Microsoft is building a new file system into Windows 8 that appears to be named ReFS.
Traces of the “Protogon” file system were discovered in early alpha copies of Windows 8 as far back as June. The references to an “NT Protogon FS driver” appeared to be a kernel mode driver for a new file system called Protogon. The new file system appears to have been renamed to ReFS according to winunleaked. The site posted a number of images demonstrating ReFs in action on Thursday. ReFS appears to incorporate database-like concepts like transactions, cursors, rows and tables. Rafael Rivera discovered earlier this year that “Protogon” includes a string, which seems to indicate “Protogon” could replace or at least emulate NTFS file system. Protogon appears to be the codename for ReFS.
ReFS could be similar to Microsoft’s original concept of Windows Future Storage (WinFS). The codename (WinFS) originally made its way into Longhorn (Windows Vista) builds during the early beta phases. WinFS was first demonstrated in 2003 at the company’s Professional Developers Conference. Microsoft promised an advanced storage subsystem designed to manage data by means of a database. The WinFS database would allow any type of information to be stored in it alongside a defined schema for the data type. The idea was to speed up searching and data sharing between applications. Microsoft ditched the idea before Windows Vista was brought to market.
Microsoft hasn’t publicly discussed any plans to incorporate a new file system in Windows 8. The software giant did detail its large disk and large sector support in Windows 8 earlier this week. Microsoft plans to make it possible to install Windows 8 and boot from a 3TB or bigger hard disk. The support will be possible with UEFI firmware systems that allow Microsoft to take advantage of new partitioning techniques to better manage data stored on large disks.