How to disable or enable ReFS or Resilient File System on Windows 10

Since the time NTFS was devised and formulated in the Windows OS, data storage requirements have drastically changed. There was a dire need for a next-generation file system which could work well and take care of the issues which were present in NTFS. That’s when Microsoft called the shots and developed ReFS (Resilient File System) back in 2012 – and was introduced in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012. ReFS was designed to maximize the data availability and reliability even if the concerned storage devices experienced a hardware failure.

ReFS or Resilient File System

Ever since storage devices came into play, the requirement of storage space has increased exponentially. Even multi-terabytes of storage devices are common these days. Hence, a need for persistently reliable structure kept cropping up simultaneously. ReFS has an architecture that is designed to work well with extremely large data sets without any performance impact. In this guide, we will see how to enable or disable the ReFS File System in Windows 10 and try to format a drive using it, but before that let’s have a look at some key features of this stately file system.

In this article, we will talk about the features of the Resilient File System and see how to enable or disable the ReFS File System in Windows Server operating system, and try to format the drive using this file system.

Features of Resilient File System

Data Availability: ReFS File System proliferates data availability by showing resiliency to the data corruption or failures. Automatic data integrity checks help keep ReFS online, and you hardly suffer any volume down time.

Tensile Scalability: Requirements for increased amount and size of the data keeps surging up with the changing technology. ReFS puts forth the ability to challenge extremely large data sets and work well with it without any performance issues.

Acute Error Correction: ReFS File System comes coupled with an automatic data integrity scanner known as Scrubber which periodically scans the data volume, identifies the potential corrupt sectors and process them for a repair.

UPDATE: Pls read comments below first before you proceed. Dan Gul says: Post anniversary update this will basically render the system unusable AND one still won’t be able to format in ReFS.

Which file system does Windows 10 use

If it is a standard default installation, the OS uses the NTFS structures. With a failed Windows 10 operating system with Storage Space enabled, it is the ReFS + NTFS file systems.

Enable ReFS File System on Windows 10

Now that you know that ReFS came into existence to cope up with the limitations of the NTFS File System let’s take a look at how you can enable it on your Windows 10 system and use it to format an external drive.

Before proceeding with the changes, please make sure to create a system restore point. If any issue comes up in future, then you can use this restore point to roll back the changes.

1. Press Windows Key + R on your keyboard to launch Run prompt. Type regedit.exe and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.

2. Navigate to the below path on the left side pane of Registry Editor.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

3. Create a DWORD and name it RefsDisableLastAccessUpdate. Set its value as 1 to enable it.

How to enable/disable ReFS File System in Windows 10

4. Up next, navigate to the below path in left side pane.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MiniNT

5. If the key MiniNT doesn’t exist, you can create it using Right-click > New >Key.

Now under this key, create a new DWORD and name it as AllowRefsFormatOverNonmirrorVolume and set its value as 1 to enable it.

How to enable/disable ReFS File System in Windows 10

6. Sign out and sign in again to make the changes effective. Now you can plug in an external device and choose ReFS file system to format it. Also, you can open the Properties leaf of any drive to see what File System it is associated with.

How to enable/disable ReFS File System in Windows 10

You can read more about ReFS or Resilient File System on Technet.

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Driven by my immense passion for Windows & other Microsoft technologies, I love to keep myself abreast of the latest strides and swings in the world of technology. I am fond of traveling to mountains & love to help others with their technical or non-technical setbacks.

7 Comments

  1. jjstccean

    Great thank you. Though, if formatting a drive as ReFS will it be compatible on Windows 7?

  2. Darshan

    It should! Provided that the drive in question has its file system type as ReFS. You can confirm that from Properties window (Press Alt+Enter after selecting the drive).

  3. jjstccean

    I’m having problems when doing those two steps in my windows registry. Suddenly the windows restore point is having a problem and can’t start. I’ve disabled the two settings, done a restart but no avail. How can I fix this.

  4. jjstccean

    Yes, probably I was more gullible than taking precautionary measures before implementing these settings in Windows 10. Even though the article warns to create a restore point. I would just like to mention about a problem I was faced with and which had me in a mad spin. A day or so after I implemented the settings I’ve been faced with a “System Protection Property Window” was grayed out and faced with this error prompt: System Restore encountered an error 0x81000203. No matter what I tried, turning on Volume Shadow Copy, Task Scheduler & Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider Services – the problem remained. I had the problem on two computers. It then occurred to that I should try and set the refs’ setting to 0 and try again. Still the problem remains. I then completely removed, deleted the refs entries from the Registry at which stage the problem was solved.

    Please understand, I’m not blaming this article, I just want to bring this issue to your attention.

  5. Darshan

    I’m hoping your problem is resolved now. While being experimental on Registry Editor, we should always have a system restore point created where you would like to revert back in case anything goes south. Also, at times any anti-virus installed on your system might cause the trouble. You can uninstall it before such changes and install it again afterwards.
    Additionally, try running the sfc /scannow and DISM /cleanup image commands to gain an insight in the error.
    Let us know if you still require help with anything.

  6. Plast0000

    no
    because W7 lacks the REFS driver
    it’s available only in Windows 8.1+

  7. Dan Gul

    This should be updated to indicate that your system will break (albeit until one can revert the changes above). Post anniversary update this will basically render the system unusable AND one still won’t be able to format in ReFS. I got around this by using a WinPE disk to do the format there. But this becomes an issue if someone uses iSCSI disks.

    This is an artificial limitation MS put in on purpose clearly as it does not exist at all on WinServer 2016 at all.

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