microsoft is working with probably is playing a role in advancing NTFS, as it still behaves and works much like NTFS as a FS model.

Wow. I don't really know where to start here.

ZFS and NTFS just aren't comparable at all, aside from the fact that they are both filesystems.

ZFS is massive in every sense, and amazing in its implementation. NTFS is simple and light in comparison.

For example, you need gigs and gigs of memory to take advantage of ZFS properly. We're running 12GB RAM and a 24TB dataset and could use more RAM really (probably double).

It supports in-line transparent compression and de-duping.
It has checksumming and software raid 6 support (known as raidz2) with hot spares, separate log drives (ZIL) for accelerated writes and read cache drives (L2ARC) for accelerated reads.
It also has realtime, transparent snap-shotting not to mention iSCSI target support, etc.

It's proper enterprise grade storage that can rival real SAN appliances but in actual fact the real beauty of it is in the simple administration. It is a pleasure to use, a world away from hardware RAID and SANs.

To compare NTFS to it is simply ludicrous.

It's weird, in the GNU/Linux/FOSS world, we have so many new file systems coming out all the time, it's hard to keep up btrfs looks like it could be the next contender after ext4.

Joey S said,
It's weird, in the GNU/Linux/FOSS world, we have so many new file systems coming out all the time, it's hard to keep up btrfs looks like it could be the next contender after ext4.

Because they are free software. So they can carelessly test these kinds of things whenever they want. But Microsoft can't do it. Billion of people depend on it. Windows is not a toy.

tuneslover said,

Because they are free software. So they can carelessly test these kinds of things whenever they want. But Microsoft can't do it. Billion of people depend on it. Windows is not a toy.

Pre-Service Pack 1 Vista users might disagree with you.

Joey S said,

Pre-Service Pack 1 Vista users might disagree with you.

No. Did you get it through Automatic Windows Update? I guess you did not.

Joey S said,

Pre-Service Pack 1 Vista users might disagree with you.

No. Did you get it through Automatic Windows Update? I guess you did not.

1) Why not consider that it may be the official name for the Paragon codename d FS, in a new unfinished state? (it sounded like a codename coming from MS)
Yeah that may seem like a lot of guesses but i find it farfetched that they would have developed 2 file systems in the cycle of a single OS version.
2) How come we haven't seen complaints on the old disk usage pie graphic yet?! I'm surprised.
3) In the end I'm glad that some big basics are being rethought, even if i don't agree with metro for desktop usage with or without touchscreens. Microsoft didn't use to be so daring.

My three cents

blade1269 said,
Dont reall care about a new file system JUSt Fix the user permissions in windows... So many errors...

OSX user? What problems do you have with Window's ACLs?

SK[ said,]Stupid water mark right across the part where it mentions ReFS.

Considering that its Microsoft intellectual property, they should not be water marking it. Steve Sinofsky should find them and delete them. The recycle bin their @$$

The only thing I'm actually liking of this is the ability with the Microsoft Xbox console. For now, the 360 only spots FAT which sucks, no more than 4GB files can be read by the system.

Hope that ReFS and the new Win8 integration to their system give us the ability to actually playback so desired file sizes.

It looks like there's much less metadata in "ReFS".
An empty 30GB NTFS volume has 90.6 MB of used space (I'm no expert but most of it must be the MFT).

Okay, I'm now even more convinced Protogon... sorry, I mean, "ReFS," is WinFS. ReLATIONALFS. & for the usual, "HURR DURR WINFS WASN'T A FILE SYSTEM," people, need I remind you about OFS?

MASTER260 said,
Okay, I'm now even more convinced Protogon... sorry, I mean, "ReFS," is WinFS. ReLATIONALFS. & for the usual, "HURR DURR WINFS WASN'T A FILE SYSTEM," people, need I remind you about OFS?

That's not the name of it, actually the Re in ReFS seems to stand for Resilient FS and will be a server OS feature. So in the end it'll be in Win8 Server and not on the desktop it seems.

GP007 said,

That's not the name of it, actually the Re in ReFS seems to stand for Resilient FS and will be a server OS feature. So in the end it'll be in Win8 Server and not on the desktop it seems.


I typed that before it was reported. BTW, winrumors said that, "sources familiar with the company's plans," said it, doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

EDIT: Also, as I've said before, Protogon was in leaked client builds.

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