We wish we knew exactly what's in store here, but we've found some exciting tidbits in Windows 8 that indicate that Microsoft's top-secret new filesystem -- Protogon -- is finally coming to fruition as part of Windows 8.
If you've been following closely, we saw Protogon first come about back in June when a screenshot surfaced showing a drive with the file system "protogon" as the type. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet also reported about the technology in May, and found that Protogon looked like "a kernel mode driver for some sort of (yet unknown) file system called Protogon. It's unclear, whether this is a major new file system or just some minor subsystem."
On top of this, Rafael Rivera of Within Windows discovered that the technology "seems to incorporate database-like concepts like transactions, cursors, rows and tables" which sounds oddly familiar to the failed WinFS project that was meant to ship with Vista. Neowin decided to dig deeper in Windows 8 and uncovered evidence that the technology is there, but locked down right now.
In the developer preview of Windows 8, references to Protogon exist in the registry, especially in reference to "boot file system" as well as folders containing libraries for Protogon. We even managed to get the "format" utility in Windows 8 to attempt to format the drive in the Protogon format, and it recognized the file system type. A blog in Russian managed to format a drive into the Protogon format, and said that after some analysis, they were able to conclude that the format has some similarities to NTFS right now, but does not operate in the same way at all.
Steve Sinofsky said today that most of the new stuff in Windows 8 is disabled right now. Here's hoping someone will figure out how to unlock the hidden features.