Windows computers are preformatted to NTFS, including storage drives in laptops, external hard drives and USB sticks. Microsoft could be planning to introduce ReFS (a new file system) to replace NTFS on specific systems, according to references found in the latest Windows 11 preview build.
Before discussing the new ReFS file system, let’s understand what NTFS is. The NT file system (NTFS) was developed by Microsoft in 1992 and can be used on licensed systems. NTFS is native and is the default file system of Windows 11, Windows 10 or older.
You can check your file system by going to “This PC” and right-clicking on any disk, preferably the Windows disk. You will see “NTFS” next to the file system, as shown in the screenshot below from our Windows 10 device. The results are also similar on Windows 11 PCs.
The latest preview builds of Windows 11 include support for ReFS, the Resilient File System, Microsoft’s latest file system, currently used in Windows Servers. Unlike NTFS, ReFS is significantly better in data availability and scalability.
According to Microsoft documentation“it is designed to maximize data availability, scale efficiently to large datasets across diverse workloads, and provide data integrity with resilience to corruption.”
The resilient file system is better than NTFS in many ways, including storage and future innovation. For example, NTFS supports up to 256 terabytes. On the other hand, this new file system supports up to 35 petabytes. The difference is huge when you look at the conversion factor: one petabyte is equal to 1024 terabytes.
We don’t know if this feature could spell the end of NTFS, but there’s a possibility that some Windows 11 Enterprise or Business computers ship with ReFS as the default file system.
That’s because several benefits of ReFS will benefit enterprises and professionals, including a feature that turns expensive physical file copy operations into fast logical operations. Another feature improves performance and reduces I/O.
Other features include mirror-accelerated parity, file-level snapshots, and better security.
However, ReFS is not as good as it looks on paper. It currently has no features supported by NTFS, including support for system compression and encryption. Disk quota and removable media support is also lacking in ReFS, making it a deal breaker for consumer PCs.