5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

Earlier this month, Microsoft introduced the new Windows 10 edition, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations. This brings the total number of Windows 10 editions to seven.

5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

This edition is described by Microsoft as:

“Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is a high-end edition of Windows 10 Pro, with unique support for server grade PC hardware, designed to meet demanding needs of mission critical and compute intensive workloads.”

Among all the Pro features and improvements that the new Win-10-Pro-WS will get, ReFS is one of them. Microsoft is now disabling the ability to create a new ReFS partition in all other editions except the new Workstation one. Microsoft is ending support for ReFS for normal users, only 5 years after it was introduced. Let’s see the top 5 reasons why Microsoft is doing so.

What is ReFS?

ReFS is a file system introduced by Microsoft in 2012 as an alternative to NTFS. It offers improvements such as longer file names and increased resilience to data corruptions in multi disk arrays. However, these new features come at the expense of some basic features.

1. You Can’t Install OS on a ReFS partition

The first limitation of ReFS is that it doesn’t support the installation of any OS, including Windows Server editions. ReFS currently only serves the purpose of storing data. Windows or Linux can’t identify a ReFS drive as bootable.

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5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

2. Limited Compression & Encryption Support

In its current version, ReFS doesn’t support file compression or encryption, and its compatibility with Windows BitLocker is limited compared to NTFS.

5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

Compression and encryption are important features for someone with large amounts of data. Encryption is crucial for protecting sensitive data.

3. Performance Restrictions

ReFS consumes more system resources and has a greater impact on disk IOP than NTFS. In a server environment, this is not a factor, but on a normal PC, it can affect usage.

5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

The larger the ReFS disk array, the more resources it will use to check File Integrity. Here is a detailed comparison of the two file systems.

4. Apps Cannot Be Installed

A ReFS drive does not support installing apps or programs due to the lack of hard link support.

5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

Very few programs allow installation on ReFS disks, and even those that do still experience problems when running.

5. Profits Profits and more Profits

The final reason isn’t technical but relates to business strategy. Similar to how Windows 10 S is exclusively pre-installed on a Surface laptop, Microsoft aims to encourage users to upgrade from Pro to Pro Workstation as a means of boosting sales.

5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

Optimizing an OS for server hardware is a large and costly task. However, disabling features available in an edition is not consumer-friendly.

What To Do If I Have ReFS Drive?

If you already have a disk or VHD formatted in ReFS, your data is safe. Microsoft is disabling the ability to create new ReFS disks, but you can still access ReFS drives. This change only applies with the Fall Creator Update, so you have time to create an ReFS partition.

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5 Reasons Why Microsoft is Removing ReFS from Windows

Microsoft’s belief that general users don’t have much use for ReFS is partly correct. However, it remains to be seen if this marks the beginning of a micro-transactions era under the WaaS policy. Share your views in the comments.

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