Windows 8 includes new Protogon file system, return of WinFS?

By Tom Warren, on 1st Jun 11 1:50 pm with 22 Comments

Microsoft is building a new file system into Windows 8, according to reports.

The software giant has named the file system “Protogon” and references to it can be found in the latest leaked copies of Windows 8. Itworld discovered references to an “NT Protogon FS driver”, which appears to be a kernel mode driver for a new file system called Protogon. Mary Jo Foley did some further digging with Rafael Rivera and it appears that Protogon incorporates database-like concepts like transactions, cursors, rows and tables. Rivera says Protogon includes a string, which seems to indicate Protogon could replace or at least emulate NTFS file system.

Protogon sounds like 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 The codename (WinFS) originally made its way into Longhorn (Windows Vista) builds during the early beta phases.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.

Windows 8 is expected to be released in 2012 and include a new tablet UI, cloud syncing abilities and enhanced sensor support.

Protogon file system in Windows 8

Image Credit: Thomas Hounsell (@tomhounsell)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Shaw/660281063 Adam Shaw

    Sounds good! Hope it makes it to market

  • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

    Woah!

    Anyway, I doubt that WinFS will make a return. Not after scrapping it so spectacularly. Also, running SQL Server as backend was and still will be a heavy footprint.

    If at all, it’ll rather be a reaction to ZFS and BTRFS.

  • Guest

    something about containers/tables/rows/etc .. Hmmmmm……

  • Insomniac

    I hope that it’s a WinFS related tech, but I’m having
    a hard time believing that it will be something that awesome. I guess we will
    wait and see.

  • Insomniac

    I hope that it’s a WinFS related tech, but I’m having
    a hard time believing that it will be something that awesome. I guess we will
    wait and see.

  • John

    I hope it will be better supported by Linux than NTFS

    • Guest

      its basically just NTFS on the disk, with a high level database-like interface maybe.

    • Guest

      its basically just NTFS on the disk, with a high level database-like interface maybe.

    • Guest

      its basically just NTFS on the disk, with a high level database-like interface maybe.

  • John

    I hope it will be better supported by Linux than NTFS

  • John

    I hope it will be better supported by Linux than NTFS

  • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

    A quick glance over the driver file tells me that it won’t sit on top of NTFS, but is definitely an off-shoot of it. Based on the various string sequences, it uses the same file structures. There’s also references to source files of NTFS (in style of Ntfs*.c).

    I also found references of Copy-on-Write, but I figure this might just be related to transaction support also available in NTFS.

    Another references is “MinStore”. There’s a bunch of format strings about “Minstore volumes”.

    There’s another error string about hardware CRC. Which would however be a strange thing, since it’s only supported in SSE4.2.

    • http://thounsell.co.uk/ Thomas Hounsell

      It just accelerates CRC generation if it uses SSE4.2 – it still works without the support, just not as quick of course.

    • Tom

      Yes, transactions can be implemented using copy-on-write.  However, copy-on-write was originally introduced for shadow copies in Windows Server 2003.

  • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

    A quick glance over the driver file tells me that it won’t sit on top of NTFS, but is definitely an off-shoot of it. Based on the various string sequences, it uses the same file structures. There’s also references to source files of NTFS (in style of Ntfs*.c).

    I also found references of Copy-on-Write, but I figure this might just be related to transaction support also available in NTFS.

    Another references is “MinStore”. There’s a bunch of format strings about “Minstore volumes”.

    There’s another error string about hardware CRC. Which would however be a strange thing, since it’s only supported in SSE4.2.

  • http://openid.tomservo.eu/ Tom Servo

    A quick glance over the driver file tells me that it won’t sit on top of NTFS, but is definitely an off-shoot of it. Based on the various string sequences, it uses the same file structures. There’s also references to source files of NTFS (in style of Ntfs*.c).

    I also found references of Copy-on-Write, but I figure this might just be related to transaction support also available in NTFS.

    Another references is “MinStore”. There’s a bunch of format strings about “Minstore volumes”.

    There’s another error string about hardware CRC. Which would however be a strange thing, since it’s only supported in SSE4.2.

  • Maharajmeister

    But will it game?

  • cprieto

    Remembers me BeFS… :) I hope it will be true :)

  • cprieto

    Remembers me BeFS… :) I hope it will be true :)

  • Platatomi

    PROTOGON IS NOT WINFS!!!!!

    Protogonis a filesystem. WinFS is a metadata organization system, they are completely different things!

  • Anonymous

    It seems like it would be a no-brainer that they would need a new file system to support the multitude of new devices that will run the OS – many of them without a hard drive.

  • Blub

    the screenshot seems to be fake…