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What is the Windows 10 File System?

August 1, 2015

The default background for Windows 10 desktopsWe recently received this question from a customer:

“What file system does Windows 10 use? I’ve heard that Microsoft is upgrading to ReFS, and I’m worried about making a switch.”

This is a good question with an easy answer: as is the case with most other consumer versions of Windows, the Windows 10 file system is NTFS (New Technology File System).

This isn’t much of a surprise. NTFS has been the standard file system for Windows computers for years, and it’s been around since the release of Windows NT 3.1 way back in 1993. It’s currently the most common file system in the world.

Why Doesn’t Windows 10 Use ReFS?

If you’ve been following the development of Microsoft’s next-generation file system, you might wonder why the Windows 10 file system isn’t ReFS by default, and when the company plans to make the switch.

ReFS (Resilient File System) improves on NTFS significantly, as it has features like data scrubbing (an error correction technique that prevents data degradation) and improved structural reliability (through B+ trees for on-disk structures).
ReFS lives up to its name, especially for larger Microsoft servers, and it’s generally considered to be a major improvement in terms of reliability. What’s more, it’s been available for a while; ReFS was launched in 2012 with Windows Server 2012.

So, why isn’t it a fundamental part of Microsoft’s flagship OS?

The short answer is that it isn’t ready for consumers. ReFS is designed to run on Storage Spaces, virtual drives in Windows Server, and while it’s stable for this purpose, it’s not nearly ready to replace NTFS as a standard file system for everyday computing. Microsoft will continue to update ReFS, and we should see it introduced to the masses within the next few years (most likely with a host of new features).

However, there’s no reason to complain — NTFS is perfectly fine for consumer use, and it wouldn’t have been a great idea to upgrade the file system just for the sake of making a change.

What Does the Windows 10 File System Mean for Data Recovery?

To recover data, engineers will often need to use appropriate software tools designed for the file system of the target data.

We develop most of our own utilities in our laboratories, and we can recover data from virtually any file system including NTFS and ReFS. has recovered thousands of servers and personal computers, and we have already ran a few simulations to make sure that we’re equipped for Windows 10 data recovery.

Since Windows 10 is a new operating system, however, we do not recommend running any file repair software if you experience issues. If you try to recover data using software designed for Windows 8 or older versions of Windows, you could overwrite files permanently.

Call us at 1-800-237-4200 to set up a free evaluation for Windows 10 data recovery or to speak with one of our data experts.


What Is the Windows 10 File System?
Article Name
What Is the Windows 10 File System?
Learn about the Windows 10 file system and how it affects data reliability.