Windows 8.1 build 9369 includes ReFS support

With the leak of build Windows 8.1 9369, we have another look into the development of the platform as Microsoft marches towards what is expected to be a late summer release of the platform, and a preview release in late June. We have already seen a few enhancements such as the File manager and trackpad settings and it now looks like we will also see ReFS support for the client.

The image you see above is from the latest leaked build of 8.1 and it clearly shows that ReFS support is present in 9369. Now, Microsoft could pull the support for the file system before launch of the platform but as of now, it is looking like the updated file system will make its way to Windows 8.1.

What is ReFS? Well, it's a file system that made its debut back in 2012 and builds upon NTFS. The platform brings enhanced support for large volumes and improved reliability for on-disk structures. In addition, the platform ties into existing APIs and "ReFS supports existing Windows and NTFS features such as BitLocker encryption, Access Control Lists, USN Journal, change notifications".

While this change will not bring many noticeable improvements to the end user, it's an enhancement to the underlying technology that will deliver improved stability and performance which the end user can appreciate.

While we hope to see this file system make its way in to the release of Windows 8.1, anything can change before launch. 

Source: Windows4Live | Wikipedia

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ReFS was present in Windows 8 previews but removed from final build - it is present only in the Server versions, but it does not have boot support - at that time it was said that boot support will apear in Windows 9.
I already have ReFS in my 8 Pro as it's extremely simple to install the files from Server version in 8.

However, have you noticed the default cluster size for an ReFS volume (65,536 bytes)? Yeesh - that is far bigger than the default for an NTFS volume (4,096 bytes), let alone the floor (512 bytes). That is why it looks to be intended for disk arrays (which can't use standard disk-management tools anyway) as opposed to more ordinary/simple volumes (which, if at all feasible, should use the smallest cluster size possible).

Warboy said,
Windows 8.1 will not install onto a ReFS partition [from what I've tested so far]

Correct.
There is a deep dive from the build 2011 conference which talks about the timeline for enabling the OS to use ReFS as boot partition.

Server 2012 R2 or Server2014 (aka windows 9).

Warboy said,
Windows 8.1 will not install onto a ReFS partition [from what I've tested so far]

ReFS does not yet have hard links. And WinSxS relies on hardlinks.

(There are also a bunch of other missing features. Remember that ReFS is still in version 1, or I suppose now it's in version 1.1.)

Precisely. While Server 2012 (available today) supports it; however, what would be the point of making it available on the client? Even NTFS support on clients didn't make sense until LARGER HDDs became old hat. The bigger reason ReFS is available on servers is because it allows for better management of arrays than standard NTFS. A better option for clients is to use 512-byte NTFS cluster sizes to reduce volume slack space, as opposed to the 4K (4096 for the picky)-byte clusters standard with NTFS - this has been an option with NTFS for over a decade! (It became an option with NTFS 4, in NT 4 Workstation and Server, and is supported by every NT-based Windows since, including 8 and Server 2012. The problem is that it has to be done pre-install, and thus adds extra steps; therefore, it's typically something only those that dual-boot would do. My Server 2012 HDD (formatted from 8 beforehand) uses the 512-byte cluster size, and is considerably smaller than my 8 partition (80 GB vs. 931 GB formatted size). If it were possible, I'd format my 8 HDD in the smaller cluster size for the same reason I did my 2012 partition - slack-space reduction.

deadonthefloor said,

Go read the blogposts listed by a couple of us above.

So I guess 'no' and a new install must be taken place.

Quoted below:

Q) Can I convert data between NTFS and ReFS?

In Windows 8 there is no way to convert data in place. Data can be copied. This was an intentional design decision given the size of data sets that we see today and how impractical it would be to do this conversion in place, in addition to the likely change in architected approach before and after conversion.

kiddingguy said,

So I guess 'no' and a new install must be taken place.

Quoted below:

Q) Can I convert data between NTFS and ReFS?

In Windows 8 there is no way to convert data in place. Data can be copied. This was an intentional design decision given the size of data sets that we see today and how impractical it would be to do this conversion in place, in addition to the likely change in architected approach before and after conversion.


You cannot boot an OS from a ReFS partition. I assume you want to do that as you say a new install must take place?

ReFS another name for the same thing "NTFS"

Businesses have to buy a Windows Server license to store their files in NTFS/ReFS

But because these file systems are not good, they should also Buy SQL Server to store their files in a database, and that database stores the files in the NTFS/ReFS

And because it is not easy to store the files directly to the database, business should by SharePoint, which connects Word and Excel to the background SQL Server that has the database to store the files in.

And because storing the files in SQL server is too slow, business should by connectors to SharePoint to exclude the files from SQL Server and stored them again in NTFS/ReFS but look like they are stored in SQL Server

As long as Microsoft is making money from the stupidity above and can find someone to pay them, ReFS will not have anything better than NTFS

john.smith_2084 said,
[...]

wat.

SQL Server isn't made for storing files - hence the FILESTREAM option used (and recommended for large files in SharePoint). This doesn't cost money.

SharePoint isn't made to "make storing files in SQL Server more easily" but to facilitate content management, metadata, collaboration, accessibility.

I understand you're trolling but many ignorant people reading your post might think you know what you're talking about.

Careful when using ReFS it killed my three 4TB disks I had connected to my Server 2012. They died one after another in a matter of a few hours. I have no clue why or what this filesystem does that is causing this. The same disk where running fine under NTFS for about 3 months prior to upgrading my servers storage system to ReFS.

ctrl_alt_delete said,
I can test. What make and model drives were you using?
Unless you are astroturfing
3x HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 HUS724040ALE640
Configured as Storage Space - Strip Set - ReFS

Apart from extended power failure killing my partitions (vhdx files still recoverable) I've had no problems with ReFS on a 5*3TB and a separate 4*4TB array.

Two REFS arrays on hardware RAID 10 tb and 5 tb no issues since launch and its survived many a power failure with nothing more than a rebuild needed

Killed the disk, as in they never worked again? Probably a PSU problem, it should not be possible to kill a disk from the OS, unless the OS and HDD firmware are severely flawed.

Shhhh.. Let all the sheep install it and then when their data goes poof maybe they'll think twice about assuming every change MS makes must be good and something they have to have without further consideration

MVD said,
Shhhh.. Let all the sheep install it and then when their data goes poof maybe they'll think twice about assuming every change MS makes must be good and something they have to have without further consideration

STFU you have never used it, nor have you ever used server 2012...

MVD said,
Shhhh.. Let all the sheep install it and then when their data goes poof maybe they'll think twice about assuming every change MS makes must be good and something they have to have without further consideration

Well that's awfully nice of you!

I think I'll go look for Build 9369 now, install it, and let you know if anything goes wrong.

UXGaurav said,
In Server 2012, ReFS is a terrible incomplete implementation that omits more than 50% of NTFS features: http://windowsitpro.com/window...pport-refs-does-not-support and their scary ReFS blog post on the B8 blog said they had no plans to port all NTFS features to it.

If you need NTFS features for some reason, you can still use NTFS. It's not like they are gonna remove support for NTFS. Also, I assume ReFS wasn't made to replace NTFS in all use cases (for example, NTFS is still the system you'll be using for your boot drive and portable hard drives).

UXGaurav said,
In Server 2012, ReFS is a terrible incomplete implementation that omits more than 50% of NTFS features: http://windowsitpro.com/window...pport-refs-does-not-support and their scary ReFS blog post on the B8 blog said they had no plans to port all NTFS features to it.

You'll tend to find that many of the features omitted are features that were never actuall used or if used they're really of no uses today - hence you'll find that if developers read the documentation they've been persuaded to move away from said technologies in favour of using other API's. Btw, what they're doing with ReFS is no different than what Apple is doing with Core Storage and HFS+.

Like disk quota's etc the only thing that's needed badly is support for the new server 2012 file and storage services features like replication.

Read support has been in Windows 8 since it released. Creation of ReFS partitions was limited to Server 2012 -- as noted above.

torrentthief said,
I guess windows 8.1 is becoming what windows 8 should have been in the first place instead of the half baked shiny turd that it is.
I don't see how this is relevant to the shininess of Win8 considering this is a new FS and most consumer disk related products don't support it YET.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Windows Server 8 already has it and MS have said consumer versions of Windows will eventually get ReFS so i wont be too surprised if this is in the final Windows 8.1.

You mean Server 2012?

This is the first time I have heard if refs! I wonder if it will succeed ntfs? If we change to a new filesystem that be extremely problematic for legacy Windows programs and games. It would have to be compatible with ntfs then!

All the custom defrag and partition managers cant handle it, Games wouldn't be an issue since its for data drives not boot drives.

Absolutely, by all means install it as soon as possible; Ignore all the reports of how broken and incomplete it is with people losing data after volume became inaccessible and no recovery tools exist. Those reports are just haters.

Microsoft change must always be good, metro has taught us that

MVD said,
Absolutely, by all means install it as soon as possible; Ignore all the reports of how broken and incomplete it is with people losing data after volume became inaccessible and no recovery tools exist. Those reports are just haters.

20 years ago, it was NTFS that was the new filesystem, with volumes getting corrupted and no recovery tools available.

Every file system has to be new at some point. Resilience to corruption does not mean total immunity. And when it does become corrupt, of course it won't have as many recovery tools as the old one. Those tools haven't been written yet!

That's how progress happens. Two steps forward, one step back.

My file system got corrupted with ReFS (been using since 2012 launch) and ReclaiMe worked fine recovering. ReFS works great as long as you have a UPS and other methods of preventing power failures. I had recently upgraded my Hyper-V host and forgotten to set up the UPS auto-shutdown on it.

Main thing to note, chkdsk doesn't support ReFS.

Fred 69 said,
My file system got corrupted with ReFS (been using since 2012 launch) and ReclaiMe worked fine recovering. ReFS works great as long as you have a UPS and other methods of preventing power failures. I had recently upgraded my Hyper-V host and forgotten to set up the UPS auto-shutdown on it.

The promise of ReFS is that it's supposed to be resilient to power-loss -- even in the middle of a write. So clearly that part has still not been fully worked out yet.

But that's why Microsoft released ReFS -- but only for use on secondary volumes. They've already tested it internally, but this is never good enough for a filesystem, even if they use traces from a real machine. There are simply too many ways for a filesystem to be used, and any amount of artificial testing is still not enough. It has to be out in the real world, experiencing all sorts of random scenarios, to turn up all the corner cases.

This is mostly accurate. Since the volumes can't be created by Win 8, you'd have to format the volume on Server 2012, then install Win 8 from the pre-formatted volume rather than create it from the Win 8 installation process.

This isn't very likely to happen, and it might even be impossible, considering that the WinPE might not support ReFS -- which would be required to install to it.